Published by Chic Vegan - 27/08/14
I have been vegan now for over three years. It was nearly an overnight process and I have never once looked back.
No exaggeration – I went from eating rare steak one day to being disgusted by it the next. Vegan followed vegetarian after a mere few months.
I like to say “the switch flipped”. I’ve heard many vegans and vegetarians talk about a similar moment. Suddenly you just feel like your blinders are ripped off, your switch is flipped and you cannot look at the world the same way.
You are awake. Lame I know, but that’s just how it feels.
But, I don’t really want to talk about how I BECAME vegan, what I want to talk about is living as a vegan. Day-to-day life, the moments, happenings and realities of shirking animal products from your diet.
Do you suddenly become some kind of alien? Does your life flip upside-down? Are restaurants a thing of the past and you are destined to live as a social outcast for the rest of your days?
In case you can’t see where I’m going with this – NO. That is absolutely not the case.
In my (limited) experience lots of people opt out of going vegan out of some fear their life is going to change and become more complicated. I hear a lot of “I couldn’t live without cheese” or “I couldn’t afford to be vegan” or “I wouldn’t know what to cook” or, my favorite: “I just can’t be bothered.”
I once felt all of these things…. the idea of going vegan seemed like an epic mountain to climb and nearly impossible to imagine. What I want to write today is an honest, if slightly gushing, “ode to veganism” about how much it has changed my life for the better. I want to talk about how my life is so much richer because of this choice I made and how, it’s actually insanely easy. Don’t opt out…. don’t opt out of the greatest pleasure you will ever take on.
I am Voting
The main thing I notice about my life now – is that I stand for something. Even just by waking up in the morning and going to bed in the evening. Every day COUNTS, every day is a protest, a vote, a stance for something I really, truly believe in and I think nearly everyone does on some level. Living my life as a vegan means that just by getting up, walking around and eating food, doing what everyone does every day, I am making these actions count for something. I am buying bananas instead of chicken thighs, cabbage instead of rib eye, parsnips instead of sausages and with each of these “votes” – I am sending a message that I want money filtered into the creation of organic fresh fruits and vegetables and not dead animals. I know it’s airy-fairy to think that one person makes a difference, but I think we all do in some way. But more on that later
I am Healthy
It’s amazing and rewarding that I get to be living proof human beings don’t need animal products. I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing vegans brag about how great they feel – but I just have to do it quickly. Since giving up meat and dairy, I feel truly like the best version of myself. All the energy that my body was using to break-down and digest animal flesh, is now just being used to LIVE. I wake up in the morning and (most days!) I want to just get up out of bed, I enjoy every mouthful of food I eat, I rarely get tired, I never get sick, I have an abundance of energy… and if you think I’m exaggerating or bragging, just ask anyone who knows me in real life. I genuinely feel happy and healthy all of the time. Of course, we all have low days, but they are incredibly rare and usually with just cause. Obviously – veganism isn’t a magical cure for everything – but it’s pretty damn close!
I Love Eating and Have a Good Relationship with Food
I didn’t used to love and trust food the way I do now. I don’t mind admitting that. From growing up chubby and not really understanding how to eat and be healthy – it’s insane to me that I now can eat whatever I want, as much of it as I want and not fear any serious weight gain. I love eating healthy food, I love creating vegan feasts, I love playing with my diet and experimenting. I love trying raw food diets, I love eating until I feel completely full and satisfied! You really can’t eat cheese until you’re full and satisfied without worrying about the insane amount of calories and fat you’ve eaten, right?! But you genuinely can do that with whole vegan foods and you’re only putting more and more goodness into your beautiful body. It’s the most wonderful, amazing and logical win-win scenario ever.
I See the World Differently - with No blinders
This point is a little controversial… but hey, isn’t everything these days? Basically – since going vegan I feel like I am walking around looking at everything completely differently and I like that. I can’t look at a fridge full of flavored milks before wondering how people don’t think more about how much milk there is in the world. I watch children drinking hot chocolates with marshmallows and I think about what they are really eating and putting into their bodies…. I hear people talking in every day conversations and saying things that are so contradictory and hypocritical. I work in my hospitality job and see the wastage of food and I can’t be casual about it….
