So I spent a good ten years being mostly vegan, strict vegan, part time vegan, vegetarian and a lazy, meat eating, vegan sympathiser. I’ve experienced highs and lows. From a fully organic, plant based diet to shamelessly inhaling cold hotdogs from a tin at 3am in a strangers flat. I’ve been a chips and coke vegan and an artisanal, hand crafted, hummus vegan.
Does it matter? Why am I telling you this? Is there really types of vegans? Well I guess I’ve learnt a lot from these experiences. How not to do it and what’s succesfull.
My American travels broke me. Well America broke me. I wanted to experience every day american things and kind of closed off the ethical window in my brain. Corn dogs, pulled dead things, meat with a side of meat. It was delicious but I returned a flabby, bloated mess.
I landed on an organic farm in Scotland Where I have lived and worked for the last year and a half. It was just the trick. Delicious, organic, vegetables on tap, good foraging and an active lifestyle to support it. I lost around two stone. Things were grand. Recently I have ditched my van dwelling, farm going lifestyle for new projects. This involves living in a regular home with modern conveniences. I no longer see the moon, wee outside or hurt after a days work. Some people like that. Not this woman.
It’s so easy to take such things for granted. I feel disconnected from nature and since the move my habits have reflected that. So it’s time once again to dust off the old mung beans and brave veganism. It’s different this time. It feels more certain and intentional. More fitting with my minimalism, frugality and current state of health. Things have gone a bit wrong. I’ve had too much mac and cheese with extra carbs on the side.
So here is a classic list of reasons I need to be vegan. I guess it’s a list of why you should be vegan too. But that’s not my style.
Diet and Health
I’ve tried high fat and no carb, high protein, cutting out simple carbs and various extreme diets. With good short term results. They are unsustainable. They make you feel good for a week and then when you finally submit to regular eating you feel full of guilt for piling weight back on. I know everybody is different and various things work better for other people. For me it’s the vegan way. I have made mistakes in the past by gorging on white flour, potato and sugar but I have a better knowledge of nutrition and diet these days. Eating more plant matter and colour gives you a lot more vitamins and not that you need an excuse but…… JUICING! Yes.
Cooking and Inspiration
I love to cook. Having a plethora of meat and dairy kind of kills the thrill of cooking for me. I find more inspiration in vegan cooking. The colour is vibrant and the textures are more varied. It’s a challenge trying to create new flavour combinations. A steak is a steak (although I know people who would argue that) But a giant pan of carefully thought out ingredients and tastes made with intent and love can be way more impressive.
It’s easy to distract yourself from the true reality of the meat and dairy industry. But it’s a good feeling knowing that you don’t have a part in it.
I have always known that raising livestock for human consumption is terrible for the planet. Desertification, condensed nutrients (animal waste), water consumption, rain forest destruction and the amount of crops grown to feed livestock are all problems caused by mans meat demands. But after seeing some of the actual figures I feel there is no way I can say I care about the planet and not be vegan.
Yeah. That’s happening soon. I need to be on top of my game for hitting thirty. It seems a significant point in my life. I need to be a real life grown up. Healthy, happy and leading by example. A lot of stuff has to go down by then but veganism is a must. it’s almost like the first twenty nine years of your life are for testing out all of the options and making thousands of mistakes.
It’s Friday night, you’ve bossed work and spent a week kicking life in the hams. Oh no, that pomegranate salad just looks too lively and fresh. It mocks you. Go wild. Dirty Burgers. Tri-grain bread bun stuffed with double fake burgers, smothered in melted faux cheese, topped with fried onions and mushrooms, a generous amount of ketchup a side of sweet potato fries and lets humour that salad. If that’s the worst thing you’ve ate all week then you’re winning. It may be a plate of oily, slightly processed decadence. But in reality it’s plants. Some weekly processed plants aren’t too bad when you look at the bigger picture.
Let’s not end on too much enthusiasm. Below are a few hurdles I find and have often in the past made me fall off the wagon.
Fries and some leaves. This is standard in most places people like to eat. Just don’t eat if theres nothing worth eating. Eat before hand. Most cities now have vegan friendly or all vegan restaurants. Even some chains such as evil Wetherspoons do a good vegan curry. You could always just not eat out. If in doubt there is always sushi. Japanese food gives you plenty more options.
Dinner with Friends
Your wonderful friends invite you for dinner and kindly make you some vegan food. You invite them for food and don’t go out of your way to make meat food. This makes you a terrible person in some peoples eyes. I have friends who like meat so much they would bring their own pocket meat to your vegan dinner. That’s fine. I really don’t care. Other people can do what they like.
Peoples concern over your nutrient intake
“Where do you get your iron from?” I feel like asking them about their iron intake or slipping in a mother joke. But I just brush it off by saying “I eat a varied diet full of all of the things I need thanks”. I hate having to explain to anybody what I do or don’t put in my mouth.
Asking for a Soy latte
To me that is the most pretentious thing that can come from my mouth. But it’s worth the embarassment.
Wondering where all of the other vegans are
I’m not preachy about what other people eat. I think if you believe in something enough you shouldn’t make people want to set you on fire. But I am quietly hoping everyone will just be vegan and make life easier. Or at least get it. Most people think it’s rediculous. Come 2030 Who’ll be mocking me then?
Thanks for reading. Heres to my new vegan venture. I’ll keep you posted with vegan eats and ideas. Read more of my farm life and travel journals soon. Please comment with vegan problems, solutions and inspirations. It would be lovely to hear from you all. Vegan, non vegan, whatever.