I’ve been fully vegetarian since June 2017 now and I can honestly say I’ve never looked back.
What started as hating the texture of meat has turned into a bit of an animal cruelty thing and I’ve toyed with the idea of trying veganism for a month or so now.
(I’ll warn you now – although I don’t want to ram my opinions and thoughts down your throat I am going to talk about some tiny graphic details; so if that’s not your bag, maybe don’t read on…)
Friends/colleagues/random strangers have been a little forceful with veganism in the past; talking about certain documentaries and talking about mistreatment of animals and the journey from ‘field’ to plate.
I’ve had problems with eggs for a while – I cracked open an egg a couple of months ago and I can’t even describe what was in it, it was disgusting and it put me off and got me thinking about what makes an egg, well, an egg. Because the one I opened wasn’t meant for the plate and it upset me for days.
And then there was cheese. For me, cheese is life. I love cheese, and it accounts for 80% of my obesity problem. You will also notice I’ve used the word cheese multiple times in this sentence – such is my love for cheesy-cheesy-cheese-cheese.
And then a friend told me about the fermenting process cheese goes through and drew my attention to a lecture on YouTube showing how dairy cows are treated.
And so my stomach started churning with every egg, slice of cheese and cup of milk I consumed.
I started looking into veganism and researching the nutritional aspect online, in books found in local charity shops and in my local library.
I wanted to make an informed decision – it seemed really daunting to restrict my diet and I wanted to do the right thing for myself and the animals. My main concerns were:
- cost – would avoiding most processed foods and buying vegan products break the bank?
- the label – ‘vegan’ seems to drum up all sorts of negative attributes such as fussy, hippies, scary and my favourite I found was how it’s a cult. Hmmm.
- nutrition – by cutting dairy and eggs, would I get all the nutrients I need?
- my husband and son – are still very much meat eaters; I’ve always said I would be okay with it but am I okay with it?
Over Christmas I raided bookshops and online resources for information and it really surprised me:
- cost – it’s not that different to being veggie and although meat replacements, especially the vegan ones can work out expensive; beans, pulses, grains and vegetables can be really cheap and from my calculations, cheaper than buying meat and dairy.
- the label – I’m not totally sure how I feel about being vegan – I’m now three days in and already I’ve been told how I can take a day off and eat cake; how I still wear wool therefore I’m a hypocrite; and my favourite – how I’ll be hugging trees by the end of the month and wearing only tie-dye attire. I’m totally not deterred by any of this – I’m just getting used to it and seeing how things pan out. No pressure.
- nutrition – some key facts I’ve discovered is how certain plant-based alternatives such as milks, nuts and tofu contain more protein than most dairy products and meat. I’ll write more on this later but I’m not concerned that I’ll be lacking in anything at all.
- my husband and son, the meat eaters – I feel torn between my beliefs, morals and their own; I’ve always said it is their choice what they eat and drink and especially my son, I want him to grow up and understand that it is his choice. But I’m not at all comfortable buying, preparing and cooking meat and dairy anymore – and I need to think about how I want to go forward.
And so this week, on Monday 1st January 2018, I completed my first day as a vegan/plant based human.
How do I feel? Well after the excesses of Christmas, I think eating well and properly has been a huge shock to my system and I’ve had a constant upset stomach and nausea since; however I feel less bloated and I do feel good.
I could prattle on forever about this, I have lots of information I’d like to share and I will of course keep you updated as the month/year goes on.
Are you vegan/doing veganuary? Leave me a comment, send me an email – I’d love to share tips and hear your thoughts and experiences.