My vegan journey began on the 1st January 2014 when I decided to take part in Veganuary.
I was brought up eating meat and animal products until I made the decision to become vegetarian when I was around 13 years old. Until the end of 2013, being vegan was never something I had even considered. But once I started looking into the dairy industry, I knew it was the right thing to do. It seemed ridiculous that I would protest about killing animals for meat, yet be perfectly happy to eat ice cream and cheese knowing that dairy cows are suffering just as much. I had no idea that they are regularly given antibiotics and hormones so they can produce 10 times more milk that they are naturally meant to. Then I looked into the conditions hens are kept in to produce eggs, and realised that being vegan was the only option for me.
My transition to becoming vegan was pretty easy because I was already vegetarian. People often ask me if I miss meat, but it’s been so long since I’ve eaten any that I can’t even remember what it tastes like. I’ve never eaten a steak or any big joints of meat, and I’ve never even had a McDonald’s burger. I guess my meat intake was so low anyway that it doesn’t feel like there’s anything to miss out on. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss some non-vegan foods though. My first Easter without being able to eat bags of Mini Eggs was a bit of a struggle. I also miss being able to have cheese on toast and order a Domino’s pizza whenever I want.
One of the many positive points about being vegan is that it’s completely opened by eyes to food I never thought I would eat. It’s pushed me to try new recipes and experiment more in the kitchen. I’ve become an expert at making waffles and pancakes without any eggs, and most of the time you wouldn’t be able to tell my chocolate cupcakes are also egg and dairy free.
I’ve found most people have been completely accepting of my decision, even if some of them struggled to understand it at the beginning. For a while, it seemed acceptable for people to question my choices but not okay for me to ask them why they fill their stomachs with alcohol and junk food on a daily basis. However my best friends have been fantastic and don’t mind me dragging them to vegan restaurants every time we eat out. I’ve found plenty of places in Edinburgh and Glasgow where I can eat vegan versions of my favourite foods. There’s even a takeaway beside my work that will put vegan cheese on pizza for you. I’ve also found normal restaurants to be really accommodating offering to make me soup without cream and provide alternative desserts when everything else on the menu contains dairy.
Being vegan was never something I thought would become a permanent lifestyle choice. However one year in and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been and my diet isn’t hurting animals or damaging the environment. And as things stand at the moment, I can’t imagine ever going back.