I AM A VEGAN! I want to shout it so that everyone knows how happy it makes me feel!
Two months ago I was a contented ‘vegetarian who eats fish occasionally.’ I drank my healthy milk and ate my wholesome ‘free range only’ eggs. I loved all animals and all was good.
Then the strangest of things happened to alter my 48 years of blissful ignorance.
A video by Edgar’s Mission showing two bobby calves going to their deaths in a slaughterhouse; baby boys, days old who were worthless to the dairy industry, whose mothers were there to provide me with my daily pint. How the hell could I have not known this was happening? I made the decision right then to stop using dairy products – how hard was this going to be? True, I lived on cheese – a cheesaholic – and I loved my lattes and cappuccinos but now it was at a price I couldn’t live with. So I drank my coffee black, bought a few dairy free chocolates and mince pies for myself for Christmas, I refused the cheeseboards …. and I survived.
Fate had it in for me a second time – ‘Veganuary’ popped up on my Facebook. Try vegan for a month – give up eggs too?? Yes, I could do that. It’s only 31 days after all. So I signed up and got caught up in the amazing experience that is Veganuary.
Becoming a vegan before Veganuary would have seemed an insurmountable task to me, so impossibly hard that I’m sure I would have fallen at the first hurdle, if I’d even had the guts to start the race. With Veganuary I had access to a fantastic website, with all the information I needed on getting a balanced diet. It made me realise that so much everyday food is vegan. It told me I wasn’t going to have to starve or worse still live on lentils for life!
When I was added to the Veganuary group on Facebook. it was joyous! New vegans like me, asking all the questions I needed to know the answers to; old vegans, kind and sagelike with their knowledge and advice. And the FOOD! So many pictures of wonderful meals that my fellow Veganuarites were concocting from plant sources alone. I was salivating persistently during January because there was so much lovely food constantly on show!
I know I started with several advantages. Being a ‘semi’ vegetarian, I was used to making meals using Quorn, I just needed to find the vegan alternatives. I’m also the sole chef in house so I have free range with shopping and cooking. Thirdly, (and I’m sure my meat-eating friends laugh at this) I am not a fussy eater. I just about like the taste of everything! And lastly, and probably most importantly, I have a lovely husband, who has been so supportive, and eaten all the vegan meals I’ve put in front of him without one word of complaint.
Less than I half way in, I realised that this was it. There was no going back – learned too much, seen too much. VEGAN FOR LIFE.
Yes, I’m shouting with happiness, but I’m also a tiny bit scared. And this is where the next part of my vegan journey begins. With the help of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau‘s The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, I hope to overcome my fears – fears of making the wrong food choices, of eating out in non-vegan establishments, of facing the inevitable confrontation and negativity that all vegans have to deal with at some point and having the confidence to deal with it with my newly acquired knowledge.
So this new vegan says, roll on the next 30 days!