In the spirit of Veganuary, best friend and newly decided vegan shares with me her high and lows of her new lifestylechoice and why making more meat-free choices is so important for our bodies and planet!
Why you decided to be a vegan?
It was really all down to a quiet Sunday night when I decided to watch Netflix to indulge in a new documentary. I’d recently been watching loads of health documentaries like GMO OMG, Hungry for Change, Vegetated etc…(I would highly recommend you watch all of those) which made me consider how important it is to know what you are actually eating and where your food comes from. So I suppose I already had that mindset.
Anyway, I decided to watch, what I thought would be, a similar documentary called Cowspiracy. Without completely exaggerating here this one documentary has changed my life and I would urge absolutely everyone to watch it. I could talk for hours and days about how eye opening and inspiring it is but you’ll just have to take my word for it for now. Through this documentary I learned that animal agriculture is the most destructive industry facing the planet today. Being a lover of our dear planet Earth and considering myself an environmentalist I totally freaked out at this fact. How could I possibly eat meat without thinking about this? As the documentary progressed I learned disturbing fact after disturbing fact about how damaging eating meat is both to our planet, our health and to animals.
So, instead of proclaiming my new found knowledge on how to save the planet to everyone I know and constantly getting angry about it, I decided to do something about it. And that is why I decided to become Vegan for 30 days. (and now full time veggie and part time vegan - don’t judge me i’m trying my best).
Most awarding thing about the challenge?
I think the most rewarding thing about doing the Vegan challenge was how it made me feel. Let me expand….For so long me and Sophie talked about (and still do, constantly) NEEDING to change the world and how we were going to do this as well as fund our dreams to travel the world. This challenge seemed like the perfect way to go about my everyday life and save the world at the same time! Now for some fun (actually not fun, really disturbing) facts to prove my point:
Livestock and their byproducts are responsible for 51% of Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions in comparison with transport (road, rail, air, marine) accounting for a mere 13%.
For every ONE hamburger eaten, that accounts for 660 gallons of water which is the equivalent of showering for two months. TWO MONTHS.
So, by doing something so simple as not eating animal products I was saving the world all by myself! As well as encouraging my family and friends around me to cut down on their meat consumption too. So yeah, I felt pretty great (and still do).
Hardest thing about being a vegan?
If I’m being totally honest the actual not eating animal products part wasn’t actually difficult for me. I found and tried loads of new recipes and loved discovering new meal ideas. The most difficult part was dealing with people’s reactions to me doing the Vegan challenge. "Why on earth would you do that?” “What do you even eat?” “So, eh, hows you vegan challenge thing going? *said in most patronising tone ever*". This along with weird looks was not the most fun in the beginning. Trying to explain to people that the reason I was doing this wasn’t for the sole reason I didn’t want to kill animals for food was difficult as people only associate veganism with animal cruelty. People didn’t want to accept the truth, they didn’t want to know. People actually told me they would never watch Cowspiracy because "what they didn’t know, the better". WHAT? What you DONT know, the better? My mind was blown. Ignorance is definitely not bliss.
Advice on someone wanting to be a vegan?
I would say the most important thing when you go vegan is to do some research before you start. Lots of people automatically think when you go vegan that you’ll be super healthy and loose loads of weight - SO not true. You can easily be an unhealthy vegan. I went into it pretty blind as I wanted to start the challenge as soon as possible. So for the first week or so I felt pretty tired and felt like I had no energy. I quickly realised this was because I wasn’t getting all my nutrients. Lots of people believe you can’t get a good source of protein without eating meat. News for you….its the biggest myth ever. Broccoli contains more protein per calorie than steak and, per calorie, spinach is about equal to chicken and fish. And then of course there’s lentils, black beans, chickpeas for protein too. It’s just about finding ways of fitting them into your meals - it’s not as hard as you think. It just takes a little more thought than you’re used to. But don’t you think its worth choosing compassion over convenience?
Favourite Vegan Recipe?
I have so many but I think my favourite, and my family’s, is Vegan Sheperd’s Pie. I think the best part of this meal is that it doesn’t feel like you’re eating a pile of vegetables. Its guilt free comfort food. And all the ingredients are things that you would usually use to make dinner - no usual/hard to source ingredients here. Thanks Jamie Oliver!
Finally, how do you live life with clarity?
I always try to be positive. I think its so vital to enjoying life. And being positive is all about putting everything into perspective - it’s never as bad as it seems in your mind! It sounds silly but I read motivational, positive quotes pretty much everyday, it works! I also try to buy ethical products where I can and buy locally too - it makes me feel like I’m making the world a better place. And finally, I hate routine. So I always try and mix up what I do every weekend and visit new places (or my favourite places) when I can. Variety is the key!