This month marks a milestone. Only a small one but I have been Vegan for 6 months. So I thought I would share with you 6 things I have learnt and one thing that hasn’t changed.
1. It’s a lot easier than it was 10 years ago.
Yes, for those of you who don’t know I am 31. I tried “going Vegan” for the first time when I was 21. At the time I was living on Anglesey in North Wales (the place I grew up and miss so much) The internet although popular was still relatively new to the whole blogging scene and the stores, coffee shops and restaurants weren’t trying to pocket cash by jumping on a Vegan bandwagon, because it didn’t exist.
I know there is a very strong argument for “You can get vegetables from anywhere” and yes it is right but as a new Vegan, it’s not always all you want. When you first become Vegan it is hard to know how to make the foods you enjoyed before and finding substitutes you like really helps with the process. Now there is so much choice. Although eating just meat substitutes is not the healthiest nor ideal, you shouldn’t beat yourself up about not preparing the healthiest, prettiest, most instagramable meals at the start. Or ever!
2. It takes time to retrain your taste buds.
I can’t remember when but I was talking to my mum, who isn’t Vegan, and she said something along the lines of “Not everything is going to taste the same, treat things as new”. My mum wasn’t being argumentative nor were we even talking about being Vegan really but what she was getting at was just don’t try and find things that taste the same as things you liked before, find new things you like. It is true. Once you stop trying to make Yorkshire puddings or pizza taste exactly like it did before you gave up meat and dairy you will find it much easier to appreciate new tastes and textures. It takes time but once you just start trying new food without comparing you will really start to enjoy all sorts of foods.
3. You don’t need to get rid of all your leather goods
Okay, this one is controversial. When you first become Vegan you can feel so guilty about still having a leather bag or a wool jumper. You shouldn’t. You bought these before you became Vegan. If you want to and have the funds to replace everything, then do. If not? Don’t beat yourself up about it. Carry on using them. As they break, replace them with Vegan alternatives. If someone asks where you got that “Amazing” bag from use it as an opening for a discussion about Veganism. Explain why you will be replacing it with an equally AMAZING Vegan alternative when the time comes. I still have leather sofas. I can’t afford to replace them but I know when I do I will replace them with non-leather.
4. Cruelty-Free and Vegan Beauty and Household Products
This one is a little bit the same about the last one but maybe a bit quicker to replace but more confusing. Again, you don’t need to throw everything out.
Okay, you own a mac mascara so you throw it out and replace it with nars. Next thing you know nars are selling to China and you are left wondering “what does China have to do with it”. You start buying Method cleaning products then read something about water fleas and can’t find a deodorant that works for you. You decided to stop wearing makeup, deodorant, cleaning your house and cry in a corner eating Vegenaise from the jar (I highly recommend Vegenaise, maybe not eating it from a jar but you need it in your life).
Take your time. I am still trying to get it right. Still deciding on my stance about Parent Companies and constantly getting upset when I brush my teeth because my six month supply of Aquafresh I bought on offer still hasn’t run out.
It can also be expensive, especially depending on where you live. I am still really struggling to find a good Deodorant and Shampoo and Conditioner that is affordable, cruelty-free, Vegan and works for me.
5. It’s okay to unfollow “those” accounts you followed at the start
When I first became Vegan I found myself wanting to follow every Vegan Instagram and Twitter account and Join every Vegan Facebook group. I soon came to realise that wasn’t a good thing. My feeds were either full of photos and tweets about animal cruelty and images that upset me or photos of “perfect” Vegans and their “perfect” healthy food. It got tiring and uninspiring. The groups I had joined had very judgemental people who told me I was a bad person for having pets, no exceptions, no discussions. I don’t mind if you disagree with keeping animals as pets but at least be open to discussion. I have spoken to a Vegan friend who felt the same way about a lot of the Facebook groups.
So, over time I started to unfollow the accounts that clogged up my feeds with images of cruelty and left the groups. No matter how big the account was or how many times they came up in “Vegan insta accounts you must follow” articles. Follow what inspires you, that includes YouTubers too…Oh, the drama.
6. Even if you don’t advertise you are Vegan the one time you do eyes will roll
When you first become Vegan you may talk about it a lot. That includes; tweets, Instagram post, snapchats, instastories etc. It’s like anything new. New mothers and fathers do it (both the fur and non-fur baby variety), people with new partners, a new diet, a new job, car, fitness tracker…I could go on and on. BUT! If you are Vegan that first month or two of mentioning “Oh I’m not eating dairy anymore. Yes, that includes eggs” when offered a biscuit or a cake with your morning coffee at work will not be forgotten. Even if it was other people who were curious.
When I became Vegan I was very conscious of the reputation Vegans had. Always banging on about being Vegan, always mentioning how easy it was, how much better they felt. While you have every right to “bang on” expect that people will…
- Ask you stupid questions like “what if you were on a desert island”
- Try to waft meal smell at you
- Say “Yes, we know, Your Vegan” when someone asks you if you have any dietary requirements at an event’
People don’t like being reminded that you can live without harming animals. People don’t like to be reminded that the meat on their plate and the milk in their coffee came from suffering not a loving farm where the animals offer themselves up to be eaten.
I choose not to mention I am Vegan unless it comes up in conversation, I do use a lot of Vegan hashtags on Instagram though. If the person is genuinely curious I will engage in an intelligent conversation that normally ends in mutual respect for each other’s beliefs. If someone is trying to ask me where I get my protein from or telling me we are top of the food chain in a condescending manner? I will walk away. As soon as the conversation gets too uncomfortable for them they will resort to telling you how all Vegans “bang on” about being Vegan all the time, though you’re normally the only Vegan they know.
Lastly, the one thing that hasn’t changed. I still hate Mushrooms. They make me feel sick, the texture, the way they look and everything about them. Why are they in so many Vegan dishes!!
Okay, I am done.