Veganism – as defined by vegansociety.com : “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”
From ‘junk food vegans’ to raw vegans, and everything in between, there’s a version of veganism to suit everyone. Yet one thing we all have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey – as well as products like leather and any tested on animals.
Food can be a polarizing subject. But we all know fruits and vegetables, beans and whole grains are good for you and something most of us need to eat more of! There are many studies of the health benefits of a plant based diet, and If you are interested we highly recommend watching “food matters” for more info!
So why did I decide to become Vegan?
Many years ago I came across a video online of a pig farm. It was grainy, hidden camera type footage of a newborn baby pig being swung around by his hind legs by one of the workers. He then smashes the piglet’s head in against a metal gate. This sweet little piglet made the most horrifying sound and to this day I can not get it out of my head. That day I decided that I at least understood that my food choices impacted the lives of other sentient beings. That I was not just eating “ham” I was eating flesh.
The desire to stop eating animals was instant ;however for our family it has taken years. For a few months we would be strong and then decide we want sushi and break down and eat it. Or we were sick of being outsiders at Christmas so we ate the buttered potatoes and that led to shame that we weren’t good vegans and we might as well binge eat McDonald’s. (We have decades of poor relationships with food.)
Then we came to this year. After my pregnancy with Oliver was over I slowly came back to my senses and stopped craving chicken tacos. I realized that I was swollen, I had heartburn, constant headaches and upset stomachs and it was time to really take my inventory and be honest about how my eating was negatively impacting my life. I also looked at Lucy, my sweet little girl, who I swore up and down would never in her life eat a chicken nugget was hooked on crap food. It absolutely broke my heart.
Our solution, was to dive in 100%. To stop on a dime and change our food choices, but to not just “eat vegan” to “be vegan”. Commit. Be responsible (ethically- and otherwise). After spending five or more years listening to the experts, watching the documentaries and dipping our toes into a radical change. This year we finally dove in and embraced the fact that we are going to be the weird ones and that’s OK with us the world opened up to us.
Thankfully we have the help of social media, YouTube and podcasts to keep us motivated. It can become really difficult when you start to feel like an outsider. Hopefully the people around you are at least understanding and at best supportive, but I have found even the most supportive people around you may not agree or even really understand why you are making the choices you are, and that is OK! This is my journey and as long as people are kind and loving I have space for them always.