Going vegan transformed my life!
I was always a little bit funny with meat. I suppose I started my journey toward veganism when at 16 I stopped eating mince, followed by kebabs at 18 after seeing how they were made on a television programme.
Gradually I became more a chicken(tarian), only occasionally eating other meats. I remember distinctly my stomach being turned by washing up after a Sunday lamb roast. I was around 24 years old by this point and something deep in my stomach was telling me to question why I ate meat.
At the start of 2008 aged 23, I embarked on four months of backpacking around Australia and Asia. This was an eye opening experience for me. I managed to do lots of scuba diving and experienced some wonderful moments in nature. Whilst my trip was packed full of the normal partying experiences it also confronted me with real poverty for the first time. I didn’t realise it at the time but those experiences would have a profound impact on me and shape the person I am today.
Upon returning to the UK the world looked slightly altered to me. The breeze felt different on my face, the grass felt softer and more comforting than before. I felt a new sense of connection to the earth and all the sentient beings that inhabited it.
At the age of 25, my friend Ciara introduced me to the Meat Free Monday’s concept, she gave me a couple of recipes and I started having vegetarian days. I quickly realised that my body felt better and also my mind, not eating meat felt good in my head and my heart.
During this time I was becoming involved in environmental activism movement. As I learnt more about the science behind rising global greenhouse gases, I knew that eating meat no longer fitted with the way I saw the world, and on the 1st January 2011 I gave up eating meat.
At first I kept eating fish but, after learning more about the impact of overfishing on the oceans, I soon became vegetarian. And I stayed that way for a couple of years until June 2013, when I embarked on a trip to Berlin. In Berlin I couldn’t believe how widely available vegan options were and the food was amazing. I knew I was making excuses; I had become increasingly aware of veganism and consuming and using animal products no longer felt right in my heart. I knew I had to change this to be truly happy with myself.
By the time I went vegan I had already stopped drinking cows’ milk, and giving up eggs and dairy made me feel lighter and healthier within weeks. Around this time I had started running and generally looking to improve my overall health and well-being. I was inspired by ultramarathon running legend Scott Jurek, who has been vegan since 1999; his story and amazing running successes.
Although I haven’t scaled Scott’s heights quite yet, I have ran a marathon, completed many running races in times I never would have dreamed possible last June. I can honestly say a diet abundant in fruits and wholefoods has been key in enabling me to do more than I ever had the energy to do before.
When people ask me about going vegan, I tell them it is the best thing I ever did and I really mean it. I unlocked new potential in myself as human being, and feel a closer connection to nature and animals. When you take violence out of your life, you become more in-tune with the energy of people, animals and the world around you; it is a really beautiful feeling.