The Monster I’m Not

You know what I hate most about disordered eating? It transforms me into a person who is the opposite of my true essence. Into a monster who is as far away from the true me as possible.

The Monster I’m Not is self-centred, narrow-minded, fearful, unadventurous, anti-social, obsessive, irrational, contradictory.

The Monster I’m Not controls me, weakens my physicality so that I am unable to do the things I love most in the world- sport, socialising, outdoor adventures, gardening, yoga, ocean swimming, music…

The Monster I’m Not encourages the return of my most unhealthy habits, and immensely increases my vulnerability to the ever-feared plunge into the deepest darkness of my soul.


And when it feels as if The Monster I’m Not is taking over,

my ever-lingering self-hatred creeps it’s way up from my depths, piercing it’s way through my not-so-protective shields as easily as a craft knife cuts cellophane.


I become full.

Filled up to the brim and leaking with worthlessness.

I leak through the holes I have created myself. The holes I create when The Monster I’m Not rules over me, and that stay there even when the free me, the true me,  returns.

Yet simultaneously,

I become empty.

so, so empty.










HE TANGATA: Chapter 3: From Cage to Carriage

Usually an exchange of smiles is all Aucklanders can handle with strangers on public transport, but this afternoon was different.

My smile was met with a friendly comment about the weather, followed by an eye-opening personal story that I have never forgotten.

“Gees it’s cold out there tonight, isn’t it?”

My acquaintance for the journey offered a warm, genuine grin, with firm but kind eye contact. The ‘Maori Wardens’ uniform he was sporting suited his strong, fit build, and his scars and missing teeth perhaps have a possible insight into his past.

“Yes, it is!”

“Where are you from, anyway?”

“Right here in Auckland.”


The gentle hum of the moving train enticed my body to sleep-mode, as the Warden and I watched trees wisp by in silence.

I’ve always been intrigued by the Maori Wardens program…

“Hey, what made you decide to work for Maori Wardens, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“They found me, actually. I was a cage fighter.”

“Oh wow.”

“I wouldn’t have lasted much longer. That stuff is bad for you.”


This encounter sparked an uncomfortable picture in my mind. One of this poor gentleman caught up in the life of what is deemed the most dangerous sport of all. Succumbed to the expectations of those around him. Needing the money maybe. Unable to see a way out.

Of course, this is just an assumption.

But regardless of the details of his story,

Imagine having a life like that.


Side note: For those who are unaware, Maori Wardens are an amazing organisation who serve our communities in numerous ways. They provide our people with new skills and ways forward, and train them to volunteer in our communities providing health, safety, and community development services. Check out their website if you’d like to support them or find out more: 


I do not accept.

It is funny how

while we are small and insignificant

in relativity to the earth

we are also more significant than we could ever imagine…

There is much more to this life than me

but I am important

or so He says…

I must be humbled by my tininess in perspective of this vast and powerful earth

but I must also accept my mighty significance to the One…

And this is the problem.

I do not accept.


For months my faith has been held at a stop sign

unwilling to reverse

unable to select another route.

I have misplaced my spiritual GPS

been forced to practise my faith at the confinement of the stop sign

and God is there

patiently waiting for me to remove the restrictions myself

(Typical God!)

But for months I haven’t known how.

And we cannot resolve an issue before the issue becomes known to us, can we?

and so I have waited

with less patience than Hers

for the issue to reveal itself.


And now I have found it

I have finally found what is holding me back

I do not accept.

I want to, but

I do not accept my significance to the One

I know I should, but

I do not feel significant

I do not feel worthy of Her love

And this lack of acceptance of His love

lack of embrace on my part

is actually an unintended disservice to my Creator


Which is why I’m held at the stop sign.


Isn’t it crazy how we can know something in our minds, but not in our hearts.


Good things come to those who wait

so the Bible says

so everyone says

and this realisation

though sad

surely is good.

a breakthrough

but just the beginning.


We cannot resolve an issue before the issue becomes known to us, can we?

Let the resolving begin.






HE TANGATA: Chapter 2- Alone

While living in Timaru this year, I noticed that “How ya goin?” or “How’re ya?” are used more commonly than “Hello,” and that Timaruvians are much more friendly to passersby than Aucklanders! With every person I passed on the street, a friendly “Howsit goin” was exchanged, with no expectation of a reply. I loved this(once I had gotten over my presumed need to answer the apparently rhetorical “how are you”!), and since returning to Auckland I have tried to apply the same social mannerisms, with very little success. Most strangers in Auckland look at me as if I’ve got a carrot for a nose if I try to greet them, and others prepare themselves as if I’m about to perform a violent attack.

