Being vegan. What does it mean? According to the dictionary, a vegan is ‘a person who does not eat or use animal products’.
In this blog we want to explore veganism from all angles and perspectives. What does it mean to us? What does it mean to other vegans? How is it perceived by those who are not vegan? Lots of questions, and a vast array of possible answers. So lets get cracking.
I would like to start by talking about my own experiences. I’m a relatively ‘new’ vegan. I ‘turned’ (makes it sound like I became a vampire or something) back in October. So that’s eight months of feeling the best I have ever felt, both physically and morally.
I used to eat a lot of meat. I used to consume a lot of animal products in general. Looking back now, I want to give my self a good shake and a slap. But there’s no merit in regretting the years we didn’t do what we consider to be right. We should only embrace the present and the future, where we feel happy and at peace with our choices, right?
My decision stemmed from exposure to veganism from a few different areas of my life. My daughters mum had gone vegan. A friend at work had also mentioned her decision to turn vegan. And a new friend had begun talking to me a fair amount about her veganism and her reasons behind it. We had friendly debates. But it was becoming clear that my ‘look the other way’ stance wouldn’t really hold up anymore. My ethics and morals had been exposed, and I didn’t like it one bit.
There was no big fanfare. I simply decided that I would cut animal products out. Other than a tub of whey protein that I decided to use up rather than just chuck out, I made the switch, and I never looked back. I am in no way belittling those who struggle to make the change, but even as someone who at a lot of meat and cheese, I found it surprisingly easy. It opened my eyes to a world of food that I basically ignored before. A world of food that I now vasty prefer. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy vegan junk food. I mean, who doesn’t. It’s incredible! But generally speaking, I eat healthily, and I feel healthier than I ever have thanks to veganism.
Most of the non-vegans in my life didn’t have much of an opinion on my decision. There was some surprised, slightly judgemental questioning.Generally speaking though, only intrigue and acceptance. The vegans in my life were extremely happy of course.
So, I guess that covers the diet element of veganism. That’s all I ever thought it was as a non-vegan. It’s clear now, that for me at least,veganism is more of a code of ethics. A belief system. A fully fledged lifestyle. One that I am aiming to embrace more and more each day. I have recently begun investing in more eco-friendly products. I have also looked into attending more animal rights events. I don’t want to just drift along as a vegan. I want to spread the word. I want to do my bit. And it feels really liberating!
To sum up, veganism is so much more than just a ‘diet’. It’s a lifestyle. It’s an ethical choice to help preserve animal rights and lessen the impact human beings have on this planet. It’s a small community that is growing year on year. It needs nurturing and it needs to expand and evolve so that more and more people embrace it. It is generally widely accepted as a ‘normal’ lifestyle choice now, and we all want it to become mainstream. We want it to become the ONLY choice. I guess, to put it simply, we want to save the world. ❤
“As if I could go vegan”. “Vegans are so preachy”. “But I just love cheese”. I am guilty of saying all of these phrases at least once in my life. The concept of veganism was one I never understood back in the day. It just seemed so silly and complicated and way more hassle than it was worth, and I never believed I could do it. But then I saw something that got me thinking, and my opinions and ideas started to change…
“How can you love animals but eat them?”
I have ALWAYS been a huge animal lover. Animals are literally my whole life. But despite that I was willing to contribute to the mass murder that takes place every single day all for a few minutes of pleasure as I consumed meat and dairy products. It was this that inspired me to go vegetarian about 3 years ago. I felt wrong calling myself an animal lover but allowing myself to support the meat industry, which I believed was where the only problems were. I was happily vegetarian for 6 months, and still hadn’t contemplated the idea of veganism, especially as I still thought the whole idea of it was ridiculous and had jumped on the bandwagon of disliking vegans due to the one or two “militant” ones I had experienced online.
However, after finding out the reality of the dairy and egg industries, my views started to change. My eyes were opened and I saw that the meat industry wasn’t the only cause of animal suffering (within the food side of things) and was horrified by the harsh realities of where seemingly harmless products came from. I went vegan overnight. At first, I didn’t exactly take it too seriously, telling myself I would allow myself exceptions when the time of year the Cadbury’s Creme Egg came around, and when eating out. Little did I know the creme egg I had eaten just a few days before would be my last – once I went vegan, I never looked back.
My morals had changed completely, and I just knew I couldn’t support any kind of suffering any more. I felt like a completely new person. Veganism instantly became a huge part of my life, and my only regret was not doing it sooner.
From that day on, I never looked back. Two and a half years later I am more dedicated to my veganism than ever before. I have become involved in the animal rights community and I am a passionate activist. I constantly attend vegan festivals and my idea of a perfect day is wandering the aisles of health food stores looking for new vegan treats to try. I’ve recently been getting more into zero waste and eco friendly living. And I’ve started this blog, of course! I’ve completely changed my lifestyle and I honestly couldn’t be happier…I am so proud to call myself vegan, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. ❤