One year ago I made the decision to become vegan. Not because of health reasons, but simply because I love animals and for me the saying treat other as you’d like to be treated yourself extends to them too.
Over the last year i’ve discovered a lot about the world and about myself. For that reason I thought that i’d share some wisdom with you that i’ve learnt along the way.
Here are 6 things i’ve learnt since going vegan
1. Add another 15 mins to your weekly food shop
As I was already vegetarian, going vegan was not a big lifestyle change for me. Overnight I dropped dairy form my diet and I haven’t looked back. The first thing I did was empty my cupboards of anything with dairy and give them to the boyfriend. I was surprised by how much contained “whey” and realised that I needed to get clued up on other non-vegan ingredients. Nevertheless even with this knowledge I spent a large portion of my time reading the ingredients on the back of every packet in the supermarket. Make more time for your food shop, you’ll need it!
2. You’re going to make mistakes
Every now and then you’re going to make a mistake and that’s ok. It wasn’t until 2 months in that I discovered that not all wine was vegan. I didn’t even consider that it wouldn’t be, but lesson learned. You can’t beat yourself up about these small mistakes made. For me the self-education piece was the hardest part, but the online vegan community was super helpful. Following Instagram accounts like VeganLdn and Definitely Vegan helped me find vegan-friendly restaurants and get to know what the latest vegan products in the supermarket were. It was a massive help and definitely made me feel like we were in it together.
3. You’ll get creative in the kitchen
Becoming vegan inspired me to get creative in the kitchen. I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of vegan-ising dishes and trying completely new recipes. My favourite cook books are Eat Smart by Naomi Smart, Eat Like You Give A F*ck by Thug Kitchen and Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon.
4. You need to draw a line somewhere
When you start thinking about where your food comes from, inevitably you branch out to think about who made your clothes and where did the material come from? Or what’s in your make up and was it tested on animals? Again it’s a self education piece and only you can decide how far you want to take it. Everyone is different and everyone is allowed to make their own decisions. For me the reason that I turned vegan is gradually moving me to a more vegan lifestyle, but I appreciate that unlike my diet change it’s going to take a while.
5. People will always have an opinion
I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by supportive friends and family, some who have decided to give veganism a go themselves,. However I have also encountered those who scrunch their nose up at you as they say “what on earth do you eat?” or “don’t you miss [insert food here]?” And the worst kind who decide to provoke you, just because they’re trying to justify their own food choices. Mature huh!? But you’ve just got to let it go and move on.
6. Vegan and healthy are not synonymous
When I became vegan so many people asked me if I’d lost weight and the answer is no. In the last 6 months I’ve eaten more cake, dark chocolate and gummy sweets than I have in the last few years. Oreos and Paprika Pringles are vegan you know! Don’t get me wrong, I eat a lot of vegetables and fruit too, but I almost felt like I had to prove that being vegan didn’t mean I just ate rabbit food. As a result I became a little obsessed with finding #veganjunkfood. The good thing is that I discovered some amazing brands with delicious vegan options that I could then share on. The bad thing is that I’ve been running on a sugar high for the last year which has probably done nothing for my dental health.
Looking back at the highs and lows of the last year (most of which have been highs) I’m so glad that I moved to a vegan diet. It has been a steep learning curve, but I’ve discovered new restaurants, recreated recipes and made new friends. Quite frankly, the last year has been awesome.
Already vegan? What have you learnt along the way?