I’m Lauren, a free spirit from Cape Town, South Africa, who 4 years ago embarked on a journey to health in mind, body and soul. I have never looked back.
I started this blog because it combines two of my greatest passions – healthy food and writing. Perhaps I should call my IBS diagnosis fortuitous then, as without it I may never have started the journey that lead me to this point.
Like so many out there, I had digestion issues for years. I struggled with bloating and gas and I never understood why. I know now that wheat was the issue, but at the time I put it down to cooked vegetables – because you never blame the pizza! I felt lethargic and sluggish, and the after effects of what I considered a healthy meal where always the same – discomfort and feeling ill. So that was a normal dinner; woe betide me if I binged on anything deep fried. Goodbye KFC on a hangover.
For some reason, it never occurred to me that I could have IBS, nor that I might be intolerant of certain foods. I come from a meat, potatoes and 3 veg family – my mom is Afrikaans and healthy cooking wasn’t really a buzzword in our house. You ate what was on your plate and that was that, especially as my mom is a brilliant cook and what was on your plate most likely inspired second helpings. Mention ‘low fat’ or ‘Atkins’ and I’d have been met with the same reaction if I’d said my best friend was a Martian.
As an adult however, I made different choices. I’d always exercised, so everything in moderation became my motto, and most of the time I was a relatively healthy eater. Or so I thought.
It was only 4 years ago when my problems with food were at an all-time high, that a friend suggested I try going gluten free. It was the beginning of a complete overhaul of my life.
I went from a gluten free diet – which certainly improved my digestion problems, but didn’t quite solve them – to a gluten and dairy free lifestyle. Which, for 90% of the time, pretty much did the trick. But it wasn’t enough. There’s a big difference between eating foods that you don’t react to and eating foods that make you feel bouncing-off-the-ceiling amazing. I discovered through much reading and research that eating healthy didn’t mean what I’d always thought it did.
As I began to embrace wholefoods and cut out the ones that made me feel like crap, I inevitably fielded confused reactions from friends and family: ‘If you don’t eat bread/grains/pasta/milk products, then what do you actually EAT?’ Vegans everywhere sighed with me.
The answer is what inspired this blog and is laid out on these pages. I went from an occasional fast food enthusiast to a wholefoods know-it-all, tossing out jargon words like ‘maca’ and ‘mesquite’ to my bewildered friends. In the course of trying to fix my uncooperative intestines, I discovered what it means to eat your way to good health.
My journey to digestive health has been one of the most exciting things I have ever done; not only because I no longer wake up with a soccer ball in my stomach, but because what I have learnt along the way about food, the body and feeling amazing has transformed my happiness as well as my physical health.
I am by no means an expert. I don’t have a degree in nutrition, I spend far more time drinking wine than practicing yoga, and I still cheat when I want to – yes, even the occasional hangover KFC. But I have spent countless hours researching food and health and I have found a path that works for me, one which I follow 80% of the time. Just maybe there will be something on these pages that works for you too.
So the obvious question – why Part Time Veggie? I am not, nor have I ever been vegetarian. It’s not from lack of desire – I have deep aspirations to be one of the lofty beings who never touch animal flesh. Partly because I feel best when I am eating raw, whole, non-animal foods, but also for compassion’s sake – but that’s another story. However, I am a born and bred South African girl, raised almost exclusively on red meat, and my love for biltong far outweighs my willpower to forgo it. I have accepted this as a character glitch, much like my love for wine over yoga, and I have made peace with it. But when I can, especially when I am creating new healthy snack recipes, I go veggie or entirely vegan.