Hi all,

I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself as I think it would be helpful to let you guys know my relationship with food and how I became vegan, so you can relate more to my future blog post, or at the very least to help you understand how I developed my knowledge about nutrition and exercise. To begin when I was 10 years old I developed Ulcerative Colitis (UC), which is a chronic condition that leads to ulcers forming in the colon. Being diagnosed with UC changed my life significantly as I now had to be very aware of the foods I was eating and the reaction they would cause with the ulcers in my colon. Foods which were processed, spicy and high in acid were particularly taxing on my body and after consuming these specific foods my symptoms of abdominal pain, bloody stools, fever, weight loss and malnourishment would worsen. I was on a high dosage of medicine, taking 16 different pills a day at my worst. For a long time I suffered with relapses and symptoms, especially throughout my high school education. It wasn’t until I landed up in hospital from serve malnourishment, when my surgeon told me that if things did not improve I would have to have my colon removed and a bag outside of my stomach for the rest of my life. Desperate to be a normal teenager and not have my colon removed or have to worry about my health, I began obsessively researching alternative methods to help control symptoms/heal/stop ulcerative colitis. I came across a large range of literature which highlighted the benefits of a vegan, whole food diet. After researching further and finding former ulcerative colitis suffers, who were cured once they implemented a vegan diet into their life, I decided that I would slowly become a vegan, easing into it by first giving up meat, then dairy and lastly eggs alongside any other non-vegan foods. I decided that even if it didn’t work, I couldn’t possibly feel worse than I did before and I would at least be fuelling my body with healthy whole foods, which in itself is very rewarding. The positive changes in my life were almost immediate. I had more energy, I felt happier, healthier and my symptoms decreased rapidly. I reduced the medicine I was on by more than two thirds and gained a huge sense of independence and freedom, which was previously overshadowed by my condition. Once I became a vegan I fell in love with cooking and creating new recipes, all the knowledge I’ve gained has been purely through my own research and I don’t at any point claim to be a professional or physician. However the bad effects of animal products on our health are clear for everyone to see. There are numerous documentaries (Cowspiracy, What the Health, Knives over Forks, What the Wheat?) that exist which portray the decline in our global health and productivity due to the overconsumption of animal products. There also exists a LARGE body of scientific research and evidence that supports this. It is all accessible to us, you need only to type it into google or do the research yourself to discover its existence. Through this blog I wish to share with you the many recipes I’ve created or found to help/inspire you in the kitchen. Even if you are not interested in veganism, there are still recipes that you could use as inspiration in the kitchen, which could be altered to suit your personal preferences. I wish to be a source of good knowledge and help for you guys, and I’m looking forward to connecting with you all and creating a forum of support for those interested or those already participating in a vegan lifestyle.

Love and Good Health, Cailin.   

Vegan Blogger Cailin Hargreaves with siberian husky Nala