Wharfer urges others to follow her vegan lead
Developing a taste for veganism has inspired Carli Wheatley on a mission to make Wharfers more aware of the food they eat.
But it's not just about raising the profile of a "fruits and shoots" way of eating for the personal trainer at Reebok Sports Club - she's urging E14 businesses to stand up and take notice of the trend.
The diet, which rules out all animal based products such as meat and fish, as well as eggs, dairy and gelatine, has attracted a following of 150,000 people in the UK according to the Vegan Society.
Carli's initial 30-day challenge started last month, prompting her to abandon a chicken-packed regime tailored to bodybuilding in favour of plentiful beans and sweet potato. It's a project that has been months in the making.
"I was trying to come up with a system of eating which could work long-term," she said.
"Generally, most women and men want to be lean and small, but also want to enjoy eating.
"Veganism was a more extreme way of doing it. We are all intelligent people and we need to take responsibility for what we are putting in our mouths."
It wasn't all plain sailing though. After the first four days, Carli admitted she was dashing to make-up counters in search of heavy duty facial concealers to mask spot breakouts - which she believes were caused by her body detoxifying her meat-heavy diet.
But from then on, her fitness and flourished, with increased endurance, lack of fatigue, a sprightly get-up-and-go feeling for early morning starts, bright skin and eyes and a general sense of calm. However, getting her hands on vegan foods remained a challenge in E14.
"Initially, I found it quite difficult," said Carli.
"If you're in a rush, there's not many vegan things around here you can grab. You have to wait to get a salad prepared. And I did find it a struggle to find the amount of food I wanted to eat.
"Crushh is very good at providing the juices but I am surprised more coffee shops don't do coconut milk, rice milk or almond milk.
"When I'm in central London it is much easier, as a lot of places do a variety of milks. If we demand it, I think it will be there.
"Natural places with good, healthy foods could do a lot more - they are carrying the banner for good health, and saying 'we are healthy'."
Carli praised Waitrose for its range of milk and new Jubilee Place arrival, Le Pain Quotidien, for its dedicated vegan options.
She is now urging Wharfers to pick up the baton and scrutinise the types of food they eat.
In the pipeline for 2014 are a series of e-books and eating plans to help east Londoners on their way.
"I propose people give themselves one day a week vegan, just to give their bodies a break and discover new foods," said Carli.
"A lot of us repeat the same foods all of the time and this gives the opportunity to try new things and taste what other foods are around.
"You are detoxing your system and you're eating clean food that goes through the system so easily.
"It's a much more natural way of eating and if you take the time to think about what you are eating, you do start to question it."
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