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My diet mostly consists of vegan dishes, but I am not a vegan. I eat eggs and dairy, but I am not a vegetarian. Sometimes I eat fish on the odd day, I MUST BE A PESCETARIAN! I am not a carnivore, I am not a flexitarian.


I am none of those things. I am just me! 


Labelling yourself restricts you from listening to the best nutrition coach that you have (YOUR BODY!) I have had friends that have gone on to become vegans but it was completely wrong for them and they ended up feeling worse. On the other side of the scale, I also know friends that are convinced they need to eat meat all day every day and have trouble with energy levels or fat gain. 


You may definitely point out that there is a wrong way or right way to be a vegan, such as “eating the colours of the rainbow” or “make sure you have your b12.” However, many people do not have the time to track their food into a calculator nor wants to prepare 10 types of vegetables.  In my honest opinion, the dietary choice that doesn’t fit your lifestyle and cannot work with your daily practices is the WRONG WAY!


With that being said, this is why I do not choose to conform to a specific label. Here is my story: 


When I labelled myself as a vegetarian, I had a diet of vegetables, eggs, and cheese. I refused to eat fish and I only focused on getting sushi stuffed with deep fried yams or avocados. I started to feel weak and even though I was losing some fat, my body did not look the way I wanted it to look. I felt like I just kind of shrivelled up. Losing my butt was NOT OK!


Another thing that did not work was dining out with friends and family. They had to tiptoe around my diet and only pick restaurants that are “vegetarian friendly.” This was a major red flag in terms of it fitting in with my lifestyle. A lot of restaurants only provided a sad vegetarian option where it’s usually some sort of fried item and a side of rice. So now I was stuck eating some non-nutritious deep fried monster of a meal and feeling terrible afterwards.


After 3 months of this torture, I knew something had to change. I was super sad I had to give up this proud badge of being a vegetarian, but it was for the best. 


So, I ended up deciding to incorporate fish/seafood back in to my life because I knew I was lacking enough protein to build muscle with. This put me in better spirits and I suddenly had so many options when going out to eat. I thought to myself that this was it– I am definitely a pescatarian!– and then I went on an obsessive journey of trying to fit fish or seafood into every meal. It was EXHAUSTING. 


My result? I ditched all the labels. I sometimes eat gluten, sometimes I order gluten free. There are days when I eat fish, or there are days when I eat a full day of vegan.  I always honour my body and base everything strictly on how I feel after a meal. If I feel disgustingly bloated, I will most likely skip that meal. 


My challenge for you: 

  1. Take this week to really see how you feel after you eat something. 
    Do you feel light and full of energy? Are you tired and need to take a nap? Your body gives you tons of cues about what you can or cannot eat. 
  2. Have a Meatless Monday and see how you feel Note: DO NOT eat chips and call it a day. Really commit and load up on vegetables and try some legumes or a Beyond Meat Burger  

 

– Clara Coelho, Personal Trainer at Crux Fitness Richmond

Crux Fitness is the top personal training studio with the best personal trainers in Richmond, Surrey