It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s the burden of knowledge. But I’d certainly rather know than turn a blind eye.
I Am Doing the Best I Can
Being vegan isn’t about being perfect. This is a very common misconception about veganism. Being vegan is about doing the LEAST amount of harm possible. Not killing unnecessarily. Not causing unnecessary pain. Valuing life. Doing the absolute best you can in a world that is not doing too well. In this modern time, it’s nearly impossible to lead a fully ethical life and not hurt any living creatures – but veganism cuts out SO MUCH of it. Of course we know that basic farming hurts animals, I know that housemates are going to kill spiders, I know that every cup of coffee I drink maybe has some trail to something unethical, I know that my life isn’t perfect. I’m not trying to be perfect, I’m trying to do the best I can and that is a good feeling.
And – it’s NOT HARD. It’s not hard to say “hold the cheese”, it’s not hard to eat delicious potatoes and hummus and fruits and things, it’s not hard to Google “vegan chocolate cake recipe” and put in some oil instead of eggs. These things are NOT hard. It’s easy. It’s an easy, effortless way to make an enormous difference and that is a bloody good feeling.
I am Learning, Growing and Challenging Myself Every Day
One of the best things that can ever happen to you – is finding out something you believed in, or something you thought was true – absolutely isn’t. Having your beliefs challenged, tested and losing faith or keeping it. The day I realized I had been wrong my entire life about eating meat, that it’s actually not okay and I didn’t understand anything about the way it came to my plate, was an incredible and powerful day. I had to sit down and figure out who I was and what I believed in. I never thought there was anything wrong with eating meat. I thought cows were made to be milked. I thought eggs were healthy and chickens just laid them for us to eat. Having these beliefs blown out of the water is a powerful thing and empowers you to question everything.
This goes for veganism as well. I question my veganism nearly every single day. I believe in it so strongly that, having already had everything I believe in debunked, I know to question this too. Mainly because veganism is still in SUCH a minority and I can’t understand why. I don’t want to live in a bubble and I never want to be ignorant, so I continue to research and I continue to question. I want to be informed. And every time I question, every time I do some research or every time I watch a video of an “ex-vegan” – I come back to the same conclusions. I do my research, I think about how I feel, I think about animal products, I think about industries and I come back to the same beautiful, educated resolve: I am a vegan. This makes sense to me. This is the best thing I’ve ever done and I only ever question it when people tell me to.
I have stopped questioning veganism. I embrace it with all my heart because it has given me so much. It’s made me fit and healthy. It’s made me bright and positive. It’s given me compassion for animals that I really have never had. It’s made me think about the kind of person I want to be, the kind of children I want to raise and the kind of influence I want to have. It’s given me amazing health, new friends, new perspective (and new kitchen supplies!)
I owe a lot to veganism and only wish I’d been a vegan sooner. But then, of course, I wouldn’t have had this amazing journey.
A new Chic Vegan article that I really enjoyed writing! Always helps when you tell a real story, right?
You can read the full article by clicking HERE.
It was definitely a night to remember.
I am currently rehearsing with some fantastic people for a play in Manchester and the other night we solved all the worlds’ problems.
I’m serious. We are geniuses disguised as unemployed artists.
We had the most intellectual Religious debate I have ever heard. We discussed abortion, homosexuality, the end of the world, the existence of 3D printers that can actually print 3D printers! Yes, seriously.
We reduced all mankind down to basic instincts of sex, survival and…. well things are a bit murky around that point….
Because we may have all been severely intoxicated.
I never get intoxicated. And I mean NEVER. Even the fact that I say, “intoxicated” gives me away.
The odd glass of red wine when I go out for an Italian is lovely, but I can count the number of times I’ve been “smashed” on one hand.
Last night was a “smashed” night. The setting – a pub in Manchester; there were four of us left by the end and we were having far too much fun to even think about calling it a night.
After we made our zombie apocalypse plan (which involves a boat, by the way) we began yelling about how messed up the world is and how badly us humans have messed up.
