About Organic Vegan 101

We wanted to create this website for people just starting out as vegans, or as organic gardeners, or both – to build the site we would have found most helpful at the start of our journey. There’s a lot of information out there, but it can be overwhelming. Changing your diet in itself can be overwhelming too. If you’re not in the best of health to begin with, it can be yet more challenging. We know this from experience.

As well as showing you how we do things ourselves, we like to share time-saving tips and ways to cheat with ready-made ingredients – either long-term if it’s too much for you to make a lot of things from scratch, or short-term while you’re finding your feet. We’re also happy to share our mistakes so you can avoid them.

To us it’s most important to be practical and for our choices to be sustainable, given our limited physical and financial capacity. We’re not overly strict or obsessive about anything – we just want to eat tasty home-made food at every meal, made from wholesome ingredients and with the minimum of hassle.

How far you take it is up to you. Not everything we’re doing now happened from day one – it’s been a gradual process, and will no doubt evolve even further over time. We’ve learnt a huge amount so far, but this is just the beginning. Thanks for joining us along the way.

Sumangali

Sumangali

Head of cooking, photography, design and composting.

Lyn (aka Mum)

Lyn (aka Mum)

Head of gardening, research, record-keeping and maths.

Lucy

Lucy

Head of security and entertainment. Not vegan but enjoys gardening.


Our Story

I turned vegetarian at age 13, basically for animal welfare reasons, and because I thought meat was a bit disgusting anyway. Mum took that decision in her stride, which still amazes me thirty-odd years later, as it must have been a drag for her cooking all those separate dishes. In the early 80s, eating out meant a cheese salad, or a plain omelette if you were lucky. People tended to think if you didn’t eat meat they could take the animal bit off the plate and you’d be fine with a few carbs and a vegetable garnish. I’d never heard of a vegan, and I’d never heard of organic food, which was probably just as well.

Fast forward a decade or two. I’d developed CFS and Mum had developed something that’s never been diagnosed, but which is probably MS. We each took food sensitivity tests, and were advised to cut out dairy, eggs and gluten. Mum was also sensitive to several types of meat, so she pretty much went vegan overnight (I can’t really say cold turkey here). We both felt benefits from these changes in a couple of days.

Before tweaking my diet, I’d already managed about a 70% recovery from CFS, following the Gupta Programme, for which I’m hugely grateful. The additional changes in food probably gave me an extra 5% recovery, and I was more than willing to live with that long-term if necessary. Mum’s health was gradually declining though, as is the usual pattern with MS and other auto-immune conditions. The diet helped, but was clearly never going to be a cure. We also started to cheat anyway – a cheese straw here, a pudding there – as we had no compelling proof it was worth the effort.

So in 2017, Mum did some more research, came across Terry Wahls, and that’s where all of this started. TW turned our world upside down and we’ll be forever grateful to her for that. The Wahls Protocol is not only about what you take out of your diet, but also what you add in. As we’re pretty positive people, that was a crucial point of difference for us. Changing our diet, again we both felt an improvement after a couple of days, but this time have continued to improve in subtle ways ever since.

Essentially the Wahls Protocol is about eating heaps of fresh fruit and vegetables, buying organic produce, or – even better – growing organic produce in your garden. It’s about eliminating gluten, dairy, eggs and refined sugar. That’s all very well, but the sticking point for us is that TW is a staunch carnivore, and neither of us is prepared to go back to eating meat. So we’ve had to forge our own way ahead, learning step-by-step how we can eat sufficient quantities of the fresh produce she recommends, while also getting the complete nourishment we need from other plant-based ingredients.

It’s hard to describe the difference we feel. It’s a sense of general well-being that’s probably present in normal healthy people, but it feels unusual to us and very valuable. It’s a sense that everything is working more as it was designed to work. The body is stronger, the head is clearer, the mood is lighter, we need less rest and can get more out of our days. We have more stamina and we bounce back more quickly if we do over-stretch ourselves. A host of minor ailments have gradually faded away. Mum hasn’t made a full recovery by any means, but quality of life has improved so much for both of us that we couldn’t imagine going back to how we ate and lived before.

People often say: Don’t you miss cheese? Chocolate biscuits? Honestly, no – mainly because the food we eat is delicious and genuinely satisfying, so we don’t crave anything or feel at all deprived. That has surprised us more than it’s surprised anyone. But also we would miss the health we’ve gained far more than we’d ever miss a sprinkle of Parmesan or a couple of Hobnobs. It can be pretty time-consuming sourcing good ingredients, then preparing almost everything from scratch as we do now, but on balance it’s definitely worth the effort.

We’re discovering that old-fashioned methods of preparing food are often the most healthful and reliable, but we’re also happy to employ modern methods when such makes sense. We were never the sort to hang out in the kitchen faffing about for ages – life has always seemed too short for that – so the fact that we got the food bug at all was thus against the odds. While milling our own flour or grinding our own nut butter, we often ask ourselves if we’ve actually gone mad. Even if so, it feels good, and it’s not hurting anyone, so we may as well continue 🙂

– Sumangali


Disclosures & Disclaimers

We have no medical or nutritional training – we’re just compiling facts from existing sources, and experimenting at home with methods and recipes to see what works for us. Take what makes sense to you, but please seek professional help if you think you need it. Full disclaimer here »

We eat vegan and organic food primarily for health reasons, though we’re also concerned for the welfare of animals, and the well-being of our planet. If we can inspire others and give back to the world a little bit along the way, we’re ever so glad, but we’d rather not to get into political or ethical arguments here. We respect the lifestyle choices of others, and hope you’ll respect our choices too, even if you may not entirely agree with them.

We like to provide links to research papers for further reading. Many of them are based on animal experiments, which we consider far from ideal. While we always strive to provide more human-based evidence, on many topics it’s simply not yet available. Often this is the closest we can get to learning what might be helpful or harmful to our health, so (with a heavy heart) we share it with you nonetheless.

We live in North Yorkshire, so our experience is largely based on UK supplies and our local climate, but we try to accommodate other regions where possible.

We use affiliate links and advertising on this site to make it a little bit more manageable for us financially. We don’t earn a lot from this, but maintaining a site to the standard we want takes a lot of time and care. If you follow affiliate links and make a purchase, we get a small commission, for which we’ll be very grateful. Full terms here »

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We’re still learning…

We really hope this site inspires you to seek better health through your diet. Without any medical or nutritional training, we’re just compiling facts from existing sources, and experimenting at home to see what works for us. Please take what feels right for you, but do seek professional help if you think you need it.
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