Interview with Wellness By Sophie, French Blogger, on her food journey and transformation
Tell us about your food transformation and your shift to vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. What did you eat before? What are you eating now?
I had a past life where I was eating mostly fat foods, sugary foods. One day we had a Bacon Bagel in a restaurant somewhere in Lyon. And then that night I became very, very sick during the whole night. When I woke up the next morning, I thought of going Vegan. For two months I decided to quit meat. Absolutely no meat, no animal products or whatsoever.
What was an experience has become a habit.
So I decided for two months to have a unique plan based diet and then see what happens. Because I got sick, I wanted to have a plan based diet. It was to see what happened and see how fun it would be.
I used to go to many restaurants and reviewing them on Facebook. I had an Instagram account and when you review food then you follow people that talk about food but also you follow restaurants and you follow what’s going on. I saw the beginning of vegan and vegetarian came out regularly. Beautiful pictures, beautiful plant based food pictures. I started to follow more and more people talking about that. I just got into it. It’s a whole community.
I was reading a lot about detox, oils, plant based, doctors, natural medicine. Within three months I got to learn so much about it. When I became really sick it was like an alarm clock in my body that said ‘’ okay, it’s about time ‘’ By that time I became sick I was super ready to start something new, like if my body got sick to get me into a plant based diet.
Being Vegan is difficult because people think that having a Vegan diet, it’s just not eating meat, but it’s more than that. It’s about not using any animal product that comes in certain foods that you won’t even know, like soap can have chicken grove and you don’t know. You have to go back to basics- go to the market and cook your own food. This is what I did. I realised it was easy because in France we go to the market and we cook anyway. But I had to remove milk from my diet: from my morning coffee to having a yogurt and cheese. This was the hardest part for two months. But then after that, it was no big deal.
Animal product or trace is almost everywhere. Egg is in pastries, like in a simple apple tart or biscuits then milk is in your cup of tea or coffee. A lot of it is hidden. Even in mayonnaise or tomato sauce sometimes they can add animal product or. So it can be tricky when you first start. The sugar part is hard to give up on because when you want to have a Vegan Diet plan based, it’s hard to find plant based pastries or find alternatives at the beginning.
I wanted to see a transformation so I had to be very strict with my self. I wanted it to work. I had rashes everywhere all the time. My skin is a super itching and I totally have health issues. It’s just about skin and about being tired all the time. I’m someone that is super energetic. You will never guess when you see me that I’m most of the time super tired. Plant based diet gave me natural energy, the effect was just amazing.
On the first week I was all excited. Oh my God, I was all excited. On the second week it was just terrible because I missed sugar. I started having a headache, lack of energy, depressed. It’s like you have your periods. But then after two weeks, you feel energized. I’ve also lost a lot of weight. I gave up sugar and all animal products. My purpose was not loosing weight but feeling really good.
I have a job where December is the worst month working 15 hours a day. It’s super physical, so I was kind of preparing for that job and then I’ve spent December seeing all my co-workers exhausted and being sick and I was fine. For the first time in my life I think I had a winter without a flu or a cold, which never happens to me. because I’m always seeking the winter and froze. This year, it’s the second winter and I’m not sick and I’m still amazed because everyone was sick around me. Everyone was lacking of energy.
After 2 months of radical diet change, you realize you had more energy. Why didn’t you stay on a vegan diet and reintroduced some animal protein?
I was working 12 hours a day and couldn’t do my meal prep or cook. So I didn’t do good, I was not having meat but eating in a rush through December. I did what I had to do with this Vegan diet and ready to go back to my previous way of eating. I lost the habit of going to supermarket and having process food. When I went back to a supermarket and feeling lost.
There was nothing that I wanted to buy. I realise I could never go back to my previous way of eating. I go to the grocery and eat fresh food. I don’t cook meat anymore. I try not to eat meat. When I see meat, it’s not appealing to me now. I really don’t know why but guess when something is not doing good on you, you just don’t want to go back to it. And it goes with people, friendship, love.
Tell us about your blog and how you got started?
I kept my food transformation secret for a while because talking about vegan or vegetarian in France isn’t easy, we have a strong culture for cheese and charcuterie. It’s my American friend who convinced me that I should do a blog. She didn’t ask me and created it for me!
Then I started to write and enjoy it. I’m helping people, they are asking me for recipes, essential oils etc. I think we have to changed the image of vegetarian people just eating grains, being skinny and living in the countryside. I live in a city, I go out and drink a gin.
What’s your morning routine and how you keep up your energy levels?
There’s a couple of things that are very easy- It’s Chlorella and Spirulina. It’s, it’s the most efficient in the world! If you have grass, spirulina and chlorella on a daily basis, then you can go on all day.
You just have to find a product that had the superfood you need stick with it every morning. I believe that if you have a good start in the morning, then it’s fine for the day. It works for me every morning, no matter what. Instead of being sick for seven days in a row in my bed, I’m usually sick one day.
What are the quickest meals that you’re making?
Curry is my favorite food ever. It’s perfect because you can go to the market on a Sunday and then you can do a huge curry that can last for a week.
Cooking has to be fun. With curry you can put sweet potatoes, chick, pea, spinach, turmeric, ginger, coconut. So basically it’s about the five things that your body needs. Plus the spices and spices are very important like turmeric, It’s the best anti inflammatory ever
I also love a Buddha bowl with salad, cabbage, peas, protein, chickpeas or whatever role or cooked. If you have no time, you can just grab every veggie or else from the fridge: red cabbage, onions, pickles, coriander, whatever. You’ve got a Buddha bowl at that super healthy.
Indian people, Pakistani, Chinese, Japanese are the ones that invented food medicine. It’s something that I think we forget in Europe. So all their food is just really, perfect for us.
The simple way to start is with the breakfast because it’s the meal of the day when you can put all the superfoods in your bowl. for instance, go for a porridge simple oat porridge and add coconut, flax seeds, Chia seeds. It’s the most efficient so you don’t have to think when during the day you’ll eat that.
It has to be always very handy in your kitchen. Have a kitchen shelf with all the spices that you will need. Invest at the beginning of the month and buy turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cumin. It would last for about 2-3 months.
Drink a lot of tea, like a fruit tea, herbal tea, fruit water. I follow Ayurveda medicine. It says that drinking warm water will cleanse your body.
What would you advice as a self care routine?
Do what makes you happy. I’m myself into music. Music makes me happy. Call your friends, family. Be healthy- with food and people. Get rid of toxic people. Yeah, get rid of them. Surround yourself with love and positive people. Read books that are inspiring to you. Try new foods, reduce your animal product intake! Build you own temple, stay naïve.
Sophie has a super foodie blog and also has workshops about healthy living that you can find on her website here.