Hey guys, so today marks one year of being Vegan and I thought I would make a long blog post about my journey to it. So if your interested in going Vegan or are already Vegan and love to find out what made others make the change, then stick around. If you don't enjoy long story posts then feel free to browse through the photos. (Sorry for the bad photos as well, I just wanted to show you my progress journey)
Anyway, it was about February 2016 that I discovered the word Vegan. I never really knew what the hell it meant. I had heard of Vegetarianism and I had gone through phases of that when I was younger. I randomly started talking to a guy that was Vegan in University and I knew a girl who was Vegan too that was in a friendship circle of mine. Neither of them pushed Veganism onto me, instead they were just there to answer questions that I had. I remember making Vegan Cupcakes to fundraise for our final exhibition. But it was funny because the following month of March 2016, I went to Laduree in London!
Whilst in London I was studying for my Internship and I still ate cheese and chocolate and ate at Laduree! But I didn't drink milk all the time, often would drink Almond or Soya. But at Laduree I had Cows Milk and Dairy cakes... so it was hard to begin with. I was developing some digestion issues at the beginning of the year and I thought I had developed IBS or some kind of stomach disease. I was really ill, and kept getting colds. Even when I made the Valentines day cakes I was sipping on Hot lemon water. I felt sick and was bloated and just felt off. I started to take gluten out of my diet, but nothing really happened.
At the end of March about the 23rd to Easter time, I was starting to make the full connection. I discovered the video on Youtube called 'Dairy is Scary' and then I educated myself that Cows Milk is actually breast milk for a baby calf, and the idea that we can't actually digest it and don't need it, made me think twice!! It clicked and I started to remove dairy from my diet. It was around about Easter time and I had a dairy free Easter, I had changed all the food in my cupboard and was plant-based for about 3 weeks, until I said to myself if I'm going to do this I want to know everything about Veganism. I started watching all the documentaries, other Youtuber's videos, like Brianna Jackfruitson, The Vegan Couple, Henya Mania, and many more, just to educate myself. I was so angry that we weren't told about these things... we believed everything the media, advertisements, everything, we fell for. We need milk for calcium, we need meat for our muscles to grow e.t.c It is all such BS!
After watching Earthlings about five times during April 2016 I had thrown all the tested on animals toiletries out and all the food and literally went Vegan over night. I discovered Supreme Banana on Youtube and made a Soda Cake, (from her Video Vegan Life Hacks) because I missed sweet things whilst starting to go Vegan.
Once I saw the Chicken go up this huge hill, I knew then straight away that I was heading in the right direction. It was kind of a funny metaphor, like my life is going up from here. Once I saw the Chicken I didn't want to go up and kill it, I didn't salivate over it or thought mm you would taste nice. No I was scared for its life, I didn't want it to get run over on the hill, I wanted to rescue it. These instincts are herbivorous, not a Carnivores (as many of admit that we are?)
(Ignore the date on the camera its wrong its May 2016)
That was it, no going back from here. I had made the decision. I was telling everyone I was Vegan, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. Things were a bit weird with my friends and I felt isolated for a while. My family thought it was a phase, my Dad was terrified that I would lose weight because theres nothing too eat. I went to London for our final exhibition in Brick Lane. Whilst being there, there was a Vegan Market and I ate so much food! I then realised hey, I'm not missing out on anything, there are burgers and cakes that are so much tastier, and cruelty free! I visited Pret a Manger, because of their great selection of Vegan foods. I felt so different and happier.
May 2016 and June 2016 was the time to focus on finishing my degree. I was still quite uneducated about what to cook myself (Vegan wise) and lived on carbs, rice, potatoes and basic food. (Also cake from Urban Zen)
In July I went on a family holiday to Cornwall, I was still a bit worried about where I would get my food from whilst being away from home. I lived on basic things like pasta, potatoes, pizza's that I would eat all the time before I went Vegan. It was easy and it was comfort. However, it was so hard being on Holiday with my family when they were constantly drinking Milk and didn't think on the same brainwave as me. They couldn't see the cruelty, and it used to anger me that they know about it, but they continue to do it? Like giving my niece Cows breast milk, when she's not a baby calf, she doesn't need breast milk anymore. She would get the same amount of protein and calcium from plant milks and plant foods like veggies... Anyways, I still managed and had a great time in the warm weather and found a Vegan Fudge shop that tasted amazing, I had a Vegan pasty too, thank gosh it was Vegan because at the time I thought it had cheese in it, I freaked out and still didn't believe that it was Vegan. (Paranoid Vegan) haha.
July was the turning point for my Vegan journey, its when I headed to Swansea's Vegan Festival. I didn't have a clue who anyone was. I went alone, ate lots of food, which you can check out on the post I wrote about my experience there.
In August I started going back to the Gym again, I felt that now I wanted to gain muscle and be a Vegan and see how it goes. I can tell you that to begin with I was terrified, I have always had issues with weight and could never actually put weight on. Even if I consumed so many calories... so I was a bit worried about joining the gym and not being able to eat enough being Vegan. But I gave it a go and went there about twice a week to get myself back into it. I stopped in Sept 2015 to finish my University work for May 2016. So I took a huge gap away from the Gym! before that I went for about a year as well, to try and get over my ex.
