Becoming vegan: why didn't I do it earlier?
Sometimes I can really procrastinate over things. I get comfortable with my routine, and when something a little challenging or different comes up on the horizon, I start to distract myself in whatever way I can, to put off doing that thing until I have no choice but to just get it done. I wish I didn't behave like this. I wish I was better organised and when I felt that niggle of anxiety creeping up, I would just face that thing head on - as I know that as soon as I've done it, I'm so much calmer and happier! You see new things, idea and events start me overthinking, and researching about them, which can consume an awful lot of my time. I wish I didn't feel the need to look into things quite as deeply as I do!
Take veganism. There were so many blocks that I had to overcome before changing my lifestyle . I became a vegetarian when I was 11, after years of wanting to be, but not having the strength or support to make the change. I felt a strong compassion towards animal life, so decided I didn't want to be part of their upsetting fate.
Since then, I looked at veganism as a bit too extreme for me, not really seeing the point of going that extra step, as I was blissfully ignorant to the animal welfare issues in the milk industry, and egg-laying industry, and why vegans avoid honey. More recently in life though, I watched the documentary 'Cowspiracy', and my perception began to change. My eyes were now open, and I realised that I'd been drawing a line where I shouldn't have been. I now feel that exploiting animals for our taste and uses, whether a small insect, or a large mammal, is all the same, whatever the species.
Becoming vegan was a really hard change to consider taking though. I was a lover of cheese - pizza, cheese on toast, crackers and cheese, cheese on top of everything! Eggs were my go-to food for if I couldn't be bothered cooking much - I'd whip up a quick dish of scrambled eggs, and know I was eating something good for me. I'd eat honey as a sweetener rather than sugar; I was a real chocoholic, and I really enjoyed creamy deserts and sweets full of dairy. My diet wasn't healthy, but it was really tasty!
Becoming vegan, I discovered that until then, my moods had been strongly connected to food, with me choosing foods to pick me up, not to nourish me. I not only decided to become vegan out of compassion, but I also felt I needed the shift to help me become healthier. Over the years, I'd grown to eating less and less healthily. I'd come up with healthy meals for my omnivorous family, then just grab something quick and convenient for myself. I felt that by becoming vegan, I'd have no choice but to start taking more care over what I ate.
So after seeing 'Cowspiracy', it reaffirmed my compassion for animals, and made me aware of the bigger picture, which left me feeling that I had no choice but to make the change. So I gave myself a week to adapt. I know many people who take much longer to transition, but I knew that once I'd made my decision, the longer I kept on eating everything I loved, the harder it would be to properly make the change. That week was so tough! Still creating meals for my family which included all I'd cut out, having to endure the tempting smells and sights in the kitchen 3 times a day! Having just a short time for making dinner, when I was tired after a long day, and having to stop myself from grabbing the box of eggs and frying pan. I stayed strong though, and with the help of the 'Vegan Bible', I got stuck into creating really tasty dishes from the start. I found that there are some ingredients that give similar flavours to egg and cheese dishes, and plant syrup is a great alternative to honey, so found that once I'd got past that first week of stumbling blocks, I really didn't find being vegan very hard at all :-)
The next step is finding the strength and determination to start some kind of fitness regime.... I would so love to start running...... I wonder if there any inspiring, hard-hitting documentaries around that might make the switch go in my head and make me just get a pair of running shoes and actually give it a try? ;-)
I was inspired to write about this after reading about the challenge below: