Title image courtesy of http://www.gourmandandgourmet.com.au
About 8 months ago, Sel went vegan. She’d already cut down on meat prior to that, but she finally decided to do away with the dairy, eggs, honey and so on. Come November ’16, which was World Vegan Month (unofficially?), I decided to try it myself. I admit I’d had a head start. Most meals I eat at home are primarily vegetarian, and sometimes vegan anyway. The difference was that I always gravitated to a meat dish when we went out. Or at least something covered in cheese. Or both. Not anymore.
The idea was to try it through November and see what happened. Why? Partly for the health benefits, partly to do my small part to stop cruelty to animals, and partly to support Sel.
First up, this isn’t a preachy post. I don’t have a problem with people who eat animal products; I did it for 34 years. I can’t stand people who preach. Unfortunately veganism & preaching seem to be closely tied together, especially on social media, which is one of the reasons I actively resisted it for as long as I did, even when Sel had switched. I’m happy to discuss it when people ask specific questions (as with any interest/hobby/lifestyle choice), but I definitely won’t be judging others, or trying to impose it on anyone.
So, how am I doing? 4-5 weeks in and it’s been about 75% positive. I’m super lucky to have someone who prepares vegan meals; for me, this would have been near impossible if I was on my own, or with someone who wasn’t vegan. When I’m prepared, it’s a piece of cake (dairy-free cake). When I’m hungry and walk into a supermarket, I feel like a lion standing in the middle of an abattoir, and ask myself why I’m even bothering. Then it comes down to a little willpower, and a little reminder as to why I chose to do it, and I’m good again.
It has some benefits; I eat a lot more salad and legumes, and I feel better. My skin is clearer, and my stomach doesn’t bloat, especially now that I’ve stopped chugging down giant bottles of chocolate milk. With that, my sugar intake has lowered too. At work, I don’t even notice the chocolate fundraiser box up on the cupboard anymore – those chocolate bars were way too tempting, especially at 2pm when the afternoon dragged! Now that I can’t eat them, I forget the box is there.
There’s been some frustrations too; Having only one item on a menu in a restaurant is common, and sometimes the one item still needs an adjustment (“Can I please have the corn fritters without the poached egg? Thanks”), and it becomes a skill to start asking for these adjustments without becoming one of those people. There’s also been some unintentional slip ups – ordering a falafel sandwich, with mustard instead of tzatziki, only to realise the bread was buttered. Oops. Will a spread of butter make a difference in the bigger context? No. But it’s about getting myself into the habit of what I will and won’t eat, and it’s easier to follow if I make everything black & white.
This post (and a few more in the future) are simply progress reports for something that still feels like an experiment. I don’t want to be that guy, and I don’t want to turn away all you carnivores out there because you think I’m going to bombard you with judgemental posts. I won’t.
So, after only 4 weeks I can’t imagine going back to what was so normal for 34 years, and in that respect, I find it interesting that I’ve been able to (mostly) adjust to something so new in such a quick timeframe.
Are any of you vegan/vegetarian? When did you switch and how did you find it?