One Year Of Being Vegan

Wednesday, 31 August 2016


I've been vegan for bang on a year now and I have to say it's one of the best decisions I've made in my life. I remember the conversation Gareth and I had about transitioning and it was all his idea, I was a little apprehensive (can you believe that) and it was him that gave me the push to be a fully fledged vegan. This post isn't going to be preachy at all, I'm keeping it all positive and just talking honestly about my experience and how I feel and what not. 

The Idea of Being Vegan _____________________________________________________________


Before becoming vegan I was a vegetarian for 10 years, I decided as an 11 year old that I wasn't going to eat meat ever again. It just clicked one day and that was that, with a little help from my role model at the time Mr Stephen Patrick Morrissey and his music video to 'Meat is Murder' one of the most anti abattoir songs out there, I began to cut meat slowly out of my diet. I did it sensibly and slowly, I would eat meat on just Mondays and Fridays for my body to adjust to the change and then after a month of that I cut it out completely. It didn't occur to me to go vegan until 10 years later and this is because of two things; My own ignorance and the lack of motivation to explore other options and secondly, the stigma that surrounds veganism and all the pseudo science and ridiculous rumours about it being linked to eating disorders and vegans being bland, lifeless individuals with no energy that die early (yes this is actually what I read on one website when I was a kid). It scared me away and I stayed in my little veggie world for a long time, until Gareth began researching into veganism and both me and him decided to give it a go. Hats of to him aswell because he went straight from meat to vegan in a space of something ridiculous like 3 days! I wouldn't recommend that by the way, he's just a superman! When I transitioned to being a vegan I didn't think it was going to be much different to being veggie but I soon realised that there's a big difference. I was used to people asking me why I didn't eat meat, what I wasn't used to was people questioning my very beliefs and integrity. If I did have to tell someone I was vegan I was always hesitantly waiting for the influx of ignorant questions and sheer defensive disbelief from some. Others were obviously much more accepting but a lot of the time a conversation would un-ravel as follows: (This is my dramatic, slightly over exaggerated version of true events)

Person: Do you want a piece of cake?
Me: No thank you sorry 
Person: Why you saying sorry?
Me: Oh, cause I would I just can't 
Person: Why can't you?
Me: Oh, because I'm a vegan 
Person: Ah right so you don't eat meat?
Me: Or eggs or dairy 
Person: What do you eat then? 
Me: A lot of things erm, too many to list really
Person: Do you eat fish?
Me: Erm, no they're an ani-
Person: Cause one of my friends Linda doesn't eat meat and that but she eats fish 
Me: (Linda's a fucking hypocrite) Oh right well no I don't eat fish 
Person: Can you eat chocolate?
Me: No, well I can eat some dark chocolate but-
Person: Oh god no couldn't do that me I love chocolate and bacon too much HAHAHAHA!
Me: heh heh 
Person: Why did you go vegan then?
Me: Oh erm it's quite a personal belief really but (states personal belief that is dear to my heart)
Person: Yeah but they would be eaten anyway wouldn't they? And anyway there's loads of research to say that plants feel pain! Just go home and have a bacon sandwich lass
Me: (Rolls eyes and continues to eat non-carbonated, delicious chickpea wrap...)

Now I'm not having a go, well maybe I am actually but this is what a lot of conversations end like when I'm trying to talk about my lifestyle/eating habits and it's so annoying. That's why I tend not to tell people anymore unless I have to, just to make things easier. Now don't get me wrong some people are very open to the idea and I've actually influenced a few people to cut down on their meat and dairy intake which is great (in the words of Tesco every little helps). But when I became vegan I did not think for a second I would be negatively viewed by others, I've now realised that it is not my problem it's theirs. If a meat eater gets defensive and childish about veganism it's because they feel uncomfortable about their own ethics and decisions so don't allow yourself to be undermined by them because you already own the moral high ground between the two of you already. This is only to the meat eaters that are argumentative or aggressive towards me, most of them are nice and say nice things please remember that, but when the negative experiences start to add up, it makes you think. This is why you must do your research, backing your points up with facts is the best thing to do because then you actually have answers to their thousands of questions and you can still keep your integrity. 


Tips for New Vegans _________________________________________________________________

           
Changing your eating habits is hard, but changing your whole lifestyle is even harder. Here are some little tips I have for any new-bees that are trying to figure it out. 