One sunny Timaru morning, as I boarded the bus to the doctors, I greeted the man sitting across from me in the usual Timaru way. Except this time, my rhetorical question was answered! The answer was unexpected, personal, brave, and raw.

To this day, I still wonder what made this gentleman want to share, and feel so comfortable to share, such a personal part of his life with me- a stranger on a public bus. It could have been desperation, or loneliness, or spur-of-the-moment auto mode. Whatever the reason, I am blessed and honoured to have shared such a raw moment with him.

“Well I’m not that good actually.”

What do you say to that? “Poor you”? “Me neither”? “Why”? 

“Sorry to hear that.”

Luckily, he elaborated, otherwise I would’ve had to decide whether to ask for the reason for his not-good-ness or not!

“My wife passed away two days ago.”

Okay, now what do I say? Deep breaths, Cara. Pretend it’s one of your students telling you this.

“Oh my goodness I’m so sorry to hear that. How awful for you.”

“Yeah I’m very depressed actually.”

“And fair enough too. Do you have enough support from loved ones?”

“Nope. I’ve got no family. No friends. It was just me and her. Now it’s just me. I’m all alone in the house. I’m all alone everywhere. I don’t even know why I’m on this bus. I don’t know what to do. I just don’t know.”

There is an incredible beauty in sharing in someone’s deep sorrow. It is such a raw, unique connection. So incredibly painful and difficult, but so incredibly beautiful.

I don’t know what to do. I just don’t know.

I know that feeling.

After offering a hug and suggesting he ring up a counsellor or the local FamilyWorks agency, I had to disembark and leave the lonely man alone once more.

And it felt terrible.

It was the first time, and only time, in my life that I have felt the desire to take a man at least four times my age under my wing. I wish I could have protected and looked after him.

I wish I had done more.




HE TANGATA: Chapter 1- Joyologist By Day, Superman By Night

Point Chevalier shops bus stop on a very hot December afternoon. Slurping a juicy mango in the most uncoordinated manner possible.

“You know, you can sit down.”

“Oh yes, thank you very much. I just didn’t want to spray you with mango juice!” I replied.

“You seem cheerful and full of joy!” remarked the smiley man, who seemed cheerful and full of joy himself!

“Oh yes well the sun is shining, and I found a mango for $1 at the supermarket!”

“Yum I saw those,” said the smiley man’s wife.

“I’m a joyologist,” said Mr Smiley.

“Me too!” added Mrs Smiley!

“Haha, I love it!” I said, with a giggling grin.

And it was here that Mr Smiley began his autobiography and collection of answers to life, with no prompting or questioning from me:

“All we need is joy, and so that’s why I’m a joyologist. I’m an expert on joy. There is not a second in my day that is not filled with joy. Joy is the most valuable thing you could master. All throughout the Bible joy is proclaimed. To be with God is to be filled with joy. Are you a joyologist?”

Before I could answer, Mrs Smiley affirmed her husband:

“Yes, joy is everywhere! Keep smiling!” she chirped.

“And at night, I become superman. I fly to the Grand Canyon, and Great Barrier Reef. I zoom all around the whole world and make it back by morning. I believe in perspective and adventure. No point wasting my time staying where I am. Might as well be superman. I see everything, learn everything. Adventure is the most worthwhile thing you can do. Don’t go and buy lots of plastic crap- go on adventures instead! Last night, I went to Italy and Greece. The Good Lord says put yourself out there!”

I finally managed to fit in some minor contribution to the conversation:

“Wow! So do you do this superman thing in your dreams?”

“No?” he replied, confused. And then continued:

“I have the best life ever. The best of both worlds. Joyology and adventure is all one needs. God bless you!”

And just like that, with a pat on my shoulder from Mrs Smiley, the pair hopped off the bus and strode through the busy Auckland traffic, smiling their infectious, and seemingly permanent, grins.


He Tangata.


He Tangata

He aha te mea nui te ao?

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

What is the most important thing in the world?

It is the people, the people, the people.


This Maori proverb has always spoken significantly to me.

When we shift our focus away from ourselves, away from material things, and away from our addiction to busyness and success, we are left with something quite beautiful, and much more meaningful.

He Tangata.

If we really make the effort to venture deeply into the observation, celebration, and connection of the beings around us, it is incredible the beauty we encounter. It is a unique kind of beauty. A beauty that is vast in all ways. A beauty that can only be experienced in the depths of the heart, and can only be ingrained in the depths of the mind.

He Tangata.

Maybe I’m observant, or maybe I’m nosy. Maybe I’m approachable, or maybe I have shaky boundaries.

Whatever it is, I seem to often have very interesting encounters with people, the most interesting often being random members of the public. Some are fun, some are uncomfortable, some are sad, some are educational, some are hilarious, some are particularly deep and meaningful. But there is always one common factor. ALL are beautiful. ALL teach me something new about how human beings operate. ALL fulfil me deeper than any other worldly experience.

He Tangata.

People are worth celebrating! We are all so unique, and providing each other the chance to express ourselves authentically, to connect deeply, and to learn from each other is, I think, one of the most worthwhile ways to spend our time.

So I’m starting a new series of blogs, called He Tangata. In this series I will share snippets of my interactions with people in my travels through life, in the hope that others may realise the beauty in connecting with random members of the public.

So stay tuned!

He aha te mea nui te ao?

He tangata,

he tangata,

he tangata.





Inside the Mind- breaking stigma with knowledge

Trigger warning: This article mentions specific details of compulsions and emotions relating to eating disorders.

Mental health awareness has improved considerably in the last five years, which has been so encouraging. However, we still have a long way to go, especially in terms of funding and resources for public support services.

One mental illness that I think is still highly stigmatized, significantly under-supported, and poorly dealt with, is eating disorders. We can sit around and complain about this as much as we like, but that will achieve nothing. So, recently I have been trying to figure out why eating disorders are so often swept under the rug.

One large reason, I think, is lack of knowledge of the actual psychology behind eating disorders. Research shows that the main way to reduce stigma, as well as dissolve societal issues, is to establish an increase in knowledge of the issue.

Maybe that is what we need to do here.

Have you ever wondered what actually goes on inside the mind of someone with an eating disorder?

If so, read on.

I am going to share with you some of the compulsions that have been a part of my life from a psychological perspective, in the hope that understanding will be gained, and stigma will be eased.

*please note: I am speaking purely from my own perspective and experience. It is near impossible for me to cover the experience of everyone with an eating disorder. It is important to understand that although there are similar and recognisable signs and symptoms, everybody’s experience is different.

Social eating:

What it looks like: Not eating with others, constantly looking at and/or commenting on others’ food, leaving the table early, not turning up to social events that involve food, keeping a large distance from the food table, avoiding conversations linked to food/body image/exercise.

The psychology: Eating disorder suffers feel very insecure about their relationship to food, and often about their body image too. They are so insecure, that they experience an extreme sense of self-consciousness about their behaviours around food. There is often an overpowering voice in their mind that convinces them that everybody is judging them. This voices seems uncontrollable, and the feeling of relentless judgement of our eating habits is terrifying. As humans, we try to avoid things that terrify us. Therefore, it seems easier to avoid eating socially, rather than fight that intense self-conscious voice.

For people with eating disorders, there is a constant war going on in the mind. A war between the logical, healthy voice, and the toxic eating disorder voice. When we feel controlled by eating disorder voices, there is still part of us that knows deep down that what we are doing is wrong and unhealthy. A large part of my disordered eating journey was trying to navigate what is right and what is wrong, because the mind-war threw me off and I found myself feeling very confused about things that had once seemed so simple and automatic.

A large part of this navigation involved obsessive comparison of myself to others. My intention behind this relentless comparison was to try to relieve my confusion and regain my grasp on realistic thinking. It didn’t work. It just made me more anxious and more obsessed. When there is a controlling monster inside of you that wants to convince you that it is your friend and your conscience, and you are trying to function normally as if everything is fine, comparison seems the only way to try to grip on to reality as it slips further and further away from your grasp.



Restriction of food is common for people with eating disorders, and is normally the behaviour that is noticed first. The psychology behind this is very varied, so I am only going to speak from my own experience.

What it looks like: Skipping meals, being dramatic and stubborn, being ungrateful for what has been made and prepared, being fussy, “playing” with food more than eating it.

