Hi, I’m Charlie! I’ve been vegetarian for 21 years now, and vegan for the past 13 years. This decision was based purely on my love for other animals and a deep-rooted feeling that eating them somehow just didn’t feel right (‘if I loved them, why was I eating them?!’). I had always thought of myself as fairly healthy, but, until recently, my diet was pretty much just the vegan version of traditional ‘comfort’ foods (burgers, spaghetti bolognese, etc.), which I figured was at least healthier than the original, non-vegan versions! That all changed in 2014, when – fed up of people constantly asking me where I get my protein from, ‘wasn’t I deficient in certain vitamins?’, and ‘wouldn’t it be dangerous to raise a child vegan?’ – I decided to properly educate myself about (vegan) health and nutrition. This sparked an incredible journey (and the discovery of a passion I never knew I had!) into learning how to be the most vibrant and joyful version of myself – a journey that I’m still on, and that I hope you will share with me.
Helpfully, the start of my journey coincided with the Food Revolution Summit 2014, organised by John & Ocean Robbins. The wide range of speakers they interviewed spoke of the interconnections between issues such as animal rights, food justice, anti-GM, sustainability and nutrition. I was hooked, but I wanted to go deeper into the ‘sciency’ stuff (so that I could answer those annoying questions with some hard-core facts!), so I decided to take an online course in vegan nutrition with the Vegetarian Health Institute. Before I had even finished the course I was convinced that I needed to start caring about my own health as well as the health of my family, so, based on the information provided, I made the transition from a ‘normal’ vegan diet (which, I realise, might already be quite weird to a lot of people!) that included processed, not-very-healthy ingredients (i.e. vegan junk food), to a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet (although I don’t like the word ‘diet’ – it’s really a lifestyle choice, not primarily for weight loss), which is predominantly organic (as much as I can afford!), gluten-free and (refined) sugar-free. I’m still in the process of trying to re-vamp many of my old favourite vegan dishes, and to find things that are yummy as well as being super healthy (you can find my successes under Recipes!).
Since starting this journey and learning about the dangers of chemicals and toxins in food, I’ve also realised that it’s not just about what we put into our bodies, but also what we put on our bodies. So, as well as avoiding processed/GM foods, and food with added chemicals, I gradually switched all my skincare and makeup products for organic, 100% natural (no added chemicals) alternatives. I’m currently in the process of updating all my household cleaning products too, although my ultimate goal is to DIY everything – one of these days I’ll finally get round to it!
Ironically (or not…), this wellness journey coincided with me going through an extremely stressful period in my life. Over the course of 4 years I went from being a fairly happy, confident person to finding myself in the depths of a dark depression. It was the worst I have felt in my entire life, but I truly believe that, had it not been for this lifestyle – in particular: green smoothies, meditation, yoga and exercise – I would probably not be writing this right now. These tools were what got me out of bed in the morning when I felt like I just couldn’t face another day. Together, they formed a life-raft that kept me afloat.
Though I’m only just coming out the other side of this storm, I can already see that
the experience surviving this experience has changed me. Looking back on the past 4 years, what I’ve learnt, above all else, is that:
- nothing is as important as your own happiness and mental wellbeing.
- life is far too short, and too precious, to waste it doing something that you think you ‘should’ do, or that other people expect you to do (i.e generally worrying about what other people think).
- life should generally be about having fun, which means…
- you need to distance yourself from negative people, or people who make you feel bad about yourself (whether they do this intentionally or not).
Life, to me, should be about experiencing as much as possible in one short lifetime, and building/nurturing loving relationships. With that in mind, my goals, from now on, are: to learn to love myself unconditionally, and to fill my life with adventure, fun and positive people.
How does travelling fit into all of this, you ask?! Well, ever since I can remember, travelling has been one of my greatest passions. Along with my self-help techniques, the other thing that helped during my recent ‘crisis of self’ was the thought that, if I could just get through this experience, I would ‘reward’ myself by going travelling/moving abroad. This dream, and the hope of a brighter future, was what I lived for.
So, at the end of 2017, I packed my bags, said goodbye to my family, and moved half way around the world to do my first yoga teacher training course with All Yoga in Bali. From there, I moved straight to Australia to begin a new life in the sun! My aim is to live in as many different places as possible over the next few years, before finding somewhere that I can call home (for a while at least 😉 ). I will keep you posted of my adventures here, so stay tuned!
This blog is my way of documenting my journey towards a more positive and joyful future, on the way connecting with others who share my passions, and/or are going through similar experiences. It’s my space to offer my 2 cents on issues that I’m passionate about, as well as advice on transitioning to veganism, yoga, healthy living, and vegan travel.
If you’d like to get in touch or be part of a supportive, nurturing community, please use the comment tool, or get in touch through social media (you can find links at the very bottom of each page). And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog! I can’t wait to hear from you ❤
To joyful, vibrant living,