Take your time - Do lots of research and as I've said before if you are still eating meat and dairy remember to begin slowly. You might not want to eat it but your body still will and you can't blame it for that it's been eating it for years, take your time and if you feel like you can't right now that's okay try again another time when you feel stronger. Be kind to yourself. 

Supplement if you need to - I personally don't take any supplements because I was already a veggie but if you feel more tired than usual or start to feel ill, go to your doctors and talk about which supplements to take. They should be positive about your new lifestyle but if they are not don't let them put you off, health specialists are not properly educated in diet and some of the food groups that they tell you to eat as a child can do more harm than good. 

It's Okay to Make Mistakes - Veganism is a learning experience and if you accidentally do eat some meat or dairy in something don't beat yourself up about it. You will find that there are surprise meat/dairy ingredients in a lot of things that will sneak up on you. You will find yourself shouting in the kitchen IN WHAT WAY DOES MILK IMPROVE THIS WHY IS THERE MILK IN THIS! Trust me. 

Don't Buy Tesco's Own Soya Hard Cheese - Just don't do it okay, it tastes like vomit. Think of the worst thing you've ever eaten and times that by ten! And it's something ridiculous like £2.50 no thank you. 

Keep Your Head Up and Do Your Research - I can't press this enough, you will be questioned and talked down to, it's just the way of the in-group out-group world and I'm sorry to say that at the moment we are the out-group. Make sure you do your research from reliable sources, watch documentaries, read books, memorise facts ready for the influx of questions to come. 

Enjoy Being Guilt Free - The best part of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle is feeling the guilt and the ignorance sliding off your shoulders. You will begin to listen to your body and you might be lucky enough to feel a spiritual connection to the earth or something like that, if you're into that hippy shit. Have fun being able to sleep at night knowing you're making a difference on a daily basis Yeyyy!


How I Feel _________________________________________________________________________

I didn't think I would feel such a drastic change not just in my body, but in my brain but I do. When I wake up in the morning I feel like I have so much more energy, I feel less sluggish and just generally in a much more positive mood. I used to be a terrible morning person and now I'm not too bad, don't get me wrong I'm still a night owl, but I can say now that I am a relatively okay morning pigeon. During the day if I eat properly I don't feel a lack of energy that I used to. It would get to around two in the afternoon and I would feel this wave of tiredness come over me and I wouldn't be able to concentrate on anything. I did lose weight when in my first few months of transitioning which I didn't really want (I didn't do it for that at all) but I soon gained it back and I have now been the same weight for six months or so which is great because I used to fluctuate so much. My brain feels much better from the change, yes I do still get crippling anxiety from time to time, but now I know about my relationship between food and my brain, I know what to give it to make it a little better. I don't believe you can cure your anxiety by going vegan, not by a long shot, but if you do it properly it can help a lot. 

Being vegan has really made me look into the relationship between your thought processes and the food you eat. I now realise why some people are going gluten free, I wouldn't myself because I don't need to but after researching,in times of bad anxiety I do cut out bread and sugar completely which really helps. Veganism has really allowed me to listen to my body and not just my brain, if my brain is craving something fatty and carby but my body needs nutrients and protein, I will for sure listen to my body because I know that I will feel better for it. It's about finding the balance really, I didn't become vegan because of health but doing it has really allowed me to look into my health and improve it and I'm very thankful for that. 

What I've learned from this is it's not just some fad diet that people shrink it down to because you know Beyonce and all the other celebs are doing it now. It's a lifestyle that takes hard work and an open mind but it really does make your soul shine and I am never going back, I love being vegan and I love all the positive benefits that come with it. I said this post wasn't going to be preachy but why not? Why shouldn't I preach about this lifestyle that I think everyone should just try because it doesn't just improve your life, it looks into the bigger picture, the future and from what I've read and experienced veganism is going to be a pretty prominent part of it. Join us, why not?

I would love to know if you are a meat or dairy eater and are thinking about transitioning? Also if you are a vegan please share your experiences I would love to read them. 

 
 

4 comments

  1. thanks for sharing your experiences on being vegan! I have never been vegan or vegetarian but it sounds like it has some wonderful things about it!

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    1. It really does I would urge you to try it!

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  2. It's so great to read how becoming vegan has changed your perspective for the better! Lovely post, I really enjoyed reading!

    Anika | anikamay.co.uk

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