So for those who follow my blog, you’ll know that until recently I was unwell for 5 long weeks with acute tonsillitis (requiring an ambulance, hospital visits and steroids) which post-holiday, turned into thyroiditis and feeling SHOCKING. Symptoms spanned feeling like I couldn’t breathe, speak or swallow!
Thyroiditis actually felt like I had something stuck in my throat for weeks on end. I lived on soup and even struggled to swallow that, but above and beyond the physical symptoms, the worst thing was not being able to take my kids to school or feel like I could participate in their every day lives as before, because I was mostly living out of my bed. Bad times, in short.
My heart goes out to those dealing with long-term ailments and illnesses of which this is normal life. Being ill is exhausting both mentally and physically.
I was grateful to recover in time for my book launch last week although my throat did seize up at 10pm that night after the most magical time- but most would have conked out by then after such a busy day and I actually woke up fully well for the first time in such a long time.
I’m still undergoing more tests but I’m relieved and thankful to have my life back on track. It sounds dramatic but you only truly appreciate what you have when normality is gone.
I’ve never felt more grateful for my health.
With all this in mind I’ve made HUGE lifestyle and dietary changes over the past month. I had an overwhelming amount of personal stress last year with a close relative being unwell and the loss of my beloved auntie Zak not to mention work pressures and the general ups and downs of family life… I was drowning in all honesty so it was inevitable that pain and anguish needed to come out somewhere.
My body and mind literally made me STOP and REEVALUATE everything. Including my diet. Being ill was the catalyst to deciding to go plant-based, something I’ve done several times before in my life, albeit not properly. More on that later.
The important lesson is that being sick forced me to make self-care a priority.
I had no choice but to look after myself- and I sure as hell won’t be letting myself get that poorly again if I can help it.
I will not put myself on the bottom of the priority list again. It’s sad that it took becoming unwell to look after myself when we should be self-preserving and protecting our health before we reach breaking point but such is life and hopefully this post will help inspire others to look after themselves more too. (I want to thank my close pal Dr Juliet McGrattan who supported me with both medical and sisterly advice over this draining time..)
So the order of the day now, is juggling a busy career with time off where possible, a strict rule on rejecting negativity and distancing and cutting out those who cause endless pain and drama, and a schedule which makes yoga as much as a priority as deadlines. A chance to just sit and breathe. To go more slow.
To take my vitamins daily, something I’m rubbish at. And to eat a plant-based diet.
I have done Veganuary before and while I felt relaxed and happy eating that way, I didn’t follow a balanced plan and piled on the pasta so put on weight.
I’ve since taken lots of brilliant advice from fellow vegan pals: editor, animal activist and filmmaker Chris Hines @Chrishtf, my yoga teacher Louise Longson, fellow blogger pal Laila of awesome Tapeparade, James at Urban Vitamins blog and @jvmesthevegan and Kat of Katrinabruni.com @katrina_bruni.
Huge shout-out too to my old school friend and founder of Feed Me Beautiful, Tamsyn Wood whom I hired for a consultation to help support me. Her insight and recipe inspo has really inspired me!
A quick not to state I realise veganism is an ethos founded on rejecting animal cruelty, something my good friend Chris advocates and does so much to highlight with his work as a filmmaker and digital powerhouse, and while this 100% pains me too, I want to be honest and say my reason for going plant-based originated firstly for health reasons but I equally love that I’m contributing to helping protect the planet too. Emissions from the production of livestock are 250 times higher than legumes and it’s in our power to make a difference. To stop animal cruelty and to look after this world of ours. You can read more about this in this article by CNN.
I own leather bags and won’t be getting rid of them but I won’t be buying leather products moving forward.
…I’ve always shared vegan recipes here and now you’ll be seeing a lot more (along with non vegan too here and on Twitter as Oliver and Peter still occasionally eat meat and fish respectively). Alexander, 5, has been saying for months now that he doesn’t want to eat animals, that he can’t believe we kill animals for food (despite me not discussing this with him), and being dairy-intolerant means he too might be joining me on this plant-based journey. Any advice much appreciated. I’ve got vitamins on lock with Vitamin D, B12, B6 and Iron (the latter for the time of the month) but any recommendations most welcome. Thank you.
Lastly, I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but I was told my thyroiditis could last 3 weeks or even months when I was last seen. I switched to this way of eating and was well within a week. Food is medicine after all, and eating a diet abundant in pulses, vegetables, herbs and fruit makes sense.
Let me know if you’re thinking about making the switch too and how you feel.
The biggest change I’ve noticed is the emotional transformation.
I feel so much calmer and more content. Ingesting fear and hormones from animals, organic or otherwise clearly isn’t just bad for the planet but also the soul.