The psychology: Restriction normally became a problem for me when I was already feeling fragile about something else, or when I was tired or stressed. I lost the energy to fight off the monster voice, and so it came in strong. As a meal time was approaching, there was a powerful, unidentifiable force preventing me from eating normally. It’s like there is someone holding a knife to my throat, telling me that if I eat, something very bad will happen. If someone actually did this to you in real life, you obviously wouldn’t eat, would you? It’s that terrifying.

It is not as simple as just not eating, either. Sometimes the ED monster tells me that I’m not allowed to eat certain foods, or I’m only allowed to eat certain foods, or that I’m only allowed to eat a certain amount.

Sometimes the voice gives reasons. These reasons include that I don’t deserve to eat, I deserve to be sick and tired, a certain food is poison to my body, or that eating properly will make me weaker and more worthless than I already am. Of course, these are all utter, evil lies. But when these lies are so strong and manipulative, it is easier than it seems to let them control your life.

For me, if I did manage to ignore the evil ED voice and eat properly, I would experience a sickening sense of anxiety, guilt, and insecurity. In my most fragile times I didn’t know who I was without the ED compulsions, and choosing to do the right thing and fight the voices seemed scary and confusing.



This is something I find very hard to talk about because I am so ashamed, hence why bulimic behaviours often go unnoticed.

What it looks like: Throwing up to be dramatic or to gain attention, a failed attempt at weight-loss, wanting the taste without the calories, “being gross”.

The psychology: Again, I can only speak from my experience. For me, purging was never about trying to rid my body of calories. It began as a way to let out strong and distressing emotions in a way that wasn’t harmful to anyone else. However, over time this led on to yet another powerful voice. After a meal this potent urge to throw up would emerge from nowhere and conquer my mind, and I could think of nothing else until I had done what the ED monster required. If I managed not to listen to the voice, I would feel a confusing mixture of guilt for keeping the food in, and confidence for doing the right thing.


Body Dysmorphia

What it looks like: Always thinking they’re “fat”, making negative comments about themselves to gain attention, constantly looking in the mirror and weighing themselves, always comparing their body image to others.

The psychology: People with body dysmorphia have an actual skewed view of what they look like. What they see when they look in the mirror does not match up to what everyone else sees. We are not just being dramatic and self-conscious- we actually have a dysmorphed perception of ourselves. It is basically a “you are your worst critic” scenario to the extreme.

What I hate most about body dysmorphia is how selfish it made me. I became so self-conscious that all I could think about was myself, even though I hated myself. This was uncomfortable and shameful.


*I am well aware that I haven’t covered all of the components of eating disorders, and I acknowledge those sufferers who have struggled with compulsions not mentioned here. Since I am not a professional, I feel I can only speak from my own experience.*

I have only recently started opening up about my struggle with disordered eating. I have managed to keep the most part of it secret for years. This secrecy was all out of shame. I have been stigmatizing my own illness.

Is this, perhaps, at least partly because of the social stigma around me?

And I have been one of the lucky ones. One that has only been noticeably physically sick once, and for a relatively short period of time. One that was provided with support and advice at an early stage. One that, for the most part of the journey, has managed to make it through the daily battles with ED voices, and not be fully conquered by them.

And yet it has still been awful.

So I hope that by reading this, you will understand that eating disorder sufferers are not dramatic, selfish, and image-obsessed teenage girls. They are rational human beings who, because of their disease, are caused to act irrationally. Their weight and body function aren’t everything, in fact this is a very small component of a much larger, mental/emotional issue.

They are unwell,

they wouldn’t wish this illness on anyone,

and they need your support for their recovery.





God Speaks

“Don’t you remember the promise I made? I will never let you down.”

I was caught off guard as I briefly closed my eyes in Mass yesterday. The second my lids shut, a bold image of a rainbow appeared to me. My eyes flew open again before my mind registered what was going on.

Was that a vision?

I closed my eyes again, and sure enough, the rainbow appeared again, accompanied by the words,

“Don’t you remember my promise? I will never let you down.”

Classic God. Blatantly and directly speaking to me right in a moment when I am not making any effort to intentionally listen to Him(sorry God!). In fact, I was doing quite the opposite- I was completely zoned out in my own silly universe(God forgive me. And at MASS too! DISGRACEFUL!). Yet there are plenty of times when I am totally and utterly listening to God; desperate and eager to hear what She has to say, and I struggle very much to gain any understanding of what God might be wanting me to hear or see.


I will unpack the vision itself in just a moment, but first I would like to discuss the question that was circling my mind as I drifted off to sleep last night:

Why do we so often have clear encounters with God in the mundane; in the moments where we are doing very little; in the moments that could be considered relatively “God-less”? And why do we so rarely experience these encounters when we are supposedly doing the “right thing”, doing what is considered “Godly”, or intentionally following the societal norms of the Christian cultures and communities?

Maybe it is because God couldn’t care less about the humanly rules and expectations we have suffocated Christian communities with. Maybe He laughs at us when we get hung up on which songs to play during sung worship. Maybe She cries when we forbid someone from attending our churches because of their ethnicity, sexuality, or walks of life. Maybe He frowns when we restrict freedom of speech in a church to only a select few. Maybe She rolls Her eyes when we insist on rules around when we should sit or stand, what we should wear, who we should interact with, or what order the proceedings of a church service should be in. Why should God make an effort to only speak to us in moments that are human-approved as “Godly”? God will make and go by His own rules, thank you very much!

Maybe it is because God likes it best when we are able to just be. Maybe we are more in touch with the true essence of our being in God’s eyes when we aren’t being “try-hard Christians”; caught up in a tornado of humanly expectations. Maybe all God really requires of us is to love, to listen, and to be. Maybe we are more receptive to God’s guidance and love when we are making no effort to be anyone else but authentically ourselves. Maybe this “being a good Christian” thing is taking us further away from God’s truth, rather than fulfilling our intentions of drawing nearer. Maybe finding God in the mundane is more raw, authentic, and personal than any other setting.

Maybe it is because when we’re zoning out and thinking of ourselves, God likes to shoulder tap us from time to time- gently reminding us why we’re here and where our priority of focus needs to be. “Helllloooooooo?” says God!


“Don’t you remember the promise I made? I will never let you down.”

What first came to mind in the seconds after this moment was the Bible story of Noah’s Ark, and the rainbow that God sent after the flood to promise that She would never do something like that to the earth again. I was confused. Why this reference? God obviously hadn’t done anything to destroy my life, and I certainly wasn’t worried that He would suddenly flood the earth or anything.

But after some pondering, it all began to make sense. As much as I know in theory that God is always by my side(growing up in a Sunday School and attending a Catholic secondary school definitely made sure I remembered that!), I very often forget to fully adopt this concept into the circumstances of my life, and I don’t always fully trust that all will be well in the end.

I was also prompted to reflect on the past few days and how bad my mental health has been. For a couple of days last week, Anxiety and EDNOS came back to bite me very hard, and I managed to convince myself that I was giving up. That it was too hard, and I was never going to reach the end point of wellness I’ve always aspired to achieve. I was adamant that nothing and nobody was going to convince me that I could possibly keep going. I just didn’t feel strong enough. A wonderful friend of mine’s loving and gentle consolation reminded me that I needed to trust in God’s strength to keep me going, but I must admit I wasn’t entirely convinced that it would work(sorry God!).

Why do we so often recite these universally-known truths about God, but then fail to fully embrace them in the times we need to do so the most? Maybe because our humanness craves full control over everything ourselves. Maybe because it is difficult for us as earthly beings to trust in something that is not materialistically visible.

However, in this moment in Mass yesterday, God brought me back down to solid ground.

“Don’t you remember the promise I made? I will never let you down.”

There is nothing too hard for God. If it feels too hard for me, God will give me what I need to make it doable. Brokenness and trial is part of the human condition, but through Christ we overcome.

And as for the Noah’s Ark reference, I suppose it is a reminder that nothing will crash and burn forever, because God promised us that He would never let pure tragedy happen ever again.

“Don’t you remember the promise I made? I will never let you down.”




Safe Place

I think I’ve found my safe place.

A place that, although technically public land, feels like mine alone.

A place where no one else seems to come.

A place where the gulls, fantails, bell birds, wax eyes, ducks, and geese feel free to be themselves.

A place where I feel free to be myself.

A place where all I hear is the powerful crashing of waves and the joyous chirping of manu*. There is no doubt they’re singing “bring on summer!”, providing a powhiri** for the new season approaching.

A place where I cannot hear the sounds of the modern messed-up world which, in this moment, I forget I belong to.

A place where the fresh sea spray, crisp south island breeze, and rejuvenating sun rays cleanse me of my hurts and frustrations.

A place where the overwhelming cliff faces and vast oceans humble me down a few notches. Nothing can compare with Mother Nature. And nothing can stand against Her creator.

Oh how I wish the real world was like this…

…Oh wait. This is the real world.

We are living in the fake world we have made for ourselves.

Now, don’t get me wrong- the whare*** where I sleep and wake is not unsafe. It is far from it. I love the home in which I live and the wonderful people whom I live with.

But there is something different, something special, something magical about this safe place. It has the same effect that the secret bay I used to bush-crash to get to as a child did- a place empty of people, expectations, and material things- a place full of peace, beautiful wildlife, and natural wonders. A place that I felt had never been visited by anyone but me.

Toku wahi.

Toku wahi haumaru.

My place.

My safe place.


*manu– bird

**powhiri– official welcome

***whare- house


How my veganism is healing me

TRIGGER WARNING: This article mentions compulsions related to eating disorders.


After too-ing and fro-ing for a long time with a vegan diet, I finally fully committed to veganism in January this year. It has been absolutely amazing, and my only regret is that I didn’t go vegan earlier! My veganism is truly healing me in so many ways:

Goodbyeee gluten intolerance!

Five months into being vegan, I had been reading about how some people were gluten intolerant were able to eat gluten again after changing to a vegan diet. So, I thought I’d give it a go again, after three years of going off gluten. I was a little nervous, as in the past gluten had made me feel very sick, with headaches and nausea being the main consequences.

I started off slow, limiting myself to only one glutenous food item per day. I had absolutely no reaction! It was as if gluten had never been a problem for me in the first place! I was so excited, as eating vegan and gluten free is sometimes difficult, especially when eating away from your own home.

So, over the past month or so I’ve been slowly increasing my gluten intake. Turns out I don’t eat many simple carbs anyway, so gluten isn’t a particularly huge part of my diet. But now I can confidently say that I am no longer gluten free! I am so excited by the fact that a change in my diet healed a part of my body that was limiting me and making me sick. Being vegan reversed a dysfunction in my body, and I think that’s pretty cool.

Me being me, I really wanted to know the science behind how this had happened! Here’s what I found:

(if sciencey bits bore you please feel free to skip past this bit):

According to research carried out by the North American Vegetarian Society(NAVS), maintaining a healthily-functioning intestinal lining(or “gut wall”) is essential to preventing food sensitivity reactions. If holes are made in this lining, mostly due to lifestyle factors, diseases and food sensitivities are paved a way to make it into our bodily systems, causing not-so-fun reactions. The most common lifestyle factors that can cause a broken gut wall include use of drugs, chemicals, radiation, or antibiotics, excessive intake of sugar, alcohol, or antacids, inflammation caused by illness, or stress.

Considering I started reacting to gluten after a very stressful and traumatic time in my life, I think that stress was probably the main cause of my ill gut health. Anyway, evidence has shown that our intestinal walls can heal themselves, if we provide them with good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Overtime, the holes can be filled, and therefore our food sensitivities and susceptibility to diseases may disappear. The main nutrients that are needed to repair cells in our gut wall are complex carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, proteins, essential fats and phytochemicals. All of the best sources of these nutrients are found in a well-balanced plant-based diet.

This fully explains why after going vegan I am no longer gluten intolerant! I have managed to let my gut heal by providing it with a lot of the right nutrients needed to repair the damage I have caused in the past. Awesome aye!



Helloooo bulletproof immune system!

My immune system has always been reasonably weak. Strep Throat was common, and varying degrees of common colds regularly made their way into my system whenever I was around anyone else carrying the disease. I was never sure why this was, but figured it could have been because of my very busy, activity-heavy, and often tiring lifestyle(all self-inflicted of course!).

However, since eating vegan, I’ve only had a cold once this whole year, and haven’t contracted Strep Throat yet(I used to be guaranteed to get it at this time of year, every year). The only sickness I’ve had is migraines and as far as I know they aren’t normally linked to a poor immune system. There have even been times when almost everyone else around me has been sick(eg at work or in my house), and I haven’t caught the bug at all!

Why is this? My hypothesis, before I do some research, is that since I’m not eating any animal products, I’m just automatically eating more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed with so many nutrients, vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system, as well as many other bodily functions.

