Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m an Argentinian woman in my late thirties. I’ve been living in Paris for almost six years now and really enjoying this city from the last two years 😉
How did you decide to become a vegetarian?
It was a process that I didn’t search in the beginning. I started eating less meat and buying more organic products, until one day that I remembered a book that belonged to my mother in which it was written something about Ayurveda. In the eighties all that macrobiotic regimes and stuff from India was very popular in Argentina, so I searched some information on the internet and I found a nice website called joyfullbelly.com. Ayurveda is a kind of medicine that analyses your way of living, your body, your natural “elements” and in all that mix you should arrive to one of the three main personalities: Vatha, Khappa or Pitta, read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayurveda
So, I did a very strict regime for 10 days avoiding meat and following the Ayurveda principles thinking that it was just a test to see if I could adopt another way of eating, and it worked.
What were the immediate benefits of your new diet? What keeps you going?
I immediately felt really well. I slept better, I did my digestion faster, my migraines were less frequent but I knew that I needed to re-learn how to eat.
Describe your typical shopping basket.
I try to buy everything on organic shops, but it’s not always possible (for example when I’m working). In general I buy grains (a lot of them!!) like lentils, beans, wheat, quinoa, cereals, algae, etc. seeds: sunflower, squash or chia but also super-food vitamins like spirulina, goji, and ginseng. Obviously I also eat pasta and rice and a lot of cheese! Seitan and tofu are not my favorite ones but I need them a lot, so from time to time I buy some to have at home.
Fruits and vegetables have to be on season and from around the corner, as I’m living in France I like to buy them from France or Italy that has a great quality on bio-organic and in food in general.
There are some fruits (especially) that you cannot find in Europe so on that cases you are forced to buy bananas or mangoes that come from abroad, but I do it a lot less than before.
How did nutrition affect your sporting activities?
I’m not a very sporty person. Sometimes I feel the need of walking or running a little bit but I prefer cycling.
Anyway I feel a lot better now than before, with a lot more energy. It’s been a year being vegetarian so now I can tell it, but at first energy lows and you need to adapt your body to your new diet habits.
What are your favorite dishes?
I don’t have any preference but I really enjoy a complete meal with spices and fresh vegetables.
What about alcohol or sweets? Are they still in your diet? 🙂
I’m not a big fan of sweets like candies but I really love chocolate in winter or ice-cream in summer. Alcohol is also present in my life and I think I tolerate it better, but It’s better to avoid it…obviously it’s not good for health.
What would you recommend people when they start this? What do you think the typical mistakes are when you are on such a diet?
If you don’t balance your diet to obtain proteins or you don’t take into account that you need to have iron on your body it can be really hard to sustain. These two points are really important in order to be successful, so my advice is: inform yourself about the possible combinations in order to balance your diet!
What about your budget? Did it stay the same or has it changed? I’m sure everyone wants to know if eating healthy food costs more money.
I don’t feel I spend more money, meat is very expensive and when you are vegetarian you eat less quantity because you don’t need it much. The way to buy is different; you need to go more often to the grocery store because you need your food to be fresh. Try to avoid supermarkets! The preservatives and frozen food are your enemies!
Once you are on the good path try to listen to your body, he knows what and when to eat to balance your energy! 🙂
Besides being a vegetarian, Anabel also has a lovely business: she creates jewelries, scarfs, and all sorts of amazing clothing, by using natural elements like wool, precious stones, cotton, etc. You can also check out her products on DaWanda, Alittlemarket and Etsy. She also worked the Playa Limon project, which features the work of designers from Latin America.
Remember, by eating less meat you are helping your body and the planet:
Photo credits: Anabel’s personal archive