All over the world, veganism is becoming an increasingly popular lifestyle choice among the young and old. In Britain alone, over 3.5 million people identify as vegan while the vegan hashtag has over 80 million posts on Instagram. And as research on carbon emissions linked to farming continues, veganism is likely to become even more popular. Read on for my reflections on a month of veganism!
I decided to transition to a fully plant-based diet on May 22nd 2019. It’s been an interesting month, to say the least! What I thought would be difficult has been easy and things I hadn’t even considered as potential problems have cropped up out of nowhere. Most interesting of all, it has been the reaction of friends, family and colleges that I have found most difficult. But I’ll get to that in a second! Firstly, I’ll give you a bit of back story. Before becoming vegan, I was vegetarian for a year. I wanted to lower my carbon footprint and that continues to be my main motivation, although ethics and health are other driving factors.
WHAT IS VEGANISM?
If you want to read an article on what the positive and negative effects would be if the world went vegan overnight, check out this article – What Would Happen in the World Suddenly Went Vegetarian? I say check this out because I’m not planning on getting into the morals, motivations, pros or cons to veganism any more than I have in the last paragraph! You guys can form your own opinions and research the movement even more if you’d like. Instead I’m going to focus on my reflections on a month of veganism to throw some light onto the subject and hopefully answer some of your questions!
PEOPLES REACTIONS: THE GOOD AND THE BAD
GOOD – Unsurprisingly, my vegan friends are over the moon with my decision. I’ve had a lot of help and support from them and countless meet-ups to try new vegan restaurants. You’ll know if you’ve read my Ultimate Vegan Food Guide to London the I am a fan of trying new vegan restaurants anyway, so this has been great. My closest non-vegan friends have also been pretty supportive in that they haven’t had a bad word to say and have let me get on with it! I have had a few questions for example, ‘Why are you doing this?’, ‘Are you getting enough protein?’ and even ‘but have you heard the theory that cows self-domesticated themselves?’! But generally, people have just been curious which I think is great.
BAD – Unfortunately I have had some pretty negative reactions from people too. It’s a shame, mainly because I don’t actually talk about being vegan day to day at all. It may seem like I do as I’m writing about it now! But I choose not to mention my diet choices because I don’t want people to stereotype me as a ‘preachy vegan’. I’ve had messages on Instagram saying things like ‘FAKE NEWS, EAT A BURGER’. Worst of all has been the reaction at work. From being told my performance is being negatively impacted by the fact I’m not getting enough nutrients to my brain to being shouted at about how veganism is stupid. It hasn’t been great and did upset me quite a bit, mainly because being singled out is pretty embarrassing!
HOW IS MY BODY FEELING?
Overall, I haven’t noticed a huge change. I’ve been working out this month a lot more than I usually would because I thought why not take this health kick to the max? So, my body is feeling toned and slim. But in terms of how it’s functioning, nothing major to report. Some people told me it would take a long time to get used to being vegan but I found the transition fine in terms of energy levels and skin appearance.
HOW IS MY PURSE FARING?
I thought being vegan would be cheap but really it isn’t any different. Where I was buying eggs/chocolate/butter before, now I’m buying an alternative which costs roughly the same. To go from omnivore to vegan you’d probably not notice a different either because just as meat is expensive, so are meat alternatives! I think you can make being vegan as cheap or expensive as you want. I like to treat myself to an M&S stir-fry with their Plant Kitchen chicken because it’s delicious despite not being the most economical! Likewise, when I’m making chilli sin carne at home, I spend less than £2 on a meal that serves 4. So, a month of veganism hasn’t really affected my purse at all!
WHAT HAVE I BEEN EATING?
To be honest, my diet hasn’t changed much at all. I was practically plant-based before this month of veganism. However, I’ve had to cut out chocolate, cake and pastries which were my down fall before! Luckily for me, I’ve managed to find pretty amazing alternatives so am not missing these too much. I didn’t eat cheese or drink milk before either so that has been easy. At home, I tend to cook a lot of one pot meals such as curry, dahl, salad and stir fry. I have also been occasionally adding a soya-based protein powder and B12 flakes to my meals.
TRAVELLING WHILE VEGAN: WAS IT OK?
Since becoming fully vegan I have visited one city, Copenhagen. I wasn’t sure what being vegan would be like in Denmark but did do a little research on Happy Cow before leaving and was feeling pretty positive. However, the friends I was visiting aren’t vegan so that made things a little more complicated for me. They were super accommodating though and we cooked a lot at home together. When out, it has to be said, being vegan wasn’t particularly easy. I did manage to find a completely vegan stand called Souls in Torverhallerne which was amazing! I also went to Max Hamburger. It’s very McDonalds-esque bar their massive vegan menu, including vegan mayo which was a great surprise. So overall, travelling as a vegan has been completely manageable so far!
– Is Travelling as a Vegan Easy? Advice and Country Recommendations
VEGAN OR VEGGIE: AM I STICKING WITH IT?!
100%! I don’t see myself going back at all. A month of veganism has flown by! What I’m doing makes me feel good and I’m loving being part of a whole new community of people in London and across the world! I’m also enjoying exploring new food options, meat alternatives and following new recipes. You may have seen on my Instagram stories, that I’m really into cooking! It’s like a new challenge, learning where to get protein, calcium, B12 from as a vegan and making sure that nutritionally I am sound! So yes, despite the low points of this month, I am soldiering on. Plus, I have the Shoreditch based, Vegan Nights event to look forward to next month! Can’t wait to try lots of new vegan food and get lot’s of cooking inspiration.