Here’s what I found on the net(again, skip this part if it’ll make you yawn):

The Physicians Community for Responsible Medicine have researched and conclude that “the immune-boosting power of vegetarian diets is partly due to their vitamin content, their low fat content, and perhaps other contributors, such as reduced exposure to toxic chemicals and animal proteins.”

They also add a fun fact that: “fats impair immunity, and cutting fat out of the diet helps strengthen the immune defenses against cells that turn cancerous.” I personally think that fully cutting any kind of nutrient out of the diet is unhealthy, but it seems that reducing fat intake(but not cutting it out) boosts immunity, and eating vegan just naturally reduces fat intake.

A vegan forum called “Vegaprocity” have also done a lot of research on the link between a plant-based diet and immunity: “your immune system is only as strong as the food you use to fuel it. Studies discovered that macrophages, a type of immune cells, slowed down in people with a high cholesterol level. Cholesterol is chiefly found in animal based foods.”

“Micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, found in fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains, are essential for the healthy functioning of the immune system.”



Goodbyeee ED voices

Well, sometimes. Getting rid of the evil eating disorder voice isn’t as easy as that. But, when the ED voice is telling me to restrict, I find the compromise of restricting animal products(and nothing else) quite helpful. When feeling vulnerable or fragile, I kind of think of it like I’m already restricting animal products, so I’m eating healthier anyway, so therefore there is no reason why I need to restrict further. I have made a deal with myself though: if I’m going to let myself restrict animal products from my diet, I am never allowed to restrict anything else. Being vegan has made me feel better about eating foods I sometimes find particularly hard to feel okay about eating.

Please note: I have never been too seriously sick with an eating disorder. However, the eating disorder voices have been in my mind over the past few years, and have caused various patches where unhealthy compulsions and thinking patterns have made their way into my life.

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way saying that veganism can hands-down speed or help recovery of an eating disorder. I know that some survivors have found this lifestyle change helpful in their recovery, and others have found it detrimental due to the triggers that come with restricting any part of your diet. Everybody’s experience is different, and I am only speaking for myself; no one else.


Hellooo fitness+strength

I’ve always been keen on exercise and sport, and have always made an effort in making sure my daily exercise is reasonably high. However, I’ve never managed to become noticeably fit or strong, despite my efforts. I thought this was because my exercise goals were only ever high enough to stay sane and healthy, not to improve at or pursue any particular sport. I also decided I just wasn’t naturally sporty.

Since going vegan, I haven’t upped my exercise intensity or quantity. I’ve continued with my yoga, walking/running/cycling, and netball at the same levels I was before. However, I have noticed a huge difference in my body’s reaction to my exercise since I’ve been vegan. My muscles have never been so toned before. My stamina in my exercise routines has never been so strong and consistent. I have never noticed a difference in my physical appearance due to exercise until I went vegan- I’ve burned more fat and gained more muscle. When I have large gaps between workouts for whatever reason, I don’t feel anywhere near as behind/weak/unfit as I used to if I missed days in a row.

My general energy levels have also increased, not only during exercise but throughout my daily routine. In my very un-scientific opinion, I think this might be because I need to eat more frequently and more quantity to keep myself full, so this regular energy input helps to boost my energy output. Also, a lot of animal products are very heavy and stodgy, and often leave you feeling bloated or heavy. Plants don’t make you feel like this, so generally I feel a lot lighter after meals, which helps me to continue with my day much more easily, as opposed to feeling like you need to sit around or lie down for a little while after eating.



Without trying to sound like the proud, annoying vegan many of people stereotype vegans to be, I highly recommend adopting a vegan lifestyle. It won’t be as hard as you think. Do your research beforehand, so that you know how to be healthy and how to respond to the inevitable “why are you vegan?” questions. Ease into it if that works best; for example cut out meat first, then eggs, then dairy, rather than cutting it all out at once. You will be surprised at how much better you feel, both ethically and physically.

Everyone except for a small few that I know that have gone vegan rave about how much better their lives are, just like I do. The small few who said it didn’t work for them either didn’t research well enough and therefore didn’t know how to be healthy with their diet(ie maintain crucial vitamin/mineral/nutrient levels), or purely couldn’t for practical reasons(eg parents not allowing it, constant travelling or being hosted by others, etc).

I challenge you. Do it. If you do it right, you’ll never look back.

Featured image: I had this amazing black rice porridge at a cafe the other day! Black rice cooked with coconut milk, topped with nuts, fruit, coconut sugar and coconut yogurt. So yummy!!