Today marks the 100th day of me being vegