(Besides the fact that my dog gets weirdly excited about carrots.)
If you are like me and were born in the 90’s, chances are, you are either already vegan, or are trying to ignore the overwhelming evidence on why you should go vegan. Vegans are going to take over the world, in a non-zombie kind of way.
Until a week ago, I wasn’t part of that movement. It’s been a year since I finally decided to stop eating meat. I could tell you that I’ve learnt a lot of new recipes in this time, learnt a lot more about myself and have grown since making a choice based on my core values.
When really, I spent the entire year trying to ignore the voice in my head telling me “vegetarian is not gonna cut it, snuggle bear.”
I was, of course, influenced by what my closest friends were saying (whom I adore all day, every day, but..) who were all meat eaters, while trying to avoid talking all too much to that one friend who was kind of ‘weigan’.
Eventually, I watched one of the documentaries that I was trying to ignore, and, as you can imagine, shit hit the fan pretty quickly.
I realised I was fooling myself thinking that I could choose to not support the meat industry but continue to eat dairy. I was fooling myself thinking that free-range chickens are really any happier.
While most of my cooking has been vegan for a while, sometimes it just wasn’t convenient, you know. It was important that I had eggs for breakfast, and cheese on my pizza, instead of spending 5 minutes finding out about delicious alternatives.
So here are the things I’ve learnt this week:
I can’t have a cheese platters anymore Cow’s milk is for calves (and makes me fart)
I guess there was a reason dairy leaves me with stomach cramps and ridiculously smelly farts? The one thing I love more than a giant, succulent (expensive) cheese platter is being true to myself and knowing that I no longer contribute to the suffering of my big, beautiful friends.
2. No more smelly farts
I know I already mentioned this, but it is kind of a big deal for me. Even though I usually get to blame either my husband or the dog (or both), it’s been nice to say goodbye to that upset belly.
3. Eating a plant-based diet is A LOT easier than I thought (and doesn’t cause as many smelly farts)
Most of the food that I had to eliminate over the past week was the food that I know doesn’t agree with me anyway. I already worship maple syrup and I discovered I can live without eggs.
Cheese and chocolate were the biggest things. I’m sure you don’t want me to tell you again what the dairy in chocolate does to me. To top it off, the excessive amount of sugar found in conventional chocolate causes two other amazingly fun things: mood swings and for my favourite clothes not to fit.
I can make pizza without cheese, or use NOTzarella (which is the best wordplay ever, right? Don’t forget to shout ‘NOT’ as loud as you can and then whisper ‘zarella’.)
Plus, there is an amazing amount of information available, for free, on this thing called the world wide internet.
Sure, sometimes it may seem hard.
I live in a remote area where not eating meat already only leaves me with one single option on the menu, if at all, and going plant-based almost certainly eliminates that option.
Jokes from my housemates about the vegetarian steak they cooked for me are obviously hilarious.
My husband and I are even more likely to cook completely different meals now, which also means he watches me cook while he eats and then goes to do something else (squirrel!) while I eat my food by myself. While my dog makes up for it by staring at my food and drooling on my toes, it is certainly not my idea of a family dinner.
The reason why going vegan is still easy?
Acknowledging that I am not meant to one day grow up to be a 700kg cow and aligning my food choices with it, not only brings me peace and better health. It not only rids me of stomach cramps, it provides me with a new sense of mental clarity.
It gives me the satisfaction of knowing that I am not supporting an industry that I have heard too many horrible stories about.
I believe that everything is energy and have finally woken up to the fact that going plant-based is the way to fully nurture my body and mind.
Veganism is about not wanting to contribute to the suffering of animals but I think there is so much more to it. It means making conscious choices, and, for me, it also means not being aggressive about promoting my choice.
A week ago, you could have had a go at me for that haloumi I ate for breakfast. Today, I have a Pinterest Board filled with delicious vegan breakfast recipes.
While I believe that this message is most important to spread, and while it is important to inform others of how their choices influence what world we live in, I don’t see you turning your aunt Mary into a vegan by making her angry when she is cooking herself some bacon for breakfast.
Chances are, you know Aunt Mary better than I do, so instead of judging her, find a way that you know will make her listen. Educate her, explain your choices, and then accept that Aunt Mary is on her own path here. We are all forever growing.
Think of the impact you can make by showing others how happy you are to be vegan, and how easy it is for you to continue to make that choice, instead of creating disconnection between you and the next person by pissing each other off.