How A Plant Based Diet and Healthy Lifestyle Helped Cure My Anxiety and Depression
My healthy lifestyle is inspired by my mum, a plant based yogi and healer, who gave me a new understanding of food and nutrition. Just over two years ago after I graduated from university, I followed her journey of eating plant based foods and became vegan whilst experimenting with raw food. As I became more and more awakened from my yoga sessions, reading new books and meeting like-minded people, becoming a vegetarian came naturally. Soon I discovered my interest and love for health, nutrition and plant based foods, so whilst training for a marathon and working at a yoga studio I became a vegan and partially raw – not only did my health dramatically change but so did my life.
Happiness comes from feeling good, and feeling good comes from looking good, and looking good comes from eating good – so really it is true, you are what you eat! Trust me, giving up sugar and cheese is probably the hardest thing I had to do when I started out, and yes I’d cheat and nibble on feta and chocolate ice cream now and again, but as my journey continued I found new ways to make my favourite treats – guilt free and nutritional. On the plus side, I have always loved vegetables and fruits, so for me experimenting with all the colours of the rainbow from cabbages to beetroots is why I love creating healthy dishes oh so much. My mum is a serious vegetable god – she knows how to make the best salad I think anyone has ever witnessed, and always includes my polish grandmas homemade gherkins which are fermented with salt water from the baltic sea (to die for!). When making food becomes interesting, that’s when you want to eat it so you have to experiment in the kitchen.
After a year of eating clean I started to suffer badly from anxiety and depression, and so with a little help from eating sugar I slowly crept back to eating unhealthy and ate dairy, and on a few occasions I even ate meat. Cigarettes, alcohol and drugs found there way back into my life and I went down and down. I had completely lost myself, and with my identity forgotten I lost my path and closed all of the doors on my healthy lifestyle.
Honestly, that period of my life feels like a blur today. I didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing, until one day it literally hit me in the face when I had a breakdown and all of my unsolved questions were answered.
I realised I wasn’t being true to myself, not only about food but about everything. Feeling confused and lost would lead me to just not care about the reality, eating whatever I craved every day – mostly sugar – and drinking every weekend. The unhealthy food would make me feel hungover and depressed, which would lead me to drink alcohol which would make me feel rubbish, which would make me eat unhealthy food, which would then lead me to feeling more rubbish and then lead me to drinking alcohol again – and so the cycle could never be broken. And – because I knew how it felt to be out of that cycle I felt even worse knowing I couldn’t break it.
I am a very easily influenced person, at least I used to be. Saying no just wasn’t an answer for me, and as soon as I started to push myself into a healthy diet and lifestyle again after the amount of love and support from my family and friends, I finally learnt to say no and I reached a point of true awakening and enlightenment – the feeling of reaching the clouds of beyond.
Being healthy and clean has given me a whole new perspective on the world and how we live our lives and helped bring clarity and understanding. It had led me to transform, let go of fear and live happier.
Because I suffer from anxiety and depression, sugar and alcohol affects me much more severely than other people as it is a depressant. I am completely vegan again, except for the occasional piece of cheese (goats) as I just love cheese – sorry vegans its too tasty! Changing back my diet to how I began has completely cured my depression and anxiety. My entire mood is lifted and I wake up each and every day feeling happier than the last. Not only do I feel good but my hair, skin, eyes and nails are so much healthier thanks to plant based goodness, which makes me even happier.
Alcohol? Well – I have 1 or two on birthdays or some weekends which genuinely is okay for me, but I have over indulged once since I turned back to a healthier lifestyle. This led me to several panic attacks and three days of depression.. It’s just seriously not worth it.
The strange thing about depression is that when it happens to you, you most likely don’t even know it until someone tells you, or you realise it for yourself. And even when you do, how do you even know you have depression? You can’t see it, you can’t touch it but you can feel it, really really deeply, and that’s the hardest part. It’s not like a broken leg for everyone to see, and sometimes the extent of how damaging it is cannot be understood by others making it hard to bring the issue to light.
If you know someone who suffers from depression or think you do yourself – honestly, try and start to change your diet and it will literally transform your life. Even if you just feel lost and confused and can’t seem to think positively, I promise you that food will really help you transform your way of thinking, and when you start to think differently the possibilities are endless.
Follow my Instagram @consumepositivity for my food ideas and inspiration, and keep checking back to this new blog as I will be posting all of my own and my mums advice and recipes on being healthy and eating a plant based diet.
Love Always – Luca