My Vegan-ish Anniversary
September 4, 2018
This September marks one year since I decided to go vegan! I can’t quite believe it’s been a year already. My journey has been an interesting one thus far and, therefore, I wanted to share my honest experiences with anyone contemplating switching or for my already-vegan followers in case you experienced similar things that I have. I’m going to be talking about cheating, body changes, how my perspective on veganism has evolved this past year, and why I’m still vegan-ish.
Why I went vegan:
After watching quite a few documentaries (surprise surprise!), I felt the same pang in my heart as when I watched The True Cost Film. I’d never felt such a strong desire to make a shift in my life for the benefit of myself and the planet. Those documentaries included Before the Flood, Cowspiracy, What the Health, Forks Over Knives, and a few others. I did some more research online and decided that, like all other diets I’d tried, why not give it a shot and see what the fuss was all about.
My initial motivation for going vegan was primarily for health reasons. I saw beautifully slender, healthy, strong, and inspirational people all over the world eating a vegan diet and felt an urge to feel what they felt and look the way they did.
Similarly to when I decided to try the paleo diet two years ago (*cue eye roll*), my body went through a shock. I cold-turkey detoxed my body of all animal products on the spot – because I typically go balls-to-the-wall when I put my mind to something… at least initially anyway. I didn’t notice a considerable change in weight loss or energy levels as typically “promised” when switching to veganism. I thought these two things would be the biggest changes I’d notice. However, there are other factors that I think might’ve affected this – such as poor sleep habits.
One of the biggest benefits I noticed was a reduction of acne! Stupidly, I decided to quit the pill within two weeks of switching to veganism and so my face looked like a plague of some sort had hit it for a few weeks and then everything disappeared beautifully! Now, I find that I don’t get pimples nearly as frequently as I did before and typically only a.) during that time of the month or b.) if I’ve found myself cheating!
Something I needed to play around with a little, was making sure I took enough B12. Before going vegan I had low iron (for years) and D4 levels, where I needed to take vitamins every day. I just had blood work taken last week and I’m pleased to report that I’m perfectly healthy in all categories! I can only assume that this is attributed to my increased intake of leafy greens. I will actually be doing a post next week on the vitamins and probiotics I take every day that helps ensure I’m as healthy as I can be – so, stay tuned!
There were/are definitely some foods that I struggled to quit immediately:
- Tea – Being British, my dedication to three cups of English Breakfast tea a day was real. How was I going to survive without milk in my tea? If you’re British, you understand how finicky we are with our tea. I kept using regular milk in small doses for a bit whilst I experimented with every alternative imaginable: almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, oat milk… None of them did the job and, ultimately, after a few weeks I decided to give up tea all together and just switch to coffee where I knew I enjoyed these milk alternatives just fine. Now, I’m perfectly addicted to my Nespresso and oat milk from Oatly!
- Butter – Again, I found that I was only consuming it in small doses and already had a Costco sized carton of butter in our fridge to go through. Now, I’ve made the switch to Earth Balance butter with olive oil (<– I think this is one of the only ones that doesn’t contain soy) and I can truly not taste a difference!
- Honey – I still eat honey. I definitely don’t consume it as much as I used to, but I’ve struggled to justify this one. Unfairly (to the bees), I’ve not done as much research on honey and the affect it has on bees, so this is an ignorant decision on my part.
- Leather – I (rarely now) still purchase some leather products. I definitely still own leather product from a lifetime of purchasing – I know a lot of vegans get rid of animal products when they switch. Most vegan leather is actually worse for the environment and so I’m now looking for suitable alternatives for some items I crave.
- Traveling – When we were in France for our wedding/honeymoon, I didn’t make veganism a priority amongst everything else we had going on. I tried to stick to vegetarianism as much as possible, however. Another time I struggle to remain vegan is traveling to Mexico, for example. I’ve been terribly ill from eating food washed with the water there and struggle to eat fresh anything for fear of getting Montezuma’s Revenge again. If anyone has any tips on how to navigate this sticky situation, I’d be so very grateful!
Vintage Levis Jeans (similar here)
Vintage Dooney & Bourke Bag (similar here)
When I first started eating plant based foods, I did it primarily for my own health. However, the ethics behind veganism are starting to become stronger. I struggle to look at certain meat without having my stomach churn with sadness and disgust. Those Peta videos, which we’ve all seen at some point in our lives, are now affecting me harder than ever before.
I’ve cried countless times at the abuse animals go through for our pleasure. We don’t need to torture them and could live perfectly fine off of plants! I, sadistically, need to revisit these videos & stats to remind myself why I’ve chosen this lifestyle and help keep me on course if I ever feel wavering.
I do feel a sense of pride for having come this far. I’d say, at this point in my journey, I’m 98% vegan due to the cheating exceptions listed above. All things considered, this is still a huge accomplishment from where I was last year and a massively positive contribution to our planet. I could (and do) beat myself up for the times I didn’t prepare properly to avoid animal food, but I need to remind myself that what I’ve achieved in a year has already reduced my carbon footprint on the planet significantly and that is no small feat!
Surprisingly, and absolutely not because I shoved veganism down anyone’s throats, I have a few friends now who have either switched to veganism or a heavy vegetarian diet and that makes my heart so incredibly happy! Being able to show those close to me how delicious food can taste when made from scratch and with love is a passion of mine and for my friends to take that into their own kitchen makes me proud of both them and myself. I’m one happy girl!
Any step towards veganism: whether it’s just cutting out red meat, or only eating animal products once a week, is already helping yourself, the animals, and the planet So I applaud you for taking any measures to make this happen! If you need any help with making this choice or have questions about my journey, I’m more than happy to help! I do also know a few incredibly dedicated vegans who have been at this much longer than I have who I can point you to! 🙂
Either way, I hope you found my honesty refreshing and understand that I’m certainly not perfect but am continually working to improve. Here’s to another year of veganism with less processed food, more homemade dishes, and less cheating! 🙂