As any of you who have been following me on Instagram will know, I’m currently on holiday in Bali. It’s a trip which I feel very fortunate to be able to make as modern life seems somehow tougher for everyone these days. I want to start this post by saying how fortunate I feel I am to have done an amazing BBC cookery series and have a first cook book to my name – just to get that in before I talk about the tougher stuff!

Leading up to this break, my mind was working overtime and I needed to get away from everything. I don’t deal with stress very well (I don’t think many do) and my anxiety was going into overdrive. I had a lot going on and if I’m honest I though my mind was going to POP. It got so bad I had to pull over in my van as I was losing the plot; tears, the works, with Lemmy (my dog) looking at me daft, sat in the seat next to me. The littlest of things were getting to me and I was snapping at people who are close to me. My fiancé and my parents could see it in me too.

The Heavy Stuff

My problem is that I find it very hard to switch off and I always have to do something. I constantly have ants in my pants and I very rarely rest. This is because if I have too much time on my hands I start overthinking things, and believe me that’s dangerous in my mind so I find if I keep myself busy, I haven’t got time to think. I am my own worst enemy if I’m honest.

Not everyone will know my story, but I have suffered from depression, and I came off my Sertraline antidepressant medication just over six months ago. I went cold turkey (something that you shouldn’t do apparently, but you know I never follow the rules!) and all of a sudden I had a lot of energy again. That medication helped me over a year ago when I went to a dark place, but I found the tablets were no longer helping me but they were actually doing the opposite. I was always tired and finding it hard to get out of bed, and more importantly it was putting me off training, which is the one thing that puts me into that happy zone.

When I get home I start seeing my new CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) therapist in the hope she can change my attitude to how I look at and approach things. I’m really looking forward to working with her.

Drop the Pressure

Anyway all that built-up pressure eased straight away as I left Heathrow airport, and I could feel the weight come off my shoulders. I landed in Bali, felt the heat and the sun on my face and I was in my happy place.

I’ve been eating the best food, chilling with my fiancé and hanging around with the most humble of people who forever greet you with a smile. Some of them have fuck-all yet are still smiling, and that says a lot to me. I sat with a local called Adi on the beach one evening, and I spoke to him about island life and what happened during the earthquake and how they survived the aftermath. It got heavy, and he literally drove me to tears.

Waking up every morning and getting back into my training regime has done heaps for my mental health. Running as the sun rises on beaches with my endorphins kicking off whilst watching the locals waking up and starting their days and getting back to a healthy brekkie puts a huge smile on my face. Doing yoga (something I started doing at home) followed by an hour’s massage is another plus point and a great way of switching off. Then there’s watching the sunset in the evening with a beer, swimming in the sea while looking at the colourful fish life going on beneath me – just magic. I actually swam from Gili Meno island and on to Gili Terawgan with the help of my new local friend who has a boat Alqui Boy. I’m very glad he was with me as I would have ended up in the Indian Ocean due to the current (laughter).

Plant-Based Heaven

This place has an endless choice of plant-based restaurants and cafes and I want to visit them all, but I have a funny feeling that I may have to live here for a year to fit them all in. Not a bad idea! I really hope we eventually get to this point back home in the UK, being able to walk down the street and choose from multiple independent plant-based restaurants. I can’t wait for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a daily basis and to pick up the menu and get a great choice of food. If the human body could eat 24/7 all I’d do is eat over here. If anyone’s planning a holiday I highly recommend this place, especially if you’re vegan. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

So what have I learnt whilst being here?? A lot, put it that way. They are big on organic fruit and veg, and believe me you can taste the difference. They use bamboo for straws and they’re big on recycling plastics – I’ve seen many a wall built with disused bottles. The country really supports their people and businesses too, though the money has too many zeros! The place is steeped in culture and tradition and the people work so hard and have a built in self-sufficiency that I think we could really learn from. Though they need to start wearing helmets on their mopeds! The coconut tree is the rock’n’roll of the plant world here for its many uses. From the fibre to the bark to the husk and of course the coconut flesh and milk, not one bit is wasted!

The Brutal Deca & a Few Life Changes

I came here to rest my mind and that’s what I’ve done. It seems life is so hectic for everyone, it’s only when those daily pressures are removed if and when you get a holiday that you can get a bit of perspective on what is right and wrong in your life. I came here to start my training and I’ve done that too. I have my biggest challenge to date coming up at the end of July called the Brutal Continuous Deca which consists of a 24 mile swim, 1120 mile bike ride and ending with a 262 mile run, all to be finished within 350 hours. I’ve not done nearly enough training for it, but it feels good to know I’ve started and I look forward to continuing when I get home.

On that note, when I get home I have a few things I’m going to change. Since the book and TV show have come out I’ve had a lot of anti-vegan trolls so I’ve cut back a fair bit apart from on Instagram. I’ve stopped posting on my personal page just to give myself a break from it, so if anyone is wondering why I haven’t posted then that’s the reason, but you can see what I’m up to via the @dirtyvegantv page. Reading endless hate because I’ve chosen a plant-based lifestyle (without preaching but educating) isn’t good for my mental health. No one should have to read such stuff. On the plus side, I’ve had some very positive messages too for which I thank those of you for writing – I try my best to reply to most but apologies if not. On the whole it’s been wonderful to see how many people are looking at shifting their diet more towards being plant-based; it really does feel like we are at the beginning of an incredible change.

Anyway, enough of the negative. For me finding happiness is simple; it’s exercise morning and night, doing yoga, surrounding yourself with people you love and trust, oh and eating a healthy plant-based diet.

I have a lot of work to do when I get back, and my year’s looking very busy. I can’t wait to see some of you at the events I’m attending (check out our events page for details) and I look forward to announcing what we have coming up. I’m now surrounded by a great team of people looking after all things Dirty Vegan and there is a huge amount in the pipeline. Let me end by saying 2019 is the year of the DIRTY VEGAN………lets ‘ave it.

I can’t wait to see Lemmy!

Peas and Broccoli
Matt

Join the discussion 34 Comments

  • Kim says:

    Truly inspiring, glad to read your in a good place. Much love

    • Trystan says:

      Love it! You’ve made a great impact.
      Your show appeals to vegans and non vegans alike and that’s not an easy thing to do.

      You make it feel… accessible. That word doesnt do enough justice for what that means. My non vegan family has enjoyed watching dirty vegan add much as I did knowing they were watching. 😊

    • Jeanette says:

      Absolutely brilliant read

      Love your honesty
      Paul and I are loving your recipes
      Can’t wait for your next book!
      Sod the bloody trolls
      They are all so brave behind a keyboard

      Freedom of choice is paramount
      If plant based life is what we choose then that’s no one else’s bloomin business
      Life’s to short, go enjoy it!

    • Ashley says:

      Matt. Total respect buddy. You may not think it, but you are inspirational and a great example how ones life CAN be turned around. Keep doing what you do and hopefully the trolls will move on to someone else (or even just stop.)

      Peas & carrots

      Ash.

      #SWYDtriclub

  • Christopher lovelock says:

    Sorry to hear you’ve been trolled by anti vegans, you’ve inspired me immensely, I now have been one month a vegan due to your influence (TV show and book) keep up the good work!

  • Lucy says:

    Wow Matt what a heartfelt and sincere piece. I’m glad to hear you are surrounded by love and finding that “happy medium”.

    I am a new convert to eating vegan food – two days a week to start and hopefully I’ll have the courage to go full time.

    Sod the trolls – they’re nothing but keyboard warriors with no life. And not needed in any decent human beings timeline. So block away!

    Enjoy Bali and all it brings for you and best of luck for your busy upcoming year.

    All the best

    Lucy (MrsP1974)

  • Lee Rees says:

    Stay positive Mathew , your a massive inspiration to me and I admire you . I done a 18 miler on Sunday and when I fucking struggled at the last 6 miles I just thought about Wildman to Ironman and it pushed me through the pain . Hopefully your still doing The Newport Marathon as it would be fantastic to see you . Good luck and stay strong and positive 💪💪💪💪

  • Jan says:

    I think your great ! Your the first vegan to be on telly and show how you can eat plant based and be healthy without the cruelty. There will always be trolls there angry carnivores who really know they are in the wrong. I’m 63 bin vegan 17 years and veggie from the age of 10. I don’t give a stuff about trolls but I do care about educating people.
    Keep on with what you are doing. The time is RIGHT. It’s never been better to educate people. People are listening. Enjoy your hols. You’ll soon be back to the wind and rain. Take care now Jan.

