I’m not certain what finally prompted me to embark on a vegan life, but having been a vegetarian on and off since my teenage years it came to me as a self-styled ‘seven day vegan trial’.
Encouraged by my partner, who had adopted a vegan diet for health reasons a year earlier, I soon realised how becoming vegan was so right for me and my beliefs. I absolutely loved it. Despite my initial hesitation over what I was going to eat (cheese had become somewhat of a feature of my diet) I really started to enjoy the new adventures in cooking; the new shops and types of food that I had never even heard of (let alone tasted), and the stone in weight I lost after four weeks.
Aside from the food, I also experienced a genuine buzz and sense of contentment from actually doing something positive for the animals I professed to care so much about. I have always been fascinated by nature; as a child when out on a walk with my parents I used to run after sheep to try to hug them. I created a museum in my bedroom to raise money for a local animal rescue centre. I was that kid in school sitting in the corner, writing top tips sheets for my classmates on how to care for their hamsters. And so, as I grew older, it felt natural to try out vegetarianism, and although I always felt there was something more I could be doing, something scared me about becoming vegan. I took my time, but once I embraced it, I realised just how satisfying and rewarding it could be!
Becoming vegan has definitely been a process for me. In terms of what I was eating, I probably didn’t have the most positive start and relied too heavily on junk food. After my initial weight loss euphoria I had stopped thinking about what I was eating, and so back came that stone. But realising this really made me think about what I was doing. If I had made the transition to a vegan diet, why not make the change to a wholefoods diet too? So I took the principles of a well-known weight loss programme, made it vegan and as wholefoods-based as possible and really started to enjoy food in a way I never thought possible. Oh, and I lost a further four stone. I can honestly say that I love food now! The new flavours, baking experiments and amazing restaurants are wonderful, but to top it all, I have no guilt that anything I’m eating is causing harm to an animal.
Becoming vegan has been such an incredible life-changing step for me. I barely recognise the person (and I don’t just mean in the mirror) I was two years ago. I’ve started to take a more active role in the vegan community by writing a blog, contributing to others’ projects and interacting with people and campaigns on social media. I have even sponsored a rescue sheep – because it’s probably more constructive than trying to hug one in a field.
Being vegan has made me love life.