The magical first day of the year marked my one year anniversary of becoming a vegan. Over the last few months, I’ve written a number of blog posts about my vegetarian story and why I became vegan but today’s post is about what I’ve learned over the last year transitioning to this lifestyle.
Research is key.
I have always been the type of human who researches to the point of no control. I’m very heavily interested in finding out the maximum amount of information about a subject I’m interested in and veganism was no different. Now, thankfully I have scaled down my researching skills because I don’t have time like I used to, but I wanted to be well informed about what I was taking on. If you have read my other vegetarian and vegan posts, you’ll know that I cooked vegan meals for quite a few months so I wasn’t exactly going in at the deep end with Veganuary. Admittedly, I looked more so at what foods I could and couldn’t eat, and what little secret ingredients I had to keep an eye on rather than the animals issues surrounding veganism. I did over the next few months start to look into this.
Explaining myself isn’t always necessarily.
I quickly learned that I had to judge certain people very quickly when the subject of veganism came up. There’s a saying that goes like this: “You’ll know when someone is vegan because they will tell you.” In my experience, the fact that I’m a vegan has been brought up more by others than it has been by me. I’m really fortunate that the people that I choose to surround myself with, are genuinely interested in the subject and if they ask a question, they’re not doing it in a cruel way to make a joke out of it. I don’t mind answering questions about this way of life to people who are genuinely interested but I’ve learned that some people just want either make a joke out of it or are simply looking for an argument. It’s up to you how you handle those, I walk away because the way I see it is, it’s me living this life, not them.
I became more creative with my cooking.
There’s nothing more satisfying than cooking a meal from scratch when you know exactly everything that has went into it, because the majority of the time when you take the time to cook a meal, it works out healthier too. I was vegetarian for almost a year before I became vegan so I was mainly cooking vegan meals for the most part, so I knew what my staple meals would be. My boyfriend is a meat-eater and he loves cooking too so he would say himself that it’s helped him improve his cooking skills because he has had to find new recipes so they can be suitable for me. He has made lasagna, spaghetti bolognese, falafel and sweet potato burgers, just to name a few and he has said that you don’t lose any flavour with a meal just because it’s vegan.
(This Christmas was my first Christmas as a vegan and it’s very safe to say that my boyfriend knocked it out of the park with what he served.)
I became more open minded.
From practising meditation on a daily basis, incorporating affirmations into my mindset, looking into the minimalist lifestyle and looking further into issues that surround the meat and dairy industry; I have become a more open minded person who is willing to educate herself. While not everyone will understand what you choose to do with your life; whether that is a different lifestyle to them or why choose to meditate, you have to take a step back from other people’s opinions and decide if they matter. Most of the time they won’t. You’re living your life, they are living theirs, and there’s nothing wrong with educating yourself more on subjects you are becoming passionate about or simply interested in.
I became more comfortable calling myself a vegan.
For the first numbers of months, I was very apprehensive about calling myself a “vegan” for two reasons. I didn’t feel like a vegan, yes I changed my diet to a vegan diet but I was still trying to figure out what household products, cosmetics and bath products to transition to so while I was going through that, I almost felt like a fraud saying I was something that I wasn’t. Over those next few months I realised that I’ll never be perfect, I’ll never be a one hundred percent vegan and no-one can be, it’s impossible. What is possible however, is trying your best because as cheesy as it sounds, we’re all learning at the end of the day. My second reason was, vegans sometimes get a bad reputation. You know what I mean; the one who preaches at you every time you eat meat, the one who judges you when you’re sitting in a restaurant, the one who will sit and tell you how you are hurting the environment and the animals, and the one who, will eventually have no friends if they keep acting like that. I don’t believe I’ve ever been a “preacher”; most of my friends and family eat meat and it’s really at the bottom of my list for me caring about that. As I said before, if people let me live my life, I’ll let people live theirs. It’s really that simple. Who am I to jump in and force my opinion down someone’s throat who might not necessarily want it? For those two reasons; learning that I can only improve myself and educate myself day by day, I became more comfortable with calling myself a vegan rather than just saying I eat a plant based diet.
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Being vegan, as cliche as it sounds, has become more than what I eat; it’s a large part of how I live my life and the last year has opened my eyes up to new people, new opinions and given me more of a sense of not caring what people think when it comes to this subject in particular. I hope you enjoyed today’s post and over the next few months, I’ll be sharing more of my vegan journey so I hope you take the chance to read those too.