On 1st September 2015, I became vegan. Having been a vegetarian for twelve years or so, it was the logical next step. If I’m honest, I wish I’d done it sooner. I don’t know why I waited so long, especially as my reason for being vegetarian was animal cruelty and there’s no real difference between how the dairy and meat industry treats their animals.
So, what’s changed? Well, I can now speed read a list of ingredients as if my life depends on it. You’d be surprised how many products have milk, egg or some other animal derived product in. Just this week I found that the satsumas I bought from Waitrose had shellac on them. Why would you do that?! It’s kind of scary when you look into it. I have to plan my meals and cook a lot more (though Phil does most of the cooking, so that’s not really an issue!) I can’t rely on picking something up at school for lunch or just stop in a supermarket to buy some sandwiches. While supermarkets are making great leaps in providing vegan food and options every day, there is still a long way to go. Eating a plant based diet is the way forward, and it’s not just about animal rights. It’s best for our bodies and our planet. Don’t just take my word for it, take a look at the Food Choices trailer (full documentary available on Netflix right now.)
I honestly thought when I became vegan, and would be eating so many vegetables, that I’d lose a ton of weight and look the picture of health. Well, I’m still waiting for that to happen! I’m eating loads of veg, kind of have to, but there is so much junk food available that I’m still about the same kind of weight. There are lots of products on the market that are ‘accidentally vegan’ and have no animal products in them, but there are also a lot of vegan chocolate and cakes and crisps to be had. And I’ve had a lot! My favourites are the Jokerz and Twilight Go Max Go bars, which I usually get from Vegan Town. Round Ups are another favourite and they’re bloomin’ epic. The first vegan chocolate I had was the mighty Vego bar. There are also lots of wine, cider and gin that’s sfv, not that I’m a big drinker, but it’s worth knowing about it. We shop at Ocado and their vegan shop is really useful. They often have offers on their vegan products, including the wine, which is when I usually stock up. I do eat more veg, both in regularity and variety and despite the junk, my diet is healthier than it’s every been. Recently, I’ve been thinking about how much junk food I eat and the impact that will have on the environment and animals, as a consequence. I recently read an interesting article in Vegan Life about palm oil and it is a hugely controversial ingredient in lots of items, not just food. There’s no doubt that it is very difficult to avoid it, if you buy processed foods. So I’m going to try and limit how much I consume and try to reduce my reliance on processed stuff as much as possible.
I’m often asked what’s the hardest thing about being vegan. Once you get past the horror of the fact that everyone else is still continuing to use and abuse animals, it’s not really difficult at all, though you do have to be prepared that people will become nutritional experts around you and demand you explain just exactly where you get your protein from every. damn. time. You’re simply just changing your consuming habits. The thing I’m most sad about is wool because I love jumpers and all things knitted, but the way most of the fashion industry treats its animals is horrific so it’s a no brainer to give that up.
I try not to shove my beliefs in peoples faces, so I decided to set up a Pinterest veganism board, which is where I put all the comments about veganism I agree with! I also changed my vegetarian food board to a vegan food board and while I don’t do much cooking, it’s always nice to see what healthy and delicious food I *could* be eating! If you’re interested in having a go, then there’s more information over on the Vegan Society website. Why not take the 30 day pledge?