Growing up in a ‘meat and three veg’ household, I shocked my parents at the age of eleven by having a Lisa Simpson-style epiphany about animals, announcing I was giving up meat.
I maintained a vegetarian lifestyle for about a year, before I tired of being the odd one out and went back to meat. Years later, as an adult living on my own, I made the decision to stop eating meat again in an effort to gain more control over my diet and health. I maintained a meat-free diet for years before going vegan.
I decided to participate in Veganuary as a result of reading upsetting information about the egg and dairy industries. At first I was convinced that I’d be eating nothing but bread and houmous for a month, and would be back on the cheese by February. Nonetheless, I decided to give the challenge a try, giving myself the option to go back to eggs and dairy if I was miserable. My husband was very supportive of my decision, having recently given up meat himself, but expressed concern about finding enough options to eat!
After undertaking some research, we both found eating vegan to be much easier than we’d first thought, and gained a renewed interest in food and cooking. By mid-January, we were living a vegan lifestyle, feeling lighter on our feet, less bloated and generally healthier. The more we read about the egg and dairy industries, the more we were convinced we had made the right decision, and couldn’t imagine going back to consuming these products.
We’ve had some odd comments from people about our diet – the old question of where we get our protein from is common, and my husband still gets asked if he misses meat. For us, the concept of missing non-vegan products is irrelevant, because we do not miss being a part of an unsustainable and cruel industry that contradicts our values and beliefs. Occasionally I get cravings for cake, or a cheese sandwich, but there are so many vegan substitutes available, that it would be silly to take a step backwards. Despite the few negative comments, we’ve found our family and friends to be wonderfully supportive and understanding of our lifestyle. The main concerns of our family have not been in regards to our health, but rather what they can cook for us!
Living in Glasgow, we are spoiled for choice with vegan and vegetarian pubs and restaurants, and even many chain restaurants have a vegan option nowadays. Going vegan was something I never considered until last year, having always assumed that it would be too limiting. I can now honestly say that I do not feel limited by my veganism; in fact, I often feel overwhelmed by the vast possibilities and eat a more varied and healthy diet than I did as a vegetarian!