When I became Vegetarian in 2014, it was always with the intention of eventually going Vegan. It started with basic research into the farming industry, being appalled at what I discovered, and then deciding I didn’t want to fund it anymore. I cut out meat almost immediately, feeling massive unease about continuing to eat it when I had just witnessed the most horrific treatment of innocent beings on a mass scale. What followed was a slow phasing out of dairy products and then, on my 25th birthday, I made the decision to fully commit to a Vegan diet. Of course, I was met with the usual horrified stares from most people exclaiming “but what do you eat?!” as if a diet without meat and dairy was completely inconceivable.
The decision to go Vegan was always entirely personal and I’ve never wanted to judge or influence another person’s lifestyle and choice of diet choice. It’s none of my goddamn business what people eat or what their bodies look like. Unfortunately, going Vegan meant that many people thought that my diet and my body were free to comment on and almost be criticised without first asking me and gaining any understanding about my choices.
Anyway. Fast forward three years and I’ve decided to move away from the Vegan diet for now. Again, personal reasons. But it’s made me reflect on the past few years, what I’ve learnt from being Vegan and about the masses of information regarding Veganism that currently floats around the internet…
Education about Diet*
Going Vegan is a huge diet overhaul. It’s not something that you can do overnight and it requires extensive research on how you’re going to be able to fuel your body on a daily basis without falling into unhealthy Vegan eats (which is actually really fucking easy as carbohydrates become your best friend) or calorie and nutrient deficits. If done correctly, a Vegan diet can be well balanced and there is little need for any vitamin tablets. However, majority of the time a Vegan diet is done abominably which gives it a bad reputation. Researching your food is fucking key.
This one part of the process that I am so grateful for. We take for granted the food we eat, trusting other people’s advice on social media or lousy government advice (like five-a-day and all that other bullshit). It’s important to take responsibility for the food we eat and it’s vital to understand there are many ways to get nutrients like calcium (kale, spinach), iron (asparagus, mushrooms, green beans), and potassium (potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini). Even if you’re not changing your diet, I would highly recommend doing some research into different, nutrient dense recipes. Your mind and body will be forever grateful, which leads me to my next point…
Food is Mood
Those first few weeks of being Vegan I was bouncing off the walls with so much energy. My brain felt less foggy and my body less lethargic. This leant itself to feeling more positive emotionally. I wasn’t fighting a battle within myself every time I had to leave the house to run an errand because I couldn’t be assed to get off the sofa. It made me realise how much we need to understand the relationship between our emotions and what we fuel our bodies with. Food is powerful. If you’re feeling constantly lethargic and apathetic toward life, start with your diet. You wouldn’t advise someone who is anxious to have a coffee, would you? And so with food; if you’re living off beige food (pizza, crisps, chips, etc.) you’re gonna have a mood to match. Your diet is not worth cutting corners with or saving money with cheap meals. Invest in yourself. Your emotions will reward you greatly.
Veganism Causes Angry Reacts
Tell someone you’re a Vegetarian? That’s cool.
Tell someone you’re a Vegan? Hide because you’ve just caused major offence.
If you make a life choice for yourself that doesn’t cause you harm, or anyone else, then there should be no wrath. But, no, this is sadly not the case because we don’t yet live in a world where people can mind their own business. The most infuriating were the people sat across from me eating utter shit for dinner and telling me my lifestyle was unhealthy. Bitch, please. I’m not judging you. Maybe it’s because other people perceive Vegans as believing they are better than everyone else? Just a hypothesis. Unfortunately, there are some out there that genuinely do think they’re better than others but we call those people idiots, not Vegans.
I Lost Weight (But Not For The Reasons Everyone Assumed)
When you decide to go Vegan, suddenly it becomes everyone’s business and everyone must share their opinion (see above.) However, this also extended to my body. I had a few scathing comments that I was ‘skinny.’
“OH MY GOD YOU’RE SO SKINNY NOW! IT’S BECAUSE YOU’RE VEGAN! I’M ACTUALLY WORRIED.”
FYI, I wasn’t “skinny.” I still have a wobble in her ass, my thighs still applaud me when I sit down, and I have a little tummy to warm my internal organs in Winter. There is no denying that I dropped weight. This was because, prior to becoming Vegan, I had a huge sugar addiction. I would happily eat a large bag of Haribo to myself without even feeling sick. There would be points where I would have the most intense sugar cravings that would only be satisfied by Gummy Bears, Midget Gems, and anything else that would stick to your teeth. I used to chow down on a bag of sweets in the car everytime I stopped at a traffic light…at 7 o’clock in the morning. Yes. It was bad, my friends. Turning Vegan resulted in the Gelatin sweets I loved being off the menu; yes, I lost weight because, contrary to popular belief that I was now starving myself and sucking on carrots every night, I was healthier.
After seeing the difference of all these factors, and doing my research, I finally understood why I was craving Ready Salted crisps at 11pm. I knew what my body wanted and how to feed it well. All these factors just helped me feel more at home in myself. Now, when I’m craving Chocolate prior to my period, I know that my body needs energy but – most importantly – I probably just need to take things a bit easier. Just because I crave something doesn’t necessarily mean I have to eat, either.
And that’s that, folks. Next Wednesday I’ll be discussing why I stopped. It’s personal so there’s no room for hate, just love, please.
*I would recommend The Body Book by Cameron Diaz. This book blew my fucking mind about food and why our hunger is not our enemy. Ladies, listen to me – read this book and set yourself fucking free from food demons.