Interview with Linda Engelbrecht
We’re Joined again by Linda Engelbrecht of The Honest Grazer, and this time we wanted to get some more insight into what goes into this awesome blog. We got her on the phone and started picking her brain. These are some highlights:
I do get the sense of where you’re going with this, so then, would you then say at this stage that you don’t really notice that it’s a plant-based-diet that you’re focused on?
Not at all. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m eating a plant-based-diet because I don’t even see it as… Ja, I don’t really think of it that much because I associate certain things as food, and other things as not food.
So, now I don’t look at… I don’t look at meat necessarily as a food source, anymore. Whereas before I would you know? Um… and it doesn’t make, I don’t get hungry to eat like, meat. Uh, so… I think that kind of happened naturally. If you, uh, adopt something for long enough it just becomes routine or just becomes natural for you.
Um, That can work in the inverse as well, uh, so no. I don’t think I think about it, um, as much as I used to in the beginning.
Okay. So then what was it that actually… got you to the point where felt like you needed to make a change, Um, whether it was lifestyle or specific dietary choices; what is it; what was it; the spark, that ignited the journey that brought you to this point?
So I think for me, I always felt… uncomfortable. Um, and, um… for a long time I just thought that’s just how you’re supposed to feel when you, after you eat.
I thought: you need to feel heavy and bloated… or, um not able to do anything, and that’s why you wanted to sit on the couch and watch TV after a meal because you can’t function properly; and I assumed that was the norm.
Um, Until, I moved out of the house; when I, straight after I moved out of the house, when I started cooking meals for myself, and then I very quickly realised how certain food made me feel a certain way and other food made me feel differently?
And I struggled, um, and this is just for me personally and I don’t know if this impacts anyone else; and that’s why I think it’s always important that everybody is an individual and everybody will find something that works for them; but I personally just couldn’t digest meat well.
It always kind of just sat in my body, and it didn’t feel like my body was using it. It kind of just felt foreign to me, um, and I never felt good after eating meat. So I slowly started cutting down on how much meat I was eating, and then transitioned into a vegetarian diet mostly, and then with the vegetarian diet, I was a vegetarian for quite a while.
Then I moved to Durban, and when um, I think living in a coastal city really made it easier because I was incorporating a lot of fresh fruits and veggies into my diet and I could have, I actually um, engaged with farmers and wanted to find out more. Just because it was accessible, and I think that’s why I got introduced to it.
Um, and then… In Durban was where I met a few people who were living, or a few vegans and other people who were living a plant based lifestyle or eating a plant based Diet. Um, so I started experimenting with it then already, but I was still vegetarian; I still ate, mostly, I still ate dairy and a lot of eggs.
Then when I moved back to Joburg, um a colleague of mine at my new company was vegan and she said: “Well, have ever tried committing to do it fully?” and I said “No, I just kind of incorporate it here or there” and she said: “Well maybe just do three weeks or a month of eating vegan, and see how you feel, it’s really not that hard if you’re a vegetarian already. Might as well just take the leap, you know?”
Uh, so I did that. I did a like a 30 day Challenge, where I just ate Vegan, but it wasn’t 100% Wholefood. I just, I knew if I made it too restrictive, that I might, I’m setting myself for failure. So I just committed to 30 days Vegan, so at that stage I was still eating anything that was classified as vegan. So Frys and Orios or anything at that stage that I felt was okay in the Vegan facets.
I had allowed myself to eat, which made it a little be easier, because I didn’t feel like I was only eating fruits and vegetables was all I could do, and it forced me to experiment and to; find out where I can get healthy plant proteins; and enough fibre and enough macro and micro nutrients, um… and in that month I honestly felt so much lighter and happier and… I just felt good. Um, and I didn’t want to sacrifice that, um…
So I stuck with, uh… a plant based or a vegan diet, um for the better part of that year, and then um, I sort of started introducing small amounts of dairy again, um, but only in situations where I was with friends or family or eating out… Because I did start to feel a little bit, um… like I was a hindrance to the people around me: always having to be that person that can’t go out to a restaurant unless they were vegan offering or, always having to call the waiter aside or the chef aside and say “please can you serve something special for me”.
I let the reigns go a little bit. So that’s why, I kind of feel like if I had to assign a label to my diet now, it’s 90-95% plant based, but there are things that I feel, um, at this point in my life – that I’m okay with um, letting go of. Um, and that’s when I’m in a situation with other people where I’m in a restaurant and I don’t necessarily know if there weren’t veggies having been cooked in; butter for instance- or, if there is some kind of milk solid in the sauce.
Um, it isn’t really packaged good that I buy, and I’ve just learned to let go of that and be okay with that. Um, because I feel like my greater impact is a positive one, um, on the environment or for the reasons that I’m doing it, and for my health as well – I can kind of live with getting away with 5% of not a 100% Vegan food. Do you know what I mean?
And I think that’s important for everybody to find their balanced state – like: what are you comfortable with and what are you not comfortable with? Um, and sticking and staying true to that.
Stay tuned for pt 3…
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