Oh no, danger zone. When people talk passionately about how much trouble our planet is in and I’m watching them eat a Chicken McNugget, I have trouble keeping quiet.
Read the rest of the article here: http://chicvegan.com/wow-veganism-is-deep-s/
It’s true, I work in hospitality.
Don’t hate me.
I was a Barista before I was vegan, and it’s always been a job I really enjoyed and was good at. It also paid the rent while waiting for Steven Spielberg to call and beg me to star in his next film (apposite Ryan Gosling, of course).
I love coffee. Making it, drinking it, reading how bad it is for me. And happily admit that I’m a good Barista (I do the pretty patterns on top and everything). I work in an adorable café that quickly became all about the people – the crazy love lives of our regulars, discussing latest news stories and serving delicious food and coffee.
Then, I bloody went vegan, didn’t I? I had to go and ruin it. Suddenly my happy customers, delicious creamy coffee and banter over the counter, all looked very different. I saw the jug in my hands and realized I was a part of the problem. I saw a plate of bacon and eggs that Table 2 sent back because it “wasn’t hot enough” get chucked in the bin by my co-worker and her then start cooking it all over again. I suddenly felt overwhelmed and didn’t know how to marry my new vegan ethics with what I did for a living.
I can take the products off my plate, but does that matter when every day I’m serving them to others?
I hounded the ONE vegan cafe in my home city and they were never hiring (people just don’t quit those places, I guess). My brief vision of skipping over to a veggie café was dashed and I really wasn’t sure what I should do.
Then one day my boss randomly informed me that he’d decided to start buying a better brand of soy milk for the café instead of the cheap one we was currently using, purely because I was now drinking it. I gazed at him; so happy I could have burst and just like that, with his simple gesture, I saw how I can make this a good thing. Without even trying, the café was going to better provide for soy drinkers and buy an organic brand. Wow, if I applied myself – what else could I achieve?
When life gives you lemons, right?
If there have to be Baristas and cafés and restaurants (we know they’re not all going to disappear any time soon) perhaps having vegans working in these places is a sneaky victory? A vegan who will be careful and thoughtful about things that most people never even consider in an industry that is disgracefully wasteful?
Okay, time for an example! The café instructs us to take a pot of milk alongside every cup of tea and coffee, even if the beverage should be black. So, a lot of the time when clearing a table – you see a full jug of (now old) milk waiting to go straight down the drain.
Can you say: “waste?!”
Any staff member will throw these products away without a second thought – whereas I go out of my way to avoid such devastating wastage. I deliver black coffees and teas as they are and if a customer then asks for milk, I fetch them a small jug. Automatically: no waste. I love when they say: “can I have my milk, please?” and I just want to say, “well, it’s not YOUR milk, now, is it?” with a big, old smile.
While on shift, I see staff make themselves coffee after coffee even if they are running around and don’t have time to drink it. Lots of “staff drinks” go to waste because they do not see milk any differently to Coke or juice or water; it’s just a free beverage for them to consume. And sadly, most Baristas will stand behind their coffee machine for hours, practicing latte art, making cup after cup of milky coffee and pouring it all down the drain. I’m serious.
This simply doesn’t happen when your Barista is a vegan.
And I promise: my coffees still taste great and look pretty.
One thing I’m happy to observe and report back is how often regular customers adjust their coffee order because: “the milk’s not sitting well with me”, or something along those lines. I smile enthusiastically and try to keep the conversation rolling – I tell them that I stopped drinking milk years ago and feel great, would they like to try a black coffee today? Or even try a dash of soy or almond milk in it? They always respond well and I love being able to give some real advice that can be implemented immediately. (Then I have the pleasure of regular health updates, which is hilarious!)
Ingrid Bergman famously said that she doesn’t believe vegans should all stick together. Vegans can andshould work with non-vegans, date non-vegans, and socialize with everyone! Why keep our amazing selves and ideas in a cosy vegan club? We can share little bits of wisdom with everyone. It would be incredible to know more vegans and work with them, but I also see the benefit of being the only vegan in a very meat-centric work place. I meet SO many people being in hospitality and many of them, whether they’re a co-worker or a random customer, say they now think a little bit more about where meat is coming from. Some have gone vegetarian, a few even vegan!
