How and Why I Turned Vegan.

For today’s post, I wanted to talk about how and why I turned vegan. I say vegan, I prefer to say plant-based but I am slowly getting there with changing my beauty products and household products for example so now I feel more at ease with calling myself a vegan. I have a whole post on how I became a vegetarian so if you haven’t read that, this might make more sense afterwards.

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If you’ve missed any of my posts related around food, they’ll be linked here:
Becoming A Vegetarian
What I Eat In A Day: Veganuary Style
So what happened after Veganuary?

When did I first think about veganism or a plant-based diet?

If you’ve read my vegetarian story, you’ll know when I started experimenting with vegetarianism but the vegan lifestyle never once entered my head at that point. I had heard of it, but I didn’t know a lot about it and because I was changing my diet for only a month, I didn’t do any further research on it.

The first time that I truly thought about not only the diet but this way of living was towards the beginning of last year (2016) My ex-boyfriend went vegan while we were still together at Easter in the same year but he had been talking about it for a few months. So when he did change to a vegan diet, it was really the first time I seen how it wasn’t as inconvenient as I first thought. Bearing in mind that he wasn’t gluten free and didn’t have intolerances, he seemed to cope very well with the diet changes. When we cooked together, we stuck to a vegan diet and mainly used recipes from my Deliciously Ella books because they were easy and weren’t filled with a million ingredients.

(Still to this day, one of my favourite meals to make. Sweet potato, quinoa and turmeric curry. It’s so delicious!)

When we went out I still had my regular cheese on my pizza while he either had a vegan cheese or if that wasn’t an option, he done without. His family raised chickens so I would always take some eggs home with me but the latter months of our relationship, I stopped eating so many eggs. Not for any particular reasons but the thought of eating eggs just made me feel a little more sick. I ate them from time to time but not as much as I used to. I was still having cow’s milk in my tea but I was drinking green tea more often than a regular breakfast tea.

20171121_211847.jpg(Forever drinking some sort of green tea now!)

Once that relationship ended and I moved back home, it took some time adjusting to being on my own again and cooking for one, but one of my most comforting past times was to cook despite feeling sad that I wasn’t sharing that experience with someone else. I experimented with new recipes; I tried nut milks in my breakfast tea and while nothing quite tasted the same as cow’s milk, I was slowly veering away from regular tea and drinking more green tea. At this stage, I definitely thought about the possibility of changing to a plant based diet but I didn’t have the complete urge to in that moment.

When did I start to make a change?

Towards the middle of December once I came back from Rome, I started thinking about what I wanted from the New Year and what I wanted from my life. I wasn’t in a great place mentally and hadn’t been for months; I felt so stuck in one place and had no idea who I was or where I belonged (sounds like a midlife crisis doesn’t it?). I got approved for a house shortly before I left for Rome (This was included in my life update which you can read here) so I used that as my motivation to have another change in my life (as if moving out straight after Christmas wasn’t a big enough change for me, right?). That’s when I decided to take part in Veganuary.

20171121_213028.jpg(One of my favourite meals from Raw Food Rebellion; the chickpea curry was amazing. Still devastated that they have closed down now.)

If you don’t know what Veganuary is, it’s a challenge to be completely vegan for one month. I thought it would be a good way to test the waters to see if I could do it and to see how I felt about it afterwards. After the month was over, I wrote a blog post about my experience and why I done it (That’s linked up above too.) I had it all planned out; for New Year’s Eve, I had got myself one of my favourite lemon cupcakes and made sure I ate it that night. Once midnight hit, I was vegan and I didn’t turn back. If you haven’t read my blog post about the month itself, I would recommend you do. I talk about accidental slip ups and my overall experience of eating plant based for a month.

20171121_213206.jpg(If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I drool over these on a regular basis.)

Apart from Veganuary, what was my motivation?

My health was my motivation for this change. I know a lot of people do it for the animals and that’s fantastic for them, and it did enter my mind when I first became vegetarian but it wasn’t a main focus for me.

I consider myself a healthy person; I was avidly going to the gym, I was eating a relatively healthy diet but I wasn’t satisfied. I was going through a very transitional and strange time in my life including depressive episodes and anxiety so this all was a component of my dissatisfaction. So it wasn’t just a physical health reason, it was also to try and balance out my mental health too. However, no matter where you are in life, food will always play a huge role so knowing I wanted to add in extra vegetables and fruits into my diet, that helped the transition further.

It wasn’t long after when animal welfare came into my mind. It’s hard going through life as a vegan and not think about how animals are being treated; I don’t know how I went through life regardless of what food I was eating and not think about it. I haven’t watched that many documentaries about animal welfare and Veganism so I definitely want to educate myself more over the next year about these topics whether that’s through books or documentaries (If you have any good recommendations, please send them through!).

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In January, I’ll be one year as a Vegan so I’ll have a post about what I’ve learned along the way so stay tuned for that and of course, I’ll have it linked here when it’s up. Thank you so much for reading today and if you have any blog posts about how you turned vegan, please send them my way, I love reading other people’s journeys.

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SS: Sunday Saves (#62)

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Thank you for clicking onto today’s brand new Sunday Saves, I hope you’re having a lovely day so far, whatever you might be doing. If you’re new here, hello! This Sunday Saves has been created by me to come to you on a weekly basis to show you three blog posts that I have found throughout the week (or on the day I write the blog post) that I thought were interesting and I wanted to share them with those who read this blog. Today we’re not working from a theme so I’ll be talking about attitudes towards morning routines, a cruelty free exfoliation method and veganism not being a cure.

1) Kat Horrocks (How My Morning Routine Has Changed My Life)

I just want to gush for one second; Kat is one of my favourite YouTubers and I could honestly sit and watch her all day so if you haven’t came across her YouTube channel, I’ll link it here. Now onto her blog post, Kat is a huge advocate for morning routines and since the beginning of the year, I’ve been trying to experiment with a morning routine myself and I find it really therapeutic. In her post, she talks a little about her actual routine but more so about how it makes her feel, so if you feel like a morning routine won’t make a difference, look at Kat’s post and it might inspire you to look at your morning differently.

2) Pale Girl Rambling (Konjac Sponge)

Since changing my diet to completely plant based back in January, over the last few months I’ve been changing up my skin care, make-up and hair care to be vegan friendly. It’s all a work in progress because let’s face it, if I had the money to completely change everything in one go, I would but skin care, hair care and make-up are all expensive. One thing that has been missing from my skin care routine is an exfoliator; I know LUSH have one or two but I find they can be very harsh for every day use so I want to explore a new avenue. I’ll let PGR tell you about the sponge but she gives it rave reviews which makes me even more intrigued.

3) Spooky Kiah (Veganism Doesn’t Cure Everything)

I remember one of the first things I heard about turning vegan or going plant based was “Oh you’ll have clear skin” or “any digestive problems you have will become a lot better”. Well, as someone who has been eating plant based for almost eight months, I can tell you that neither or those are true and Kiah feels the same way. She talks more about the medication sides of things but it’s definitely an interesting read if you’ve heard this type of vegan myth before.

Thank you so much for reading this week’s Sunday Saves! Remember to have a read of everyone’s posts and give them a follow if you want to see more from them. If you’ve missed any of my other Sunday Saves, click here and you can see my other sixty one editions. Have a great day! 

Life Update #2: Spring 2017

I’m back with another life update! My last one was just before Christmas during Blogmas when I was just back from the stunningly beautiful Rome so I thought almost five months later, I was due an update. (If you want to read that update: it’s right here!)

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In December, I spoke about finding out about renting my first house before I went on holiday…

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(This was me the day I moved in, I was very excited!)

I moved in on 4th January and it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’m so unbelievably happy living on my own and it just proves that it really was something I needed to do. Of course I’ve been here a few months and my spare room is still a mess, I haven’t got a rug for the living room and I have a few pictures that I still want to hang up, but apart from that, I think I’ve settled in quite well.

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If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you’ll know that I went from being a vegetarian to eating a plant based diet permanently…

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(Just one of my obsessions from one of my favourite places in the world, Tony and Jen’s. Yep, gluten free AND vegan. Match made in heaven right?  )

I’ll not talk too much about why I changed to a plant based diet because I have talked about it a lot recently; I wrote a post about completing Veganuary (right here), I documented what I ate during Veganuary (right here) and I spoke about how I became vegetarian last March (right here) so you can check those posts out for more detail.

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Very very recently I also bought my first little kitten…

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I used to be terrified of almost all animals (except goldfish) but over the past year or so, things have changed. For the majority of the year last year, I lived with my ex-boyfriend and he had the cutest cat ever, and that was really my first experience of living with another animal. My Dad had dogs but because we were only ever there one or two nights a fortnight, I never felt like I lived with them. So that experience of living with a cat showed me that there’s nothing to be really scared of and I should embrace the love of a little furry munchkin (Even though when she does jump up on me, I still get a little scared) Plus my three best friends all have cats and they’re both adorable, so even more help to show me that I can do it.

So once I knew I was moving out of my family home, I told myself to wait a few months to get myself settled in before thinking about getting a cat and that’s what I did. I named her Audrey and when I got her, she was about nine weeks old.

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I’m very grateful to be who I am and where I am today…

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(Outstanding photography skills and credit goes to the wonderful photographer that took this during one of our lunch dates.)

I feel very supported by my lovely group of friends, my family have been fantastic since moving out (except for the change to my diet, they’re still coming to terms with that) and I’m very blessed to be in a new, happy and healthy relationship. I now believe everything happens for a reason and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

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I hope you enjoyed this little life update and if you want to keep up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter or over on Instagram.

So what happened after Veganuary?

At the beginning of January, I lay out my New Year’s Resolutions for the year and the first one was to complete Veganuary, which I’m very happy to say that I did! So today’s post is giving an overview of the month and what happened next. If you want to read about my journey to vegetarianism, you’ll find it here and if you want to see a typical “What I Eat In A Day: Veganuary Style” you’ll find that post right here.

So what were my thoughts on Veganuary? I really enjoyed it but I didn’t expect not to enjoy it. I only accidentally messed up twice and both times were with food I was given at Christmas; jellybeans and fudge to be exact. I was a little annoyed at myself at the time but reflecting back on it, I tried my best, I didn’t do it on purpose and I was able to move on without thinking “I had ruined everything.” That is a massive step for me.

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I didn’t have a lot of challenges throughout the month. If I was going to restaurants, I rang in advance if it was somewhere I haven’t been before but I believe throughout January, I mainly stuck to restaurants and cafes I knew I would be okay in. I did slightly miss my cups of tea with milk, it’s a habit I have had for almost twenty years so to be without it, it was definitely different but I quickly got past it.

A few family members did ask me “When was I going to eat real food again?” Because fruit and vegetables aren’t real food apparently. Having to defend my point almost everytime I seen them for, I would say, a month and a half got very tiring after a while. When you grow up with the concept of meat, potatoes and two vegetables on your plate for so many years (and I believe this is why a lot of the generation above me still haven’t come to terms with a vegan or plant based diet), depending on who you are; it can take a while to get your head around the fact that when you take away the meat (and the potato for me of course!) then what do you do to substitute that. From that point of view, it’s understandable why some people have a hard time with that.

So February 1st came and I thought I was going to go back to eating my regular bread (You’d be shocked to see how difficult it is to find gluten free bread that’s also vegan), back to my regular cup of tea that I’ve grown up with ever since I started watching Coronation Street with my rich tea biscuits at the old age of seven or even treat myself to a lemon cupcake that I love finding in the Sainsburys Free From aisle. I couldn’t have been further from the truth…

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I had zero urge to drink another cup of regular tea, I wanted to stick to my gluten free vegan bread and the cupcakes no longer fell into my basket. I don’t mind not being able to eat most of the cakes in the Free From section and I don’t mind having a green tea instead of a regular tea (I love green tea anyway!).

The one thing I have changed though is I don’t call myself a vegan. I’m not a fan of labels but I think in a diet context, it can get very complicated. Having a plant based diet and being vegan are of course, two very different things. I haven’t changed all my make-up to cruelty free, the same goes for my body, skin and hair care and I haven’t made that transition with my clothes and shoes yet. So right now, I don’t feel comfortable saying I’m a vegan, I prefer to say I’m eating a plant based diet. When I’m talking about my diet to someone who doesn’t know a lot about eating vegan or when I’m perhaps calling a restaurant, I will state I’m vegan, just to make things less complicated. (See, it can be complicated!) Another example is when I’m hash tagging on Twitter or talking about it online in general, then I will use both terms, just because I know people will look for tips for transitioning to becoming vegan and my plant-based experience will help if I use vegan in a diet sense (Again, just a little complicated, right?)

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Overall, I’m really happy eating a plant based diet and I’m so glad I’ve finally made the transition. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time now but leaving at home and not having as much cupboard and fridge space for all my food made it difficult so I knew when I moved into my own place, it was the perfect time to start.

Did you take part in Veganuary? What did you find the most challenging? I’d love to talk to more people who took part in Veganuary so leave me a comment below or tweet me over at @RetroSnowflake on Twitter or @RetroSnowflake on Instagram.

 

SS: Sunday Saves (#14)

Welcome to the fourteenth Sunday Saves post! I’ve been absent from the blog for two weeks now! ): I’ve really missed it. Something accidental happened to my laptop so I’ve been without it for a while, but now I’m back. I’ve still been on my social media though so I didn’t completely disappear.  If you’ve missed any of my other Sunday Saves, click here to discover new blog posts that I found interesting and wanted to share.

1. See The Stars (Olsen Twins DVD’s: Childhood Favourites)

This was a post I seen a few weeks ago before my laptop went bust. It’s such a cute post! I think everyone was a Mary-Kate and Ashley fan at some point when they were younger, I loved them. Two of my favourites were “Switching Goals” and “Winning London”, and I loved their TV show, “So Little Time”. And I always wanted all their merchandise! Sarah Lauren talks about her favourite films of the sisters and tell us little mini stories of what she can remember about the films and how she got them.

2. Tally Rye (10 Healthy Habits I Swear By)

For the first time, I’m introducing YouTube videos into my Sunday Saves! My first one comes from Tally Rye who I discovered through Zanna Van Dijk, they co-own the company “Girl Gains” and I didn’t actually know that Tally had a YouTube channel until I seen her blog. She talks about the ten healthy habits she swear by each day; now some are ones you will have heard before like drinking your water, eating a balanced diet but Tally just talks to you about it and isn’t aggressive or over-powering with it, she’s just very chilled but informative. Can’t wait to go through more of her videos later.

3. Katy Belle (Why It’s Okay To Not Have A Ton Of Friends)

As soon as I read Katy’s post, it had to be included. I am in the exact same boat! I don’t have a lot of friends. Sure, I have friends but I have the very minimal amount and that’s taken me a good few years to make peace with. Katy talked about watching Friends and wanting a group of friends like that for yourself and I couldn’t agree more. It’s the same for me when I go on Facebook and I’ll see all these night outs with “the girls”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a “going out” type of person, but I think it’s more the fact that it’s a group of supportive women surrounding each other, having a good time. It’s all about quality, not quantity and I would much rather have three really great people in my life than twenty not-so great people (and yes Katy, I’m waiting on a Tinder style app for new friends too!)

4. Hollie Wakeham (What is a VEGAN? Why so much hate?)

If you’re looking for a video that talks about veganism, the ethics behind it, the story of why a person goes vegan and just a friendly looking face who you won’t feel intimidated by, please watch Holly’s video. I’m not vegan myself, my boyfriend is, but watching videos on veganism or plant based diets do interest me even though I hadn’t made that change myself yet. Holly doesn’t shout at you, she gives you the facts but with a smile and with the knowledge that you know she is passionate about her choice and all she wants to do is share it with the world.

5. Memoirs and Musings (Musings: Can Everyday Be Special?)

Char talks about something that almost everyone does, and I can agree, it annoys me too but I do the exact same thing! “Oh I’ll keep that for a special occasion” but then, realistically, does that occasion ever come around? Probably not. I have the perfect example! So a few years ago, I used to buy myself a few sets of really fancy underwear then for every day use, I would just buy ordinary underwear and bra sets. The really fancy ones would never get used and they were just sitting there gathering dust. So one day after I had gotten paid, I went into Ann Summers and bought myself fancy bras and fancy underwear and I wear them every day. Yes, every day! Why? Because if I feel like I can feel special and really pretty on special occasions with underwear, why can’t I do it every day? Now, I’m not saying I wear a really gorgeous dress everyday or I glam up my make-up every day but I feel like with underwear, you can get away with it because really, it’s just you that’s seeing it.

6. Allison Anderson (How to Organize Your Life and be Productive)

Lately I have been so into organisation videos and blogs, mainly because they motivate me to clean and sort out my life (which I have still to do!) I found Alison through Ingrid Nielsen but I tend to watch Alison more now because I feel like my interests have grown with Alison and I find her more relatable now. She talks about minimalism which is a subject that fascinates me, much like a plant based diet, I love reading about it, I just haven’t taken the plunge yet. In this video though, she goes through tasks you can do to try and make it so much easier for you to be clean, not just you but for your home and your life, so everything after that, is just a little easier.


And that’s it for this week’s Sunday Saves! I hope you enjoyed reading (and watching) this week’s post. Let me know if you like the YouTube aspect to my Sunday Saves, and if you have any posts you want to send my way, tweet me at @RetroSnowflake