My One Year Vegan Anniversary

Oh my goodness! You guys, I can’t believe it’s been a year since I went vegan. Time flies when you are eating good food. 

When I stopped eating meat for a month, I never planned to become a vegan. It kind of just happened.

Well, I didn’t quite know what veganism was all about until after I gave up meat, dairy, eggs and fish. I simply didn’t like meat. Then I watched the vegan documentaries and finally understood the ethics behind it. And there was no coming back from that.

Before you get it all twisted, I’m a non-extremist vegan. I have a deep dislike for preachy vegans who think they are more superior. Putting people down because they don’t follow your way of life is wrong. I hate it when people try to impose their beliefs on to me. I have learnt to respect other people’s choices, values and beliefs. I’m not in the business of shoving my beliefs down other people’s throats. It’s exhausting!

The choice to go vegan is a personal one, and should not be forced down on anyone.                                                 

I have never really been a huge fan of meat. I grew up mostly on a plant-based diet. I was largely raised by my grandparents on a farm. We grew our own food and hardly ate meat. Quite frankly, we couldn’t afford to eat it on a daily basis. Meat was mostly eaten on special occasions. Even when we did have meat, it wasn’t all that special for me. I remember, I hated pork and I gave it up at a very young. I never liked milk, or eggs and growing up in the village we had no access to yoghurt or cheese. I didn’t even know what that was until I moved to the city.

Looking back, I truly believe I was born vegan. 

Fast forward to when I was 15, and moved to New Zealand. I was instantly introduced to the meat eating culture. I went from eating meat every now and then to eating it every single day. It was the norm. I went on to marry a meat-loving man and continued to eat meat. But I would sometimes go for weeks and months without it. If it wasn’t for my husband, we would have gone vegetarian a long time ago.

Last year, desperate to lose the baby weight I decided to do the whole30 challenge (an elimination diet: no sugar, no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no alcohol). I did it for 60 days and I ate so much meat. I felt so disgusted at the end of the challenge. I had never eaten so much meat in my whole entire life. So I thought I would detox my body by going on a plant-based diet for a month. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of my vegan journey. 

The month came to an end but I wasn’t ready to go back to eating meat again. I was really enjoying this new lifestyle and I felt amazing. And so I continued. And through research, I began to learn all the benefits of a plant-based diet both to our health and the environment.

Then one day I decided to watch the vegan documentaries, you know to see what the fuss was all about. Oh boy, oh boy! I wasn’t prepared for the gruesome cruelty on animals. I was overwhelmed and in complete disbelief. All these years that I have eaten meat and animal products, I never stopped to think how it all gets to our tables.

I felt sick and disgusted, and that was the IT moment for me. There was no going back after learning about the shocking truths of animal farming.

Did I mention that I’m not even an animal person, but watching the documentaries was extremely disturbing. You don’t have to be an animal lover to be vegan. You also don’t have to be an animal lover to find animal cruelty and exploitation disturbing. You can’t watch these documentaries and remain the same. It’s not possible, you have to be inhumane to do that.

The big reveal to hubby (die hard meat eater)

You should have seen the look on his face when I told him that I had decided to become vegan. He didn’t ask why, he just said OK. He probably thought this was just a phase. Two weeks later, we went out to dinner and I happily ordered a vegan pumpkin risotto (which turned out to be disgusting). So he offered me his steak, and I kindly refused. I told him this was no phase but a major life change.

I asked him if he wanted to know why I had decided to become vegan. And he immediately said ‘I don’t want to know, I want to enjoy my meat’. He clearly didn’t want to know how that steak was being produced. I guess for some it’s easier not knowing. I didn’t want to tell him to put him off, I thought the information would help him make an informed decision. I think deep down he knew that once he knew, there was no going back.

Fast forward 1 year later, and we haven’t killed each other yet. We do this vegan/non-vegan thing pretty well. I cook meals that we should ALL eat on a daily basis. You know ‘vegan’ foods that aren’t really vegan, like deliciously roasted veggies, whole grains, hearty bean stews, lentil bolognese and salads. And all I do to make him happy is add a side of meat. It’s really not that hard to be a vegan in a meat loving household. He respects my decision to go vegan and I respect his to stick to his meat.

Our kids are somewhere in the middle, half vegan and half non-vegan. They love tofu more than chicken. It doesn’t phase them if I make vegan meals for them. They are brutally honest when they don’t like something I have made.

I love this vegan lifestyle. People have it all wrong. It’s not BORING. It’s not a DIET. It’s not a TREND. You simply add more nourishing foods to your diet that your body will love and you choose a more compassionate lifestyle.

The transition for me wasn’t hard. Like I have already said, I wasn’t a big fan of meat, and was lactose intolerant so that made the transition easy. I started eating things like tofu, tempeh, coconut yoghurt and almond milk way before I knew anything about veganism. Simply because I’m a foodie at heart and I love trying out new foods.

But of course, I loved ice-cream, chocolate and honey. I’m not fully off honey yet, I love honey. I’m not even sure If I will completely give it up. And just so you know, I don’t care what you think. This is my journey. 

I’m so thankful to my family and friends who have supported me on this journey. And all my followers across all my social media who have cheered me on. Thank you beautiful people.

Thinking of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle?

Start slow and be kind to yourself. The transition doesn’t happen overnight, you will stumble and fall off the wagon. I’m not even there yet, I’m sitting at 99.9% vegan (I still eat honey every now and again).  Start small, maybe one vegan day a week and see how you get on. Start incorporating vegan food into your diet. Add foods like tofu, nut milk, coconut yoghurt, and add more veggies and legumes.

I often hear people say, ‘I could never go vegan because I love cheese or bacon’. I think the question you have to ask yourself first is ‘why vegan’? What is the motivation behind your decision to go vegan? Is it health, environment, or animal cruelty? Or perhaps you are only interested because it’s the hottest trend right now? Once you work out your why, the how part becomes a bit easier. If it’s because you think it’s a cool trend then it’s probably not going to work, because that’s not a good enough reason to go vegan.

The other thing is you don’t have to give up everything all at once. If you are serious about going vegan, the best way is to start slow and be kind to yourself. It’s not about getting everything right or perfect. I think what matters most is your intentions and effort. You will struggle, and you will get tempted but just keep moving forward and continue to be kind to yourself.

I would love to hear your vegan story, please leave a comment below.