I recently decided to go vegan – I say recently – I think it was last year now! If you follow me on Instagram you probably know this already, but I thought I would have a discussion on my blog about it. I don’t think I’m going to start posting recipes or anything (though I might do reviews? Let me know if that’s something that might interest you). ANYWAY here are my thoughts and stuff on the whole thing!
Never eaten meat anyway
I was raised vegetarian. My mom was/is kind of badass in that she went veggie and *then* raised her three kids veggie at a time where I imagine that it was very unusual to be vegetarian, let alone decide to raise your kids that way (it’s still pretty controversial to some people for some reason??!).
We weren’t strict veggie. My mum let us eat sweets and marshmallows and chocolate mousse and things like that, that aren’t made with “bits of meat” but aren’t technically veggie either.
All vegan pie and mash and gravy and mac and cheese and cheesy fries from Young Vegans, London
We basically lived on Beanfeast when I was a kid. Please please let me know if you’ve ever had this!! I think it was soya and kidney beans and it came dry in a packet. You added water and you get some kind of a chilli, if I remember rightly…
My mum never went on about why we were vegetarian, so I didn’t grow up as an animal activist or anything. We just didn’t have it, and that was kind of that.
Both my brother and sister now eat meat, but for me, it just never appealed. In theory, it sounds nice, but the thought of it grosses me out and I just really don’t want to put dead flesh in my mouth. Bleugh.
What tipped me over into veganism
So my mum cut out dairy for her health a few months ago, and a few bloggers that I follow had gone (or already were) vegan, and I had a bit of knowledge that meant that I was getting a growing feeling that I wanted to go vegan too.
The main reason was that I had heard some things on the grapevine that the dairy industry wasn’t great, and I didn’t want to be a part of keeping that going.
I decided to watch What the Health on Netflix one Sunday morning and it just absolutely swung it for me. Every doubt that I might have had, was answered by that documentary. From animal welfare to the age old question of “where do you get your protein?” and the affect animal products actually have on your body… I came away knowing that I didn’t want to eat dairy or eggs any more.
Seitan burger, fries and mac and cheese from Temple of Seitan, London
I later watched cowspiracy and it was really interesting. I didn’t need convincing at that point (especially because it was mainly around the sustainability of animal agriculture – I.e the meat industry) but it helped me confirm that I was doing the right thing.
“It’s not going to change anything though is it?”
A while ago I was having a conversation around veganism with people who eat meat. I was just veggie at this point but they were talking about how one person choosing not to eat meat or animal products isn’t going to change the industry or really make a difference.
I didn’t say this at the time, but there are two things that went through my mind. The first is that one person might not want to “make a difference”. They might simply want to not be a part of animal cruelty. They might be vegan because they feel healthier without it. They might be intolerant to lactose or allergic to milk. My point is that a person being vegan (or “plant/based”) doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to be a hardcore activist that wants to change the world – they might just be happy knowing that they themselves have as little to do with the meat and dairy industry as they can.
The other thing is that one person can absolutely make a difference. I’m going to throw a quote at you now (brace yourself), one that I saw the other day…
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito” – Dalai Lama XIV
This is how I feel about it. I’m a consumer. I make my own money. I choose to spend it in places, and on things. Where I spend it makes a difference to that particular industry/niche/business. If I choose to buy the vegan option, and other people do too, then that shop or restaurant will see the value in catering to me, and they’ll think about offering more. They might consider the ethics behind that particular choice, or they might just see the business opportunity, but it might change the way they do business. The power of the pound is a real thing.
And you can definitely see it – Iceland has just brought out an entirely vegan range, for example. Iceland!
Temple of Seitan burgers, fries and mac and cheese
What I’m struggling with
The main thing that I struggle with is convenience. I love cooking but most of the time (especially after work) I can’t be bothered to cook anything. Just getting a pizza is so tempting (thank god for Zizzi’s but a £10 pizza isn’t okay).
The same with nipping and getting a sarnie for lunch at work. There are very few options.
Luckily, like I said, brands are sitting up and taking notice. Tesco’s launched a range of vegan lunch items and ready meals and Quorn is doing more vegan stuff too.
Veganism vs Plant-Based
There’s the idea that if you eat a vegan diet but you don’t take the ethos into other areas of your life then you have a “plant-based” diet and not a vegan. Veganism is a lifestyle, not just a diet.
I think it’s all a bit of a sliding scale. There are extremes – people who think that if you eat a bit of cheese or wear leather you should be cast out and shunned, and there are others who are much more relaxed about it and insist that you do the best you can. There are people after all who can’t restrict their diet due to their mental health or who are allergic to substitutes, etc.
Temple donut, Leeds
Personally, I do want to take veganism into the other aspects of my life. I want to have vegan, cruelty free cosmetics and household cleaning products. But, it just hasn’t quite sunk in to keep it in mind when I’m shopping for products and I end up buying things without a second thought (until later, ofc).
I’m seeing this as a journey, and no, the destination might not be perfection, and there are bound to be hurdles and stumbles in the road, but I just wanted to share with my reasoning and how I got to where I am right now.
My fave vegan blogs:
Just thought I’d share some of my fave vegan content creators I’ve found so far. Let me know your faves!