Ever been laughed at or ridiculed for your diet choice?
Perhaps you have. Perhaps you’ve been on all kinds of diets that you’ve simply lost count of which one you’ve tried. People have said that you’ll never do it, that you simply don’t have the willpower or wherewithal and perhaps those people could be right. After all changing your diet is a big thing, isn’t it?
You see, food is important and more so when there’s a big old microscope coming from all different angles pointed right at you and your eating habits! Because, people love nothing more than to point out that what you are doing is pointless. Or point out that it’s a waste of time and that millions of other people are eating that food you are trying to avoid, so why bother?
It’s been just over a month since I decided to ‘go vegan’ and I am tempted to say it’s been hard (and it has in small ways). However in general , it really hasn’t been as tough as I led myself to believe and that because, in my opinion, became a vegetarian first. I felt it made the transition easier and probably not for the reasons you are expecting either.
You’ve done the hardest part (or so you think)
Most people, and I’m not one of them, find it harder to give up meat when they decide to go veggie. We are brought up on the stuff, things like bangers and mash (if you are in the UK), toad in the hole and roast dinners are what us Brits are known for. So to be brazen enough to question it, even change it, can be a bit of a taboo subject even these days. It’s like you’re not a ‘real man’ if you don’t eat meat, or you’re losing out on vital vitamins and such like if you cut it out altogether. Suddenly everyone is more concerned about what you eat than you are!
For me however, I didn’t really eat much of the stuff. Granted I too had been brought up on roast dinners every Sunday, but as the 15th year of my youth fast approached (coincidentally at the same time my parent’s divorced which left me, my mum and my sister homeless for 6 months), I kind of stopped eating the stuff anyway. However, going vegan and deciding to no longer have my boiled eggs for breakfast on a Sunday morning, or my cheese toasties at lunchtime – now that was waaaaay more of a challenge.
You see, once you are through the other side of the leaving the meat behind side of things, you’ll see giving up anything to do with animals at all that little bit easier – unless of course you are like me that is! But even so, being a vegan is more than giving up what you love and I’ll explain more about that later.
Just remember you’ve done the hard part!
You’ll know how to deal with the non-vegan nosy parkers and jokers!
Believe me when I say it, going Vegan isn’t something you want to tell everyone about. Especially, like me, in your ‘day job’ you work in a small company making sandwiches when the only thing that resembles anything even remotely vegan is a cucumber and red onion sandwich! Plus your boss actively tells you how he ‘hates’ vegans and continually takes the p**s out of you for not eating meat.
To be fair, I wasn’t a ‘tell everyone about it’ vegetarian in the first place. I kind of came to being vegetarian in a haphazard way, with no real reasoning about it so I never felt the need to preach. Yet, you’ll come across situations where you have to declare it. Perhaps you share lunch with your friends, you need to book your place on the staff Christmas lunch and you have to state if you have any dietary requirements – then you have no choice.
If you become a vegetarian first, well you’ve already put yourself through the p**s-taking mill already. You’re an old hand at the witty comebacks to someone’s not so witty jokes about how animals need to be eaten; otherwise they’ll take over the earth or some other rubbish. You’ll probably have lost count of the times someone has asked you why you decided to go without meat, or the stupid question ‘what do you actually eat?’ Believe me that question is asked ten times more when you finally decide to go all out and do the vegan thang!
So look at it this way, you’ll be a pro. You’ll be able to knock those jokes right out of the ball park and shrug it all off with a quick little retort – or worse say absolutely nothing. You’ll, no longer care what others think and at the end of the day you know you are part of the solution rather than being part of the problem. So go you!
You’ll love food all over again, like it was something you thought you invented!
I can’t cook, or at least that’s what I thought for over 20 years. My ‘signature’ dish was shepherd’s pie, and believe me it was hit and miss at the best of times! To be fair, since starting to cook for The Real Junk Food Project Portsmouth my cooking repertoire has improved significantly. I can now cook curries, tagine’s, soups, casseroles, chili’s, bakes and other such vegetarian delights. But I’ve never cooked, or been so interested in my food since becoming a vegan.
I mean I’ve started a blog about it – that must tell you something!
You’ll already feel like you are doing something astoundingly kind and unequivocally compassionate
Yep, you knew this was coming right? Look, I’m not one for preaching about how not eating meat or anything derived from animals is the only way to go and if you don’t you’ll end up in hell. It’s just not how I do this. But, there are times when you might slip up, become tempted or even worse you end up eating something you thought was vegetarian but instead later (usually pointed out by a non-veggie person) that it’s not cruelty free after all (like who are they to judge huh?!!)
It’s going to happen, like it or not and you know what – who cares!?!
OK, perhaps those were the wrong words, but it goes like this. You are on a journey. A blinking good, kind and compassionate journey at that – make no bones about it. You, actually give a damn about others. Not just people, but other living human things. You are also giving an actual damn about the environment and this beautiful planet, and rather than sitting on your bum following the masses you, yes YOU, are doing something about it. You’ve given up meat, something some people can’t even imagine doing in their life time, just cos ‘that’s how it’s always been’.
Deciding to start somewhere is not only amazing, it’s monumental. Because ‘you are the change, you wish to see in the world’ (isn’t that a quote??!!) It’s good, caring people like you that will make a difference, albeit a small one at first, but so what – it’s better than not at all!
Being a vegetarian will give you ammunition towards then deciding to go all out and becoming a vegan, cos you’ll not want to stop – believe me – it will come a ‘knocking!
You’ll embrace your own weirdness and love it!
You know there are many stereotypes of a typical vegetarian. The ‘tree hugger’ or ‘hippie’ or any other weird and wonderful descriptions. People will see you as ‘weird’. You don’t fit in like you used to and more so with the people you used to spend time with, especially your family. Its part of the process I’m afraid. Going vegetarian first will alleviate that pain and the loneliness at first.
The thing is when you decide to actually think for yourself, and do something about what you put into your body you begin to find out who you really are. You’ll dig into your own uniqueness and actually spend time looking at why you make the decisions that you do. It’s a big giant step into the unknown, which is by far the biggest way to grow both mentally and physically. You’ll, start to rediscover things about yourself that you never knew existed and believe me being ‘alone’ isn’t a bad thing at all.
Embrace that weirdness, cos believe me when you go vegan that will only increase tenfold – and that can only be a good thing!
So dare to be different. Go vegetarian first, if that helps because it’ll put you in good stead for when you decide to go the whole hog. You’ll thank yourself for it.
Let me know how you get on.