    • Lee says:

      You truly are an inspiration Mathew. I’ve followed you since the Sanchez years and all i can say is i love the work you are doing. Keep it up and good luck with everything.

  • Louise James says:

    Don’t you dare take any notice of the shallow minded carnivores who have no idea why we are vegan because they bury their heads in the sand. Be the better person and rise above it…for the animals 🐖🐄🐑🐟🦀🦐🐣🐐🐓🐾 for the planet🌏🌍🌎 and for future generations. You are amazing Matt and we’re are all with you! 🤜🏻 (Well, I wish I was with you…lucky sod! Enjoy the sun! ) x

  • Catherine Lloyd Evans says:

    If you’re getting trolled, you’re doing something right!
    Love love loved your series, it was bloody brilliant – those chocolate cupcakes are my daughter’s go-to cake recipe and every time someone eats one and their eyes widen in gobsmacked surprise (“Wait, these are VEGAN??”) you win a battle. She sold 24 of them at her school’s Good Causes Fair – and surprised a few more non-vegans in the process. Veganism couldn’t gain the traction it has if there weren’t the friendly, passionate, helpful cooks and chefs like you out there. Look after you first, and keep doing what you do!

  • Wilms says:

    What an eye opening and honest account of life and recent events and how this is/has been affecting you. You don’t need smoke blowing up your a#$e I’m sure but I, along with many, many others think you’re amazing and what you’re doing for the plant-based community is astounding. I wish you help, wealth and happiness or whatever takes you to the happiest places in this life. Do whatever you need to make yourself the best you you want to be and people will be waiting, open arms to grab a little heavenly slice of you, your frolic and your food when we can.

    Big love and hugs
    Xxxx

  • Tony Bishop-Weston says:

    CBT and other emotional supportive therapies will help but you’ll also need to replenish stores of omega 3 DHA and EPA used up by stress to be replenished

    • Gav Wood says:

      Keep on keeping on dude
      I agree 100% with exercise being in nature with people who love and you love (or alone) and a vegan lifestyle is the key to a happy life , nourish the soul and all that hippy bollocks.😉
      I’m a working class bloke and have had to deal with confused mockery at best to down right hostility for being vegan but it’s just them projecting their guilt, insecurities, and ignorance onto us

  • Llanrach says:

    You are doing all the right things to care for yourself, don’t forget the wealth of self help books out there. I think what you are doing is great. You can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time. All that matters is you and the people who you are close to. Take care and try to enjoy your rest. If mind starts ticking, mindfulness breathing

  • Sian says:

    Hi mat, thank you for your brave and sincere writing. Like you after taking up yoga in Cardiff, last November, I went cold turkey from sertraline. I cannot believe how much more energy I have. At the same time though I watched dirty vegan, bought the book and committed myself to plant based lifestyle, I’m amazed how I feel and only wish I had done it sooner. Your story and your aspirations along with your commitment to progress are inspiring, no doubt about that. I am sorry that you have suffered at the hands of others ignorance and that is simply what it is. Keep doing what you are doing for those who stand up there with you, pawb lwc for 2019

  • MalyP says:

    Mathew nice to see you are both enjoying the “Power of Now “and to see you are embracing a more position out look to your life, you are doing a great job with your cook book and TV series love it.
    You will alway have someone with a negative view no matter what you do, so keep up the good work and all the best from the Pitt crib on your next challage.
    Also love the photos you have take especially the food one which will give you some ideas for your next cook book.
    All the best from the Pitt’s

  • Ruth says:

    You’re doing fantastically and so many of us are firmly behind you and backing you all the way 💪🏻
    Lots of love to you and yours x

  • Bob Arthur says:

    Hey buddy, you stick with what you need to do. Would love to get together before or after ya Deca, we have a mutual close friend. I know the dark sides and the up sides as a bipolar bod, can relate to what you’re saying. Let the haters hate and live your life your way. Sending much love, Namaste.

  • Liz says:

    What a beautiful place and vegan heaven too. Would love to visit there when win Lottery may get lucky ha ha. Ref trolls ignore em. There’s loads of us and just few twisted pathetic beings whose whole life is taken up with trolling everyone on internet not just vegans. Look forward to more tv progs 2019. Enjoy your hols.

