What I’ve Learned From Being A Vegan For One Year.

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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 veganΒ 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.

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(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.

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

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SS: Sunday Saves (#84) Veganuary.

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Good morning everyone and Happy Sunday! I hope you have all had a lovely weekend so far! Today I’m back with another Sunday Saves and this week’s theme is Veganuary; I thought it was appropiate since we’re coming up to the end of the month to share other people’s experiences and possibly some questions that non-vegans have. Unsurprisingly, I wrote about my Veganuary journey last year so if you have a minute, you should take a look at that too.

1) One Girl Two Cities (Vegan Diet for January – Half Way There!)

I wanted to share a story from someone who is taking on Veganuary and how they have very openly, admitted their mistakes but also their successes. Kendra (who blogs over on her own website, this is a guest blog post!) talks about being worried about going to a pot luck dinner so she took a meal with her, and she ended up not being the only one there with a vegan option. Also, you NEED to go and see the photograph of her pizza! It’s the biggest pizza I’ve seen, it looks incredible. Towards the end of the post she talks about not knowing what will happen in February and beyond, which I think many people taking part in Veganuary tend to feel the same.

2) Mercy For Animals (Dear Non-Vegans, It’s Not That I Can’t Eat That – It’s That I Won’t)

“Oh, you can’t eat that, can you?” This phrase doesn’t come up too often for me; more often that not someone will offer me food (which is very sweet of them!) and I admittedly say that I “can’t eat that”. For obvious reasons, if it’s something to do with my intolerances, the word “can’t” is the perfect response, because if I do, I get sick. If someone was intentionally floating food in my face, then that’s when I would step in and say that I “choose not to eat it” which in my opinion, is a very appropriate response and that’s why I loved Rachel’s view point on this.

3) The Foraged Life (How A Plant Based Diet Is Better For The Planet (And You)

Looking for sources and statistics on the impact a plant based diet can have not only on you but the planet? This is your blog post. Rachel talks about water conservation, cutting your carbon footprint and even recommends a number of documentaries to watch if you’re interested in finding out more.

4) Northern Life Magazine (9 Things Vegans Get Asked All Too Often)

Ever wanted to know the questions vegans get asked the most? Jen has you covered in this article for Northern Woman Magazine. Apart from the tofu and soy questions, I’ve been asked every other question which, if someone is genuinely interested, I’d sit and talk to them all about why I turned vegan and what I eat, but if you’re just looking for an argument, you won’t get that from me.

5) Will Flirt For Food (Mushroom and Sweet Potato Curry Recipe)

What a perfect way to end a post than with a recipe. Before I became vegetarian and vegan, chicken curries used to be one of my favourite dinners and since changing my habits, I haven’t had a curry that resembles a chicken curry since. From the photograph alone, it seems like Kaylea’s is very similar so I might have to give this a go.

That’s all for today’s Sunday Saves. If you have any Veganuary or simply any Vegan posts you love, please send me the links on my Instagram or Twitter, I absolutely love reading new posts on this subject. Have a great day!Β 

SS: Sunday Saves (#79)

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Good morning and happy Sunday! Can you believe we’re already in December? I’m so stressed trying to get everything sorted but my week off from the blog last week was much needed. So I’m back, fresh as daisy, to deliver you weekly Sunday Saves. I didn’t want to do a theme of Christmas every week for the next few weeks so it was purely coincidental that two of today’s posts are Christmas themed.

1) Hey There Robyn (Why I Won’t Be Doing Blogmas)

Robyn posts speaks to me, and quite frankly, it feels like I’ve written it. I took part in Blogmas last year but I only posted every other day. Even that was a lot of work and I went on a short holiday during the month so I had to make sure I was organised ahead of time. Posting every day or every other day is a lot of time, work and effort anytime of the year never mind Christmas so I praise those that can do it year after year. Like Robyn, I don’t have time this year; I feel like I have too much on my plate to commit to it. She also talks about blogging guilt and pushing herself too far, two things I do myself so I can completely relate.

2) Sian Blogs (Right Now | Finding Yourself Series)

This series of Sian’s that she has started up is something I know I’m going to be keeping up with. Many of the techniques used in this particular post are something which I used in a number of CBT sessions so it’s nice to see the technique being used more openly and explained on a blog post. Her series is called ‘Finding Yourself’ so I’ll let you click onto her post to let her explain in detail about it, but it’s an interesting one for those of you who feel like they need to explore themselves further.

