COLUMN : how i found health

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if you’ve read my other posts you might have noticed that i talk a lot about health. it’s such a fundamental part of my life, and i’ve got a very clear idea of what i think health is, that i’ve taken it for granted that we’re all on the same page. but my definition of health might not be the same as yours, or anyone else’s. so to make sure we all know what i talk about i thought it necessary to lay out the line.

so here goes – my definition of health is the sum of three things :
– how i eat
– how i move
– how i feel

in my life, i’ve realised that when i feel at most healthy and at home in my body, is when what i do is based on kindness. ok, i know this sounds very vague and flimsy, but the more i think about it, the more sense it makes. being kind to myself, other people and our animal friends, and trying to be as good to the environment as i can be, naturally makes me eat right, do calming and strengthening workouts, and puts my mind at ease at the same time.

how i eat
i’m completely convinced that my vegan diet is where it all starts for me health-wise. eating nothing but plants has made the biggest difference in my life, both with how my body feels and how i’m doing mentally. there’s a reason why so many vegans say that going vegan is the best decision they’ve ever made. i’m one of them. i didn’t even know i could feel this good, have this amount of energy, and be so happy with myself. i’ve now been vegan for almost eight years and i feel better than ever.

i’m into the whole foods concept, so i prefer to buy my food unprocessed, and eat the whole plant. there are so many nutrients in plants and we don’t know much about how they interact with one another, so i try to eat the whole olive instead of just the oil, the whole orange instead of just the juice, you get the idea.

there are a bunch of different vegan diets claiming to be the healthiest one – raw food, 80-10-10, raw till 4, high-carb, vegan paleo etc etc. i don’t really mind any of that. in my opinion they’re all good, but for me the only thing that really matters is eating a varied diet of all the plants i can get my hands on, and getting B12 in some form (the only supplement i  take). the rest is just fun ideas, to explore new ways of preparing food.

i don’t count calories or keep a food journal. i don’t weigh myself regularly. health is not about numbers – it’s about how i’m feeling. i don’t feel the need to validate my experience by applying numbers or labels.
also, i don’t keep track of how much protein, iron, or calcium i get in my diet. i’ve done blood tests on a few occasions since going vegan, and i’ve never had any deficiencies – quite the opposite in fact. so i’m all good.

how i move
i wrote a post on my daily exercise routine a while back, where i explain my view on healthy exercising, so here are just the basics :

i feel great when working out 30-90 minutes, about 6 days a week. i do low-intensity workouts like pilates or walking. i want my workouts to be relaxing and strengthening, not stressful or exhausting. it’s my form of meditation and getting balanced and grounded. i care more about doing it at all, than about how fast, hard, or for how long i can go. again, it’s about being kind to my body, not pressuring it. and i believe resting is just as important as moving.

how i feel
it’s easy to disconnect your mind from your body. but our brain is of course just as physical as the rest of us, affecting and being affected by the rest of our body. so to be healthy, i find it logical to move in a more relaxed, low-stress, and happy direction. i don’t mean a life without stress, sorrow, anger or petty irritation. i don’t see it as my goal to never be upset again. and i don’t mean happiness as in those short bursts of joy or exhilaration. i’m more talking about the bigger picture, the overall platform my mood’s resting on.

to have a happy platform to bounce my mood off of, i need security and stability. i need kindness from myself and from the people i’ve chosen to have in my life. and i need a sense of being in the right place, that i’m going after the things that truly matters to me. living a life that i’ve chosen instead of one that sort of just happened. so i guess you would call that purpose ?

that’s it really. i’m still working on getting the hang of some of those things, but all in all i’m surprised at how pleased i am with where i’m at now. i guess the reason why i’m content is that this isn’t me chasing a goal or jumping on a quick-fix – it’s me trying things out until i find a lifestyle that’s completely maintainable throughout my whole life. because when it comes to health, i don’t care about 2 months from now. i care about forever – however long that turns out to be.

love and health // jenny

 