  • Whitey says:

    The delicious chocolate cupcake mix worked well for a mini ramp birthday cake for my 8 year old son and his friends.

    Thanks for being so honest and open. Your journey is helping and inspiring others.

    Big love, keep going.

  • Rebecca says:

    Matt I am so pleased that you have found some peace and respite from the madness that is social media, and the joy of staying in such a beautiful, natural place. I too have lived with depression and my yoga classes are my lifeline. Your recipe book has become a bible for me and has helped me on my journey to a plant based diet! I bought it after your appearance on Sunday Brunch and thanks to the wonders of Prime, it was there that afternoon. I can not thank you enough for inspiring me to live a better life. Peace and Peas x

  • Soo says:

    What a lovely blog and glad you’re having a refreshing and positive break. So sorry you’re getting all that negativity from people. Just know that lots of people love you and love what you’re doing. Take care!

  • Charlotte Batchelor says:

    You are an inspiration! I loved having a vegan cooking programme on mainstream TV. It astounds me that vegans are attacked for not wanting to hurt animals. F33k the haters you are amazing x

  • Fi Sharp says:

    What an amazing post. I’m trying my best to transition over to a plant based diet and I love your book 🙂 enjoy the rest of your time in Bali and well done for looking after you 💕

  • EverEmmaGreen says:

    Make sure you get to Moksa in Ubud and Shakey Shack in Canggu. Unmissable! Pay the trolls no mind. You have a higher calling, and you can’t expect the carnists to understand. Keep up the brilliant work!

  • Emma says:

    Make sure you get to Moksa in Ubud and Shakey Shack in Canggu. Unmissable! Pay the trolls no mind. You have a higher calling, and you can’t expect the carnists to understand. Keep up the brilliant work! @everemmagreen

  • Nate says:

    Im sorry to hear this. I am a fan of yours and the dirty vegan and shes receiving trolling too. you seem like a good dude maybe work something out with her and people will be more welcoming just my opinin. think its time you drop this act if using dv bc it looks v weird and creepy on your part. Im a big fan so no hate from me just my opinin

  • Steve B says:

    Good news that you’re rebalancing everything buddy. Whilst I have not stepped into a Vegan diet, I decided to go meat free from January and your book has made it a real pleasure. Opened my eyes to some great new food, best cooking book I’ve had for a long time.

    Enjoy your break, hope you stumble across some drained pool ripe for a shred!

  • Luke says:

    Keep it up dude, you’re doing amazing. As they say ‘haters gonna hate’. It’s amazing how people react when they feel threatened by somebody who’s making a big change to people’s mindsets and attitudes towards diet.

  • Sam says:

    I bet this lifted that weight even more!

    My minds the same as yours I need to be doing something, I think it’s my egos way of saying this is what adds value to your life. I’m working hard to try and get my brain to slow down abit and say it’s ok to sit and watch tv some days.

    Yeah as someone said above if your getting trolled your doing something right. I liked the show and I’m glad someone’s doing something… sadly for me it wasn’t the best production, I was hoping for a more money endorsed series 2!

    Don’t stop filling the world with your helpful tips and advice, it will outweigh the bad. I am a member of so many vegan groups to which post endless videos of animal cruelty to scare people out of eating meat.. but nobodies quick enough to educate on the diet and that’s what it needs!

    From one welsh lass trying to make it in the world…giving up is harder than carrying on

  • Paul Hodgkinson says:

    A great read Matt. Trust me the amount of trolls is insignificant to the amount of people you have inspired to take on the plant based lifestyle.

    Thank you

    Paul

  • Karen Tucker says:

    We all need a break from life, I suffer from fibromyalgia, depression and anxiety issues and the only time I feel “free” is on holiday, and that is hard to say as my husband, children and parents are my world, but it’s the only time I can relax and feel as light as a feather, with no worries at all.
    I think how you have changed your life is so inspirational and the food you are cooking and eating is beneficial to your body and mind.
    Keep ding what you are doing Matt, so many people are so proud of you and I can’t wait to see you on tv more and more. ( balls to people like RW, still can’t say her name )

  • Philip says:

    Matt,

    Loved the blog. Glad to see you and the Mrs looking so happy and chilled. Bali is a magical place full of kind people. Seb made us go Veg for a week last month and i have to say we rather enjoyed a meat free week. Felt good for it.
    Catch up when you get back.

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