My first vegan year
The past year has been an eventful one. I’ve gained valuable knowledge that has made me think about my lifestyle and my position in the world.
I’ve enriched my life and feel great in both body and mind. I’ve met numerous wonderful people, many of who have become firm friends. I’ve developed more effective communication techniques. I’ve climbed a mountain!
I decided to do a 30-Day Pledge for World Vegan Month in November 2013. I had been vegetarian for many years, and being an animal lover and environmentally conscious, I realised this wasn’t enough. Animal cruelty is happening on a much larger scale than I imagined and I had to do more to help.
Goodbye cheese, hello everything else
I’ll be honest. My liking for cheese had always been a barrier for going vegan before. My transition period lasted about two months. It was Christmas time. I went to parties. Cheese was present.
Since then I haven’t looked back. I now know the full implications of the dairy industry and that there are so many delicious foods to eat without playing a part in that industry. This knowledge is much more important than the finest brie.
I’ve become increasingly aware of what I’m putting into my body and the effect it has. I’ve had fun experimenting with new ingredients such as chia and hemp seeds and listening to my body telling me what it needs, or doesn’t need.
One of the best parts of the last year has been the new people I’ve met. I’ve joined vegan meet-ups, climbed Snowdon with the Vegan Organic Network and chatted to people worldwide through All About Vegan Food’s package swap. Everyone has been incredibly lovely and supportive and my confidence has grown immensely.
What do you eat? Grass?
There are so many misconceptions about veganism. You must live on grass. You must live on lettuce. You must live on fresh air alone! I want people to see the huge variety of wonderful vegan meals and products available. I’ve discovered hundreds of new foods, recipes and cooking techniques. What can be more fun than spending time with friends and sharing your new favourite dish?
Everyone close to me has got involved too. My sister has been completely converted to vegan baking and my whole family have a worrying obsession with Lotus Biscoff Spread. Non-vegan friends delight in telling me about their last great vegan meal.
I still get negative remarks sometimes, but I’ve realised that it’s not always intended and I’m constantly learning the best ways to respond. Not everyone is going to go vegan. I just hope for them to be informed about where exactly their food comes from, how it comes to be there and what impact this has on animals and the world. Then they can make their own decisions, and the best way to do this is by giving it a go!