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.
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