Going Vegan. My First Year As Plant Based
Veganism, it’s everywhere and it’s growing fast! I’d long been thinking about going vegan and plant based.
I first considered it many years ago, but as is the same for many people, I always struggled with the idea of getting rid of cheese from my diet.
Are you toying with the idea?
Are you considering it but still confused by all the mixed messages?
You may be wondering what the real truth is and with Veganuary around the corner, may even still be tempted to join this slightly eccentric, alien like group of people, known as ‘vegans’.
If it’s still something you want to consider, I wanted to share my reasons and experience with you to see if it perhaps gives you some impetus to do it.
Before we really get stuck in, here are the 3 key reasons that convinced me about going vegan. When considering it, take into account all of them. As a package, they make a undeniably convincing argument.
1. Going vegan is good for your health overall.
2. Plant Based is good for the environment.
3. Veganism is ethical and good for your soul.
As a amalgamation, these 3 reasons for me, were more than enough to convince me about going vegan. Individually, they may not be enough for any one person, and especially the argument for diet. That’s because the information out there is still very confusing for the average person.
I’ve done enough research of my own to see the fallacies that get spread regarding meat and dairy consumption, hence why I’m convinced about veganism being the healthiest choice of diets.
Aside from a few instances, I’ve generally been a vegetarian all my life. I’ve eaten chicken and fish a handful of times over the years but aside from that I’ve kept my diet largely vegetarian.
For me, the idea of eating flesh regularly never appealed, and although I had my moments where I succumbed, it never became a regular staple of my diet.
I always thought that being vegetarian, was enough. But do enough research, and you’ll start to realise that in some ways, being vegetarian is actually worse!
The challenge for me was giving up cheese. I stopped having cows milk several years ago because it just didn’t feel good in my tummy.
But I was literally eating enough cheese for two people and so I knew it wouldn’t be easy to give up. But I did and started to really enjoy the taste of plant based alternatives.
Now, you’ll always find some Violife in my fridge!
Progress, not perfection.
Knowing what I know now, I wish I had gone vegan a long time ago!
It was August last year that I decided I was going to give it a shot. Unlike some people, I didn’t quite go cold turkey. I would love that have been my story but I had a few weak moments.
That means I was technically a flexitarian between August and December as I would say that I gave in 3 times and had non vegan foods.
From January I made the decision that I would now commit and call myself a full dietary vegan.
Remember though, do this at your own pace. You don’t have to become an overnight vegan. You could so easily just make a single change and build from there. It’s all about progress, not perfection.
It’s good for your health.
I’m going to be honest with you as my journey hasn’t been all fluffy and smiles.
Now, when I share I my experiences, I made a number of lifestyle changes all in one go. So the health challenges I faced were not all to do with me going vegan.
In addition to going vegan, I began pushing myself to wake up at 5am daily and the challenges that came along with it that I wrote about here -> https://unlimitedchoice.org/personal-growth/waking-up-early/
Due to a unfortunate series of events, I ended up having 3 courses of antibiotics (among other things) through this past year which had literally fried my immune system. I’m currently in the process of trying to rectify all the damage caused by the taking all those medications.
As a result, I can’t actually say I’m in fantastic health just yet, like some people are able to do. But, I will say that overall I feel much better. Despite the health challenges that all those antibiotics have caused.
I won’t go into too much detail, but ultimately a bad patch in my diet, along with the antibiotics caused me to develop GERD / Silent Reflux.
It is an awful and debilitating illness that only has few basic guidelines to follow to alleviate the symptoms, but nothing to cure it. I was researching for weeks to find a solution but there was nothing black and white.
For some people, GERD / Silent Reflux becomes a lifetime condition. Taking a plant based approach, along with using probiotics, I feel as if I’m over the worst of it and well on my way to healing fully in just a few short months.
What I am now doing seems to be doing the trick and I’m healing nicely. This has been critical for in preparation for the London Marathon next year.
Taking the health challenges out of the equation for now, all other things being equal, I feel much better inside and out. I feel lighter, I’ve lost weight, my skin is clearer and I have more energy too.
It’s good for the environment.
There’s plenty of information showing just how bad for the environment eating meat is. By going vegan, you’re essentially doing a huge amount for the environment just by making one decision about your diet.
If everyone on planet earth went vegan, food related emissions would drop by 70%. But that doesn’t even take into consideration the effect of stopping deforestation due to livestock agro-farming etc. The overall impact would be enormous.
I found this quote which illustrates just how impactful going meat free can be:
If every family in the UK removed the meat from just one meal a week, it would have the same environmental impact as taking 16 million cars off the road.https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/eating-one-vegan-meal-equal-16201023
It’s good ethically and for your conscience.
If you can stomach it, I truly recommend watching Dairy is Scary and also Earthlings, the 2005 documentary.
Once you realise just how cruel and the meat and dairy industry is, going vegan will make you feel so much better about yourself, That you’re living the way of ‘ahimsa‘. You’re doing no harm to other living creatures and living with compassion.
If you have spiritual beliefs and you understand the physics behind vibrations, you’ll understand the positive impact it can have on your own vibration and resulting state of mind.
In that respect, this has been the biggest impact for me overall. Feeling the difference to my mental state of being.
With all that being said, if you’re still reading this, it could be something you’re considering. If so, here’s a few things that may help you through that decision.
1. Start in a way that suits you.
Try not to worry too much about anyone else’s opinion of how you should do this.
Whether you decide to take the big bang approach and make a massive overnight change vs. a gradual transition, take the approach that works for you. If you want to go slow and steady, remember, it’s about progress, not perfection.
So don’t worry about the title ‘vegan’. If you got 95% and that’s as far as you can stretch for now, that’s amazing. You’ve done really well and then you can work on that last 5% when you feel you want to.
2. Find alternatives that you enjoy
There are so many alternatives now, it’ll be so easy to find things you enjoy.
I actually love all the vegan burgers and vegan meats on offer. They have vegan kebabs and recently I discovered some amazing vegan Pain Au Chocolate and Croissants that are absolutely divine!
Naturally, don’t over do it with the vegan junk food, but just know that if there are certain foods you like, there is more than likely a decent vegan replacement you can get.
Also, these are all now so widely available you could get them almost anywhere.
3. Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.
Michael Pollen said it best when we came out with this 7 word slogan to remember and apply.
Eat foods, mostly plants, not too much.Michael Pollen
It’s such an easy-to-digest guideline, that literally anyone can follow and implement.
4. Look for the truth
There is so much false information floating around out there that it can be hard to know what’s true.
The first thing to remember and rule to apply is, ignore the majority of tabloid headlines about health claims.
They are cherry-picked headlines to maximise sales. There are very few that are spreading information with your genuine well-being as their concern.
Seek out real sources and information from people who can actually back up what they’re say.
5. Don’t make anyone else feel bad for their choices.
If after choosing this path you suddenly want to go and tell the whole world, that’s great! But don’t be one of those people that forces their opinion onto others. Share your story but let others make up their own minds.
There we have it.
Overall, my only regret is not doing this sooner. Sure, it’s come with it’s fair share of challenges. But I can say to you, as someone who’s done it, and is never going back, that it is a decision that you won’t regret.
You’ll feel a sense of apprehension at first, but if you can make that jump, that transition will be easier than you think!