The Sweet Meadow

Vegan for Life

living the sweet lifeAishe Besim

I’ve been eating a plant-based, vegan diet since early 2013. I shouldn’t call what I do a ‘diet’ though. It’s simply eating the way humans are designed to.

Why do I eat this way? Because I love how happy and healthy and compassionate I feel when eating a vegan diet. There is nothing better than eating as much sweet fruit, fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains and healthy fats as I care for. I don’t feel hungry or deprived and I never feel guilty about food. This is really the best kind of lifestyle and I will never look back. 

I hate to admit it but the catalyst for all of this was superficial – I wanted to tone up and lose weight. Years before, back in 2008, I weighed in at my heaviest, 68 kg. I had no knowledge of how to eat ‘healthy’ now that I had begun full time work after completing university. As a result, I found myself buying lunch most days with the rest of my colleagues, and frequented places like McDonalds, KFC, Nandos (the staff had memorised my order I went in that frequently), and Pizza Hut. Team this with no exercise and stress and I stacked on the weight very fast.


 (l-r) Me at my heaviest. Wow! | This was about 6 six weeks after I started eating a vegan diet. If you look closely you can see my skin broke out in some serious rashes all over my arms and legs. All part of the detox process. 


I felt so uncomfortable in my body that in 2009 I vowed to get my health back in order. I joined a gym and began bringing in my lunch from home. I stopped consuming energy drinks and chocolate bars as snacks and instead opted for fresh fruit and nuts. It didn’t take me long to get back to my ‘normal’ weight, although this whole experience woke me up to the fact that our bodies are not designed to consume chemicals or preservatives.

Fast-forward a few years and while I had maintained my weight easily enough, I still had a bloated stomach, acne and eczema.  This led me to research ways of eating and living in a way that can heal our body. Exercise, hydration, sleep and a low-stress lifestyle are all important factors in healing. 

Kimberly Synder’s The Beauty Detox Solution book completely changed the way I thought about food and digestion. I started making her Glowing Green Smoothie and phasing out animal products over the course of a year or so. It wasn’t until I read The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Doug Graham in February 2013 that I made the conscious decision to start eating a vegan diet, starting the following month.

While I tried transitioning to an all-raw diet as suggested in 80/10/10, I decided that it wasn’t working for me, especially in the cooler months, and naturally gravitated to the way I’m eating now – a whole food, vegan diet with plenty of raw fruit and vegetables. 

Becoming a plant eater has changed so much more than what is in my pantry. My core values, career aspirations, and dreams for the future have all completely changed. I care so much more about the simple things now – food, nature, deep breathing, sunlight, reading, exercise, gratitude, love.

We all deserve to feel this connected to nature and to love our bodies. Listen to yours and fuel it with the best quality, cleanest, purest foods you can find. It will change your life.