At the Swansea Vegan festival, I met a friend that I didn't realise that I would be so close to. He's a lot older than me and its great to share company with another Vegan and go to festivals together as friends.
At the beginning of September I went to my first Vegan Meet up at Primrose Hill in London. I wanted to meet Brianna Jackfruitson so badly. I also met so many other people like Vegan Spartan, Robbie Lockie and lots of other wonderful Vegans. I was so blinking shy though, and my self esteem just hit the floor. I suffer from Social Anxiety sometimes especially meeting people who I think are inspiring. I didn't think I was good enough to be there, so I ended up getting stuck with an old guy talking about Chem Trails and other conspiracy theories. It was nightmare! I wish I had the confidence to socialise more in those situations.
It came to my 24th Birthday and I headed back home to spend time with my family. I made my very first Vegan Laduree Inspired Birthday cake, spent time with my dogs. I headed to Bristol and spent the day shopping in Lush and had THE best Vegan burger in Cafe Kino, Bristol! I found the place thanks to HappyCow and its great reviews! My mindset had changed completely around about September on the way I think about my conscious decisions as a consumerist, and the fact that I wanted to try and live a life of memories instead of shopping and buying stuff... Your mind really does rewire itself when you go Vegan, I guess you become more compassionate about your actions and they way your existence effects the world?
I loved being in the Countryside and seeing all the animals, but its so sad at the same time because I knew that these cows that I had smoothed, were going to be sent away for slaughter. Its funny that I had never ever thought of that before I was Vegan, it had never crossed my mind that they were in the fields for food.
By September I was making delicious recipes, I had made amazing Vegan friends in my town, I was having such a good time. I met a guy I really liked at the gym and we started to hang out loads. I made him delicious Vegan food (little did I know back then, that things would go so horribly wrong)
In October I attended my first Vegan Activist march in London along with the Vegan guys from my local community. I was so excited and so nervous at the same time, it was such a huge buzz to be around all these Vegans who were on the same page as you. The positive energy was insane, you could feel it in the air! everyone was smiling and chanting. It was the best experience of my life. We had finished the march about 4-5pm and headed back home. I had never felt so proud to be a part of a such a huge growing movement, that hopefully will keep on getting more and more mainstream.
At the beginning of October I went back home for a Family meal for my Dads birthday. Previously, I had a huge phobia about eating out at restaurants, for some strange reason I had anxiety about it. I think it was the fact that I already suffer from Social Anxiety and its hard to calm down in those situations. So when you feel sick and nervous and then try to eat, the two just don't work together. For some strange reason though, when I went Vegan, that phobia resolved itself. For the first time in ages, I felt proud of myself for being mature and having a meal with my family. The food was Vegan thank god, which is hard to find in a Countryside pub thats a complete Carnivore's dream. Whilst everyone was tucking into their corpses, not even finishing it, because apparently it wasn't nice (undercooked) or cold. I thoroughly enjoyed my stuffed peppers.
At the end of October was the Vegan Bake Off, which was a day of eating loads of cake with Vegan friends and afterwards headed to No.6 to drink some Vegan Wine. What a day!
November came around and lots of exciting things were happening, I recently started working for HappyCow and attended Vevolution in London to represent them. It was literally a dream, after going Vegan and completing University all I have ever wanted since then, was to find a job that was to do with Veganism. That would help the world and help animals, and make a positive impact on this planet. Its so easy to just fall into a day job that your not passionate about, just to get money and pass the time. Fight for what you want in life and think about how your existence is positively impacting those around you!
Anyway, I got on the train at 5am in the morning to attend Vevolution at 10am. That was the best day ever, I thought I was in a dream.
At the end of November I had a Vegan Christmas Dinner with about 30 others Vegans and it was the best thing ever, I sat at the table again along with lots of others and had such a fun time.
Don't be fooled ALWAYS READ THE LABEL! I bought this and threw it away, most people would eat it because they spent their money on it, but to me its not food!
To top of the year of going Vegan I had the most wonderful Christmas I could ever ask for. Previously there has always been a disconnection, a tension or just something that didn't feel right. Not sure what it was but this year, there were no arguments none of that awkward feeling. It was so chilled and everything I could of asked for. The day was almost too perfect! I sat down with my family which is something I have never done and we all ate Christmas dinner together. It was bliss!
I did my first bit of Activism in town to inform the public that we cannot allow animals to be there for our entertainment, they don't belong to us! It's a form of exploitation, it was such a great experience and such an adrenaline rush. After 10 mins of standing there with a huge banner, they took the reindeers away. There was such a huge Christmas crowd so hopefully it made a few think twice about Veganism.
Once I began educating myself, life changed for the better. I was more energetic, more conscious and more happier, but on the other hand its tough, because you forever live with this fire in your soul to want to change everyone around you. You want to open their eyes up too! when sometimes people are just so ignorant to the truth, they won't change. When your family and friends know the information but they still won't change... when you can see how manipulative advertising industries are... it can be tough. But it also fuels your passion for activism and to be the best voice for the animals and the vegan movement as possible.
I'm going to leave this post at that and continue with 2017 in part 2.