And I know that couldn’t have happened if I’d quit my lovely, happy café working with people I love to go and work in the vegan place.
They don’t need my Barista vegan powers – they’re all vegan already!
I’ll save going in there for my days off.
Published for Chic Vegan 24/4
My second article for Chic Vegan! I really enjoyed writing this one and I hope you all enjoy. The full article is available here.
I have a problem; one that I planned to leave back in high school.
I really, really want to be liked. By everyone and anyone! My friends, colleagues, even total strangers. I’m so scared of judgement that I have two “Home” playlists on my IPod: one for just me and one for when someone is over. Yep, it’s bad.
I am so eager to please that it’s a personality fault. If someone gives me a chair that is uncomfortable, I will not say anything. If someone wants a favour and it clashes with my best friend’s birthday, I will actually feel bad about refusing.
Where this all stems from I do not know, but for someone who spends her life trying to keep everyone happy, going vegan was an interesting choice.
All of a sudden, friends thought I was judging them. All of a sudden I was a dinner guest with “special requirements”. I was the freak at work who refused Jenny’s homemade cookies because “I don’t eat dairy” and didn’t take a slice of Sarah’s birthday cake. I suddenly had to defend myself to those around me and when my spluttering explanation was met with anything other than smiles and rainbows, I felt my easy, likeable universe crumbling.
For a die-hard people pleaser, awkward social situations are not ideal and I needed to find effective ways to navigate them ASAP. After all, veganism should bring joy and positivity into our lives, not awkwardness and resentment, right?
Rest of the article continued here..... :)
It's been a big week for my little blog! I'm kind of bursting with joy right about now.
I am proud to announce that I will be doing some articles for one of my favourite websites chicvegan.com. Here is a sample of my first article: Why Do New Vegans Fail? I wanted to make sure I could share it with all of you, in case you don't subscribe to Chic Vegan. I hope you'll enjoy :)
In the last few weeks, something incredible has happened. I've actually started getting blog requests from people reading, which is quite thrilling. So if there's anything you'd like my opinion on or want me to attempt to verbalise, let me know.
Why Do New Vegans Fail?
By Hannah Ellis
"What is the hardest part of being vegan?
Missing cheese? Really wanting those leather shoes? Not being able to chow down on a greasy hotdog?
The easy answer to all those questions is: absolutely not. (And “yuck!”).
For me, it’s when I meet someone who used to be a vegan, but isn’t anymore. “What? Why?” I try not to splutter at them too harshly, remembering that I’m in public and (hopefully) not insane. I really want to understand. I want to understand how someone can take this compassionate leap and then, for whatever reason, go back to eating animal products.
The main reason I hear over and over again involves claims of feeling weak, tired or unsatisfied. Okay, let’s unpack this! My first thoughts are “what were you eating?” and “were you eating ENOUGH?” A vegan diet can be unhealthy, just as a carnivore diet can be unhealthy, which is why it’s so important to be putting good things in. Also, because fruits and vegetables are lower in calories, you need to eat a lot more of them to feel satisfied, which can be daunting for some.
There are enough people in the world (including star athletes, body-builders, and a certain former President!) who are walking, talking, thriving examples that a plant-based diet works. Thousands of people have cured life-long ailments and diseases cutting meat and diary from their plates and are now living healthy, happy and spunky lives! To be a glowing vegan success story, you can’t live on pasta, bread and chips. Make sure you’ve researched how to eat a balanced diet and you won’t run into problems (I highly recommend “Skinny Bitch” by Rory Freedmen and Kim Barnouin.) Also depending on how unhealthy you were before and how healthy you’re eating now, you may experience detox symptoms, which can be unpleasant, but are a good thing and will pass.
To be honest – I don’t believe this is the reason why people fall off the wagon. All you need to do is type “vegan” into Google and there is a wealth of brilliant books, websites and research about how to go vegan properly. So, assuming your motivation is in place and your health is not suffering, what accounts for a new vegan deciding to bow out?"
Full article continued here....
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