I’d been vegetarian since I moved away from home for university in 2008.
Since then I had several failed attempts at going vegan until the Veganuary campaign 2014. It basically worked the same way for me as when I became vegetarian: commit for one month and see where it gets you. After being vegetarian for a while, I learned that the logic was flawed and if I really wanted to follow the principles I believed in, namely that animals should not have to suffer for my food, I would have to become vegan.
Despite occasional slip-ups, I soon discovered that being vegan wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be. However, I was also lucky enough that my boyfriend chose to follow me shortly after. We agreed to only cook vegan at home, but when we went out he would occasionally have vegetarian food, which was ok with me. After a few months he decided to go fully vegan. This has made life at home and traveling easier, as we share the same experience missing certain foods and finding vegan options.
Outside of home I didn’t have much contact with other vegans apart from the Vegetarian and Vegan society members at University of York. Friends and co-workers have been quite understanding and I never felt left out. However, I also rarely lecture people. Becoming vegan was my choice, and I know how hard it was for me and how often I failed. Instead I lead by example and am open to answer questions and provide information if people are interested enough to ask. My family accepted it quite well too, and were only a little concerned about food at events but I told them that it would not be a problem and I can always provide food to complement the table. Even my boss was very helpful during work dinners and always made sure that the restaurant would serve me something. I was surprised to learn how accommodating many restaurants in York are for vegans.
Taking care with good nutrition is also important to me, especially when I found out I was pregnant. We immediately went to buy books on vegan nutrition during pregnancy and for infants. We want our child to grow up vegan if possible and are informed to do it right. I was positively surprised that neither my GP nor my midwife were in any way concerned about my diet.
All in all, I had a surprisingly good and easy experience, which I think is due to veganism being on the rise and more people being aware. The UK seems to be good for vegans and vegetarians with respect to the labelling of food and beauty products, but I am not sure how it will be when I’m visiting Germany.