So, #Veganuary is over. I made it through the wilderness, bar a two day slip up when I was away in the arse-end of nowhere for an event staying at a hotel that offered zero vegan options (bar a bowl of leaves). For the remaining 28.5 days of January I managed to eat vegan. According to the vegan calculator my month of Veganuary had the following impact:
- I’ve saved 33,000 gallons of water
- I’ve saved 1,200 lbs of grain
- I’ve saved 900 square feet of forest
- I’ve saved 600 lbs of Co2
- I’ve saved 30 animals
Was it easy? No.
Was it hard? Erm, No.
It was kind of somewhere in the middle.
As I mentioned in this post, going vegan for a month basically forced me to a) actually cook (something I wouldn’t always do if there was an option to microwave a meal or heat up a tin of Heinz macaroni) and b) get creative with my food. Lunches became a lot more elaborate, ditching Pret Tuna & Cheese toasties for hummus & quinoa wraps packed with more veg than I would normally eat in a week! My hangover food went from greasy McDonalds to a healthier avo-smash on toast with cherry tomatoes and lime (okay and maybe a few rounds of Maccie D hash browns). It’s forced me to spend more time meal planning, cooking, and learning about foods. And when it came to fruit and veg, I can guarantee I got my five a day.
Funnily enough, meat is the thing I have missed the least, followed by fish (I usually eat a lot of Tuna and Salmon) and dairy was by far the hardest thing for me to give up, because I pretty much used to live on milk chocolate. And only when going vegan do you realise just how much cheese you normally consume. It comes with everything, especially vegetarian dishes!
By day three of Veganuary, after having a great few days of vegan food and after watching a few different documentaries about the meat and dairy industry, I began to wonder if I could do it, if I should actually become a full time vegan. Could I?
But speaking honestly, one of the toughest parts about going Vegan was not veganism itself, but the opinions of others about me choosing to go vegan, even if only temporarily. Jokes and banter aside, some people really took offence to my choice. They couldn’t understand why I would deny myself something so basic as dairy and meat, something I’ve spent 30 years eating, drinking, digesting and fuelling my body with. And it almost angered a few people. They laughed at me, teased me, and some even got a little confrontational with me. And whilst I could kind of see why – because I once thought the same thing – I was also reading a lot of material from the other side of the argument, material that was raising confusing questions; how can we all choose to eat something that has been murdered? Surely that is the insane thing? Surely choosing to kill and eat animals as food is the crazy thing? Not denying ourselves it?
Everyday we willingly eat another creature that has had it’s life taken away from it, without any choice, and been brutally slaughtered. Many of us British go ape shit when we hear about dogs being slaughtered and eaten in China, yet over here we do exactly the same thing to cows, amongst many other animals. What is the difference? Apart from our own perception of the animal?
To say I was confused was an understatement! Because whilst I was reading all this information on the farming industry and the slaughter houses, and crying over videos of newborn cows being dragged from their mothers to become glorified milk factories, and whilst telling myself “I’m never eating meat or dairy again”…. my body was also craving foods that I knew these animals helped produce – cheese, chocolate, milk, and not forgetting a proper delicious juicy bloody steak … ooooooh steak *wipes drool from corner of mouth*
I felt completely torn! I knew I wanted to continue this lifestyle choice and help these poor animals because if we don’t, who will? But I was also very terrified of becoming one of those vegans.
Before I began Veganuary, I was terrified about being branded a vegan because of the negative connotations that go with the label. People hate that vegans force their opinions down your throat. And to be honest, I still don’t like how some vegans can be so aggressive about it, like this guy who during an interview, told Jeremy Vine that the ham sandwich on the table in front of them was the flesh of a dead pig. Technically true, but it came off as very aggressive. The vegan, Joey Carbstrong, was there to discuss how a farmer had recently received death threats after being called a murderer and rapist by vegan protesters.
When it comes to non-vegans, there is no need for a vegan to be so angry and aggressive towards someone who is merely just uneducated on the matter. Until I sat and read and watched information on veganism, I honestly had no idea just how bad animal cruelty was in the farming world, nor did I have any idea how bad it was for the environment. And even if people are educated on the matter, by asking someone to go vegan, you are asking them to completely change a lifestyle and diet they have endured their whole life, it’s a BIG change. Shouting at them “Your lunch is murder” in an aggressive tone isn’t going to make them stop eating meat.
So what am I trying to say? What exactly is my point? (because I’m not sure I’m getting to it, or maybe I’m just avoiding spitting it out).
Well *takes a deep breath* despite my love for milk chocolate, my cravings for cheesy pizza and my greedy need for tuna and salmon in my life, I have decided I am going to try and continue the vegan lifestyle.
*waits for abuse to be hurled at her*
But that in no way means I am joining a cult, or will be forcing others to do the same. That in no way means I will never ever ever have meat or dairy pass my lips again (it’s prob gonna happen). It in no way means I’m taking some sort of pledge, or vow, or signing some legal document to say “Hello world, I am now vegan. Do not feed me meat or dairy”.
This is simply a lifestyle choice I have decided to try out; one I think will not only benefit the environment, and hopefully the lives of many animals, but that will benefit me – I have lost weight over the past few weeks, I have been sleeping better, waking up earlier, I feel healthier, happier and I have more energy than ever before.
Yes, of course it will be hard to do this full time, I already miss so much of my carnivore lifestyle, like burgers and cheese, my nighttime ovaltine, and Malteaser bunnuies *cries* and I’m sure there will be slip ups, but I won’t let anyone make me feel guilty about them. It’s simply a lifestyle choice I have decided to make, and there is no need for anyone to be offended, nor is there any reason for me to be offended by any of my friends, family, or even strangers who continue to eat meat and dairy infront of me, just as they have done every day of their lives beforehand – that is their lifestyle choice.
I pondered so much about how I would label myself as of the 1st of Feb. Vegan? Part-time vegan? Newbie vegan? Non-committed vegan?
But y’know what? It doesn’t matter. I’m trying veganism, that makes me a vegan. I don’t need to justify my diet, my slip-ups or my reasons behind it.
So, that’s that!