Well, it’s been about one month since I decided to transition to a plant-based/vegan diet and it’s been a lot easier than I thought it would be. I’m not really that fussed about no longer eating meat, but having been addicted to cheese and milk for so many years, I figured that those would be the hardest things to give up.
I know it’s early days yet, but I think as long as you are able to find substitutes for those meat & dairy products that you’ve used for most of your life, it’s actually quite easy to switch to a vegan diet.
How has a vegan diet affected your ostomy?
I get this question a lot, because I think a lot of people who have a stoma worry that an increase in fruit and vegetables will cause a lot of problems. Sure, I don’t know how it would have affected me if I still had my ileostomy, but VeganOstomy doesn’t seem to have many problems eating a vegan diet with his ileostomy. However, with my colostomy, I don’t seem to have any problems with the increase in fruit, vegetables, grains, lentils & nuts at all. Cutting out dairy has also helped me feel less bloated and digestion seems much easier for my body. I don’t know whether I was intolerant to dairy and never realised, or whether it’s just a happy coincidence – either way, eating a vegan diet is much gentler on my stoma than a non-vegan diet.
Don’t you miss meat & dairy?
Nope. The only thing I miss is the convenience of being able to grab a sandwich or something if I’m in a rush. It’s not the meat or dairy I miss, it’s the availability and convenience… which is just lazy, to be honest. Heh. If I plan ahead and prepare things, then it’s not an issue.
What exactly do you eat though?
I eat fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, lentils, rice, pasta… basically anything you can think of that doesn’t come from an animal. For a boost of protein, I also like to have protein powder – the one I use is my new favourite – the Nuzest Clean Mean Protein. I do also eat ‘mock meat’, like Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausage Rolls (they taste exactly like meat sauasage rolls!), vegan sausages, vegan burgers… but I’m hoping to cut these out eventually – they’re just to help me with the transition so I’m more likely to stick with it long-term.
So it’s been one month… will you carry on?
Absolutely. I can’t imagine going back to eating animal products. I’m sure there’ll be the accidental food item here or there, where I’ve not checked the label properly and something randomly contains milk or egg or something… but this is a journey, and I need to learn what foods I can and can’t eat. Plus, I haven’t felt this well in years – I don’t feel as bloated, my skin is (slowly) clearing up, and digestion is as close to perfect as it can be for someone with Crohn’s disease and a colostomy.
What about other things, like cosmetics etc?
Once I’ve used all my current make-up (seeing as I already paid for it all), I will no longer be purchasing any cosmetics made from or tested on animals. PETA have a fantastic list of all the cosmetic companies that are cruelty-free and/or vegan (yes, there is a difference). I’m also going to work on finding vegan companies/brands for all other items but this will take a while. Like I said, this is a transitional period, so while not everything in my life is 100% vegan right now, I’m going to try and make as many positive changes as possible.
Thanks for reading, and if you have any suggestions for vegan brands, particularly those in the UK, then please do share them in the comments!