11 Comments

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  3. Dear Jenny!
    I hope this comment won’t become too long but I really have to tell you, how much I’m in awe of your way of living. Lately I came across your Instagram and was absolutely happy, because I’ve already been a huge fan of MTM – without knowing that you had your own blog/ youtube whatsoever.
    I’ve been vegetarian for 7 years now and didn’t have enough willpower to upgrade to veganism. Stupid thoughts like “what about cheese” “veganism’s so inconvenient” crossed my mind anytime I thought of already turning vegan. This September I’ll move to Japan and literally anyone who’s been there before kept telling me that being vegetarian in Japan is impossible. It made me so angry – why can’t we just live without being cruel to animals? And it made me question my own morals – being vegetarian didn’t feel enough anymore. So instead of giving in and becoming a carnivore again I’ve started being vegan – also thanks to your blog. You made me believe that veganism is easy and fun. Also thank you very much for your video with David, it’s ultimately convincing. I’m so glad I came across your blog! I wish I could have met you while I was still living in London as well (we were almost neighbours – I lived in Bethnal Green). And another thing: you would totally love “Kansha” by Elizabeth Andoh, a cooking book for Japanese vegetarian and vegan food (don’t get scared away by the “vegetarian”, most recipes are vegan). Kansha means thankfulness and is about wasting a minimal amount and using the maximum amount of your ingredients. I think you’d love that. There’s also a minimalist friendly kindle app version, maybe you should check it out.
    Seriously thank you so much for your ideas and words, they are very inspiring and I hope they will influence even more people. I wish you all the best for your business and Berlin-plans!
    Have a lovely weekend!

    • jennymustard

      wow kristina ! i didn’t see this comment till now, so sorry for my late reply !
      reading this was such a treat for me, thank you so much for taking the time to share. i’m so happy to hear that you’ve started taking your first steps towards a vegan lifestyle. i’m sure you won’t regret it ! i had the same silly thoughts myself before going vegan – excuses that at a closer look doesn’t really matter to my happiness at all. i’m happier than ever – even without cheese ;)

      i admire and appreciate your reaction to the negativity concerning japan. i’ve heard that so many times as well. but the thing is, have a look at tokyo on happy cow and you’ll see so many vegan places popping up. also, i’d recommend you check out peaceful cuisine on youtube – an incredibly inspiring channel from a tokyo-based vegan. lots of great tips there ! of course it’s possible to be vegan in japan. anything’s possible and even enjoyable, as long as it’s important enough to you.
      i find that there’s usually a few people who will try to drown your dreams in negativity when you share your plans. it can be disconcerting ! i’ve made up my mind once and for all to not listen to that though, since if i did, i would never be able to realise any dreams.

      oh how fun that we were sort of neighbours ! maybe we walked passed each other on the street :))

      i will deffo check out kansha ! i’ve actually heard about it before, will keep an eye out for it ! thanks for the tip !!

      all my love // jenny

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  5. its amazing how much positive energy you’re sending here
    i realized i was grinning the whole time reading your posts :)
    im so happy i found your blog/YT channel
    keep doing what you’re doing! its amazing
    oh and btw im from korea and seeing you making kimchi was so cool & glad ur enjoying it!
    love you<3

  6. I Just found your blog (definitly too late:)) and I’m blown away. I got chills reading all of these posts filled up with positive energy. It calms me down as well as it inspires me to improve my lifestyle and be kind and caring to myself. I also turned vegan just a few months ago and it’s already impossible for me to imagine a life without veganism even if I still struggle to deal with veganism in society.

    One thing that I love about your columns (of course about you Youtube channel as well;)) is that their full of great content and every sentence is worth being read and meanwhile they’re so effortlessly readable.

    Thanks for inspiring me<3

  7. I’m so glad I ran across your videos on YouTube! I love your cheerful attitude and the beautiful photography. I only went vegan last year, but it has made me so happy to live more in line with my values. I’m also a minimalist, and I love the aesthetic you’ve created for your channel/blog/instagram I couldn’t agree more with you about food, by the way! I just made a video about this – the best diet on earth is eating what makes you happy and moving in ways that make you happy. All the best!

  8. You seem to be so in peace with your body. Your energy is so calming. I’m aiming to do this with my life too. Thank you for the inspiration! :)

  9. I love this mindset. I try to live this way as well and it is very satisfying. Glad you are living well!

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