Lisa Lansing

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How can you visit Berlin and NOT eat a vegan döner?!

This is my first time travelling as a fruit vegan. That is what I’ve come to call myself since I eat primarily fruit with steamed or fresh veggies thrown into the mix.

I travelled around the U.S. as a high carb low fat vegan, but this time, I’m taking the HCLF thing to another level by only eating fruits and veggies. In the States, I still ate bread, rice, and pasta regularly, and indulged in fatty foods from time to time. I explored new cities by sampling the local vegan fare in as many vegan restaurants and cafés as I could fit into my itinerary.

Now that I’m in Berlin, I’ve had lots of suggestions from friendly vegan foodies for places to try, but I’m afraid I have to overlook the majority of these places because I just can’t eat any of the food. Oddly enough one of the reasons why I chose to visit Berlin in the first place (back when I booked my tickets months ago) was because of Berlin’s reputation for being a vegan paradise. That’s also one of the reasons why Glasgow interested me.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve always had a sensitive stomach but now it’s even more sensitive because my diet is completely clean. I never eat overt fats (meaning oil or anything fatty like nuts or avocado), or anything salty or processed.

Now for the first time in my life, I don’t have to worry about stomach issues at all. My digestion is easy and never causes me any pain. After years of suffering from debilitating stomach cramps and episodes of diarrhoea, I figured out I was lactose intolerant and eliminated all dairy from my diet.

I became vegan shortly after that but still suffered from similar symptoms whenever I ate fatty foods. Even though these fatty foods were vegan and sometimes raw, fat is fat and my body reacted the same way as it did when I ate dairy! Eating out or eating at a friend’s house were always stressful times because I couldn’t predict how my stomach would react. I only felt comfortable at home because I knew where the bathroom was and that it was unoccupied, so if I had an emergency I could use it at a moment’s notice in peace.

Prior to my diagnosis, I had eaten dairy products often but didn’t react every time. My body became accustomed to eating small amounts of dairy, so I could manage a scoop of ice cream here and there but an entire ice cream sundae would destroy me. So instead of putting two and two together, I continued to eat dairy and suffer the consequences.

It takes around 10-15 minutes for my body to realise what’s going on after I eat anything containing dairy, and then I’m off to the bathroom and in pain for the rest of the day. Seriously! I’ve accidentally eaten dairy after turning vegan (usually it was cow’s milk in my latte instead of soy, or unsuspecting heavy cream in a soup), and every time my entire day is ruined because I feel like absolute garbage! Physically, I feel as though I have the flu—mentally I’m okay with an honest mistake once in a while, but good grief dairy kills me! I even have a similar reaction (albeit not as swift) when I eat anything other than fruits and veggies, so I’ve chosen to avoid cooked meals at all costs.

I know that my minimalist way of eating seems strange to most vegans since most of us are die-hard foodies and can’t imagine a life without avocado, chips, coconut curry, or peanut butter, but I must avoid these foods because my body will not digest them any longer. Fat from raw nuts or avocados gives me the same reaction as fat from deep-fried potatoes or donuts, the same excruciating reaction I get when I eat cow’s milk or cheese.

The fact that fats have the same effect on my digestion as dairy leads me to believe that I should avoid it at all costs and that most people would be as sensitive to fats as I am if they cleaned up their diets. After all, we’re all lactose intolerant. None of us are baby cows!

I feel that we are all just used to eating high amounts of fats every day, so our bodies are just used to all the crap we give them…I’m willing to bet that no one should eat overt fats as much as we do and that we’d all feel a lot better if we cut them out of our diets. I’ll have to research that extensively for a later blog post, but I just know that I get plenty of fat (even omega fatty acids) from fruit and veggies alone.

Some would argue that it’s a shame that my diet is so clean that I can’t stomach some chips once in a while, but I’m glad to be this way and wouldn’t change anything. The scary thing is to think about how often I was eating fatty foods, and how damaging these were to my digestive system!

For now, I’m in too deep into this fruit lifestyle. Bring on the grapes!

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