November brought with it a new monthly challenge, which was to go vegan for the month! I realise I'm a bit late to the party... but I started a new job and have been settling in for the last couple of weeks.
If you have been umming and ahhing over going vegan for a while, now is the time to start! You can sign up to the challenge here. I've been fully vegan for just over a year now and still think it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I had already been pescetarian from the age of 11, and slowly started cutting out eggs, then milk etc, for various reasons, during my time at university. In my experience, vegans get a lot of hate, but please don't let that put you off! Some of us are actually alright 😉
Take this list as reasons why I am vegan, not necessarily why you should go vegan, though it'd be nice if it encouraged someone! What's the harm in trying it for a month? It ain't gonna kill you... and it'll actually save some lives.
- Animal suffering
Already at 11, I hated the thought of eating animals, it's hard to explain, some people seem to make the connection a lot later in life and treat the meat they eat with such disrespect until then. The people I went to school with thought it was fucking hilarious to wind me up about meat, I even had bacon slipped into my blazer pockets a few times. I try not to blame them, they, like me, were brought up seeing meat as food, and believe that the way the animals were killed was "humane". Wtf is a "humane" way of murdering?! (Rhetorical question - please don't try to answer this). I also totally thought free range chickens weren't exploited and milking cows were harmless. This was before I knew more about the processes...
Did you know in the egg industry, male chicks are put straight on a conveyor belt which winds them to a grisly death by grinder? I'd link to a video but I ain't looking around the internet for one, it's too horrific. Maybe it's what you need to see to wake up to the fact that the egg industry ain't so innocent.
- Human suffering
Ok, let's say you don't give a crap about animal welfare, do you care about your fellow humans? Because working at a slaughterhouse ain't no picnic. The people employed are often exploited, paid low wages because they are desperate, and suffering mental illnesses and trauma because of the horrific job they do. You might think "why don't they just quit?" but as I just said, they are often exploited because everything about slaughter houses is so hush hush.
- Health reasons
Before I make this point, I wanna say eating vegan isn't unhealthy for healthy people, but it's possible to be vegan and still be unhealthy. Vegan junk food is a thing! Maybe that should be a point of its own....
I've suffered less flu and colds since going vegan, my mental health is much better, I have more energy, and rarely feel bloated or stuffed after eating. Cutting out dairy also improved my boyfriend's eczema, it didn't cure it, there is no cure for eczema as it stands, but it can help.
- The planet
Maybe you don't actually care about the planet but if you do the single best thing you can do for it is to go vegan. There are so many different ways animal agriculture negatively affects the planet. And yes, if we didn't breed these cows and sheep they would probably die out, but we domesticated them in the first place. It is kinder to simply stop breeding them, which will do wonders for CO2 emissions! Animal agriculture takes up much more space than crops do, producing far less for the amount of space taken up too. The animals obviously require feeding, and their feed isn't conjured up out of thin air, it also has to be grown which takes up even more space. Why not cut out the middleman (meat/eggs/dairy) and get the nutrition directly from plants?
Not only is it affecting the land, but it also affects the sea, with portions of coastal areas dead or dying due to animal faeces running into the water because there is so damn much of it, and contaminating the water, killing anything living there.
- Explore cooking
This wasn't an initial reason why I went vegan, but something that naturally happened. Over time I realised how many different meals and sweet treats I could make and I became pretty good at cooking! Not everyone likes cooking, but there are plenty of simple and quick vegan recipes to try, you might find something on my vegan pinterest board!
It might seem seriously daunting, but there is no need to feel the pressure or see going vegan as a negative thing! I have found it so easy to be vegan like I was always supposed to go this way. I have a few tips from my own experience for transitioning to vegan.
- Take it at your own pace
I've heard of some people going vegan overnight, from eating meat as well! I mentioned I was already a pescetarian, so cutting meat out of my diet wasn't a problem. Maybe start by going vegetarian first and getting to grips with that. I found milk very easy to cut out because soya milk is so yummyyyy! I know not everyone thinks so but there are SO FREAKING MANY dairy-free kinds of milk to choose from. We went for soya milk 'cos my boyfriend is also allergic to nuts. The hardest part is probably remembering to check ingredients on packets, but you'll get into the habit. Just don't beat yourself up if you forget or slip up, everyone does at some point.
- Easy recipes
Get some simple recipes under your belt first, like veggie curries, creamy pasta, stir fries, mac & cheese, so you have some go-to's for dinner each night. None of these takes particularly long to make, and I've found it pretty easy making up recipes as I go along!
- Look at vegan food porn on Instagram
So are you tempted to try it? If any other vegans are reading here, suggest your fave vegan recipes in the comments!