3) The Ethical Evolution (Have A Very Vegan Christmas)

Is this year your first vegan Christmas? It’s my first so I’m excited to see what I’ll be having. If I’m able to make some Yorkshire puddings, I’ll be such a happy woman. Lizz has some top tips and advice for foods you can get from the supermarket in order to make your Christmas dinner not so complicated.

That’s all from me this morning. Make sure to take a look at all the posts and give their blogs a longer read if you like the look of their content. Have a great week!

 

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.

SS: Sunday Saves (#74)

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Hello all, and welcome back to another Sunday Saves! After my bumper Sunday Saves last week (which will be linked here) I’m back with another edition of three blog posts I have came across during the week that I wanted to talk about. This week I’ll be talking about being your own best friend, cleaning tips and changing your diet.

1) She Was A Day Tripper (How To Be Your Own Best Friend)

Are you your own best friend? That’s what Sarah is talking about in this particular post and I can honestly say that the only one of her points that I genuinely do one hundred percent of the time is enjoy my own company. She also talks about forgiving yourself and that is one of the hardest things to do but I am becoming better at it. It might be a short post but it will make you think about the relationship you have with yourself.

2) Fizzy Peaches (12 Cleaning Tips For A Clean Home)

Cleaning is one of the simplest housework chores that we have to deal with yet it fills me with anxiety like nobody’s business because I take on too much. I’ve spoken about it in therapy and we are working on a few techniques on how to combat the anxiety and get on with the housework a little easier. Lyndsay gives so many good tips on how to keep a tidy home with not too much effort and I think I might try the the minute challenge she talks about, I do love a challenge.

3) The Mother Hen (Lifestyle Change – I’m Going Vegan)

Before I get into Kathryn’s blog post, I have to say that she is one of my favourite Instagrammers especially her Instagram stories. I don’t have children so I can’t relate to her in that aspect but she just seems so down to earth and lovely! Anyway, her blog post talks about changing to a plant based diet and it always excites me when someone I follow chooses to do this because obviously I’m on the same journey. I can’t wait to see how she gets on!

Thank you so much for reading this week’s blog post. Remember to go and have a read of this week’s blog posts, I really recommend them. I hope you all have a lovely week!

 

SS: Sunday Saves (#71)

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Hello everyone! Welcome back to another Sunday Saves post; I’ve been a little quiet on the blog and over most of social media lately, but I hope to be back in action in full force very soon. This week I’ll be talking about weekly updates, unethical companies and anxiety.

1) Peta (Wonderful Wednesday #34 |2017)

When I came across Peta’s post, it was something that I wish I could do but I don’t feel like I would be able to find something to write about in my life every single week so I give absolute props to her for doing it every week. It’s a really lovely post talking us through her week, what she has enjoyed and her achievements so far. You could almost read it as what she is grateful for too, it’s like a gratitude journal almost. It’s very sweet.

2) Girl in Awe (Dilemma: Buying Food From Companies With Unethical Parent Companies)

The conversation raised in Rosie’s post is something that I believe we need to be talking about more yet it can get very complicated. Two examples she brings up which I see arguments over time and time again (especially in Facebook groups) are Urban Decay and Ben and Jerry’s. Both companies that cater for a vegan lifestyle, yet their parent companies test on animals. What do you do? Do you praise these primary companies for being kinder to animals or do you boycott them because their parent companies are still in the wrong? In the vegan community, it’s a difficult question and often has many diverse opinions about the topic overall.

3) Katie Lou (When Anxiety Takes Over)

If you’ve never experienced anxiety, I would be really surprised because I believe everyone does at some point but maybe some people don’t realise it’s happening. Katie Lou wrote a post on what happens to her when it happens and how she feels; I felt like I was reading about experiences that I had had. It’s so hard to describe to someone yet in the moment, you feel a thousand emotion and a million thoughts. It’s a short post but it perfectly captures how anxiety can make a person feel.

Well that’s all for this week, thank you so much for reading today’s post. Remember to go and take a read of the blog posts and if you ever want to shoot me any blog posts to read, send them my way over on my Twitter! Have a lovely rest of the day whatever you get up to.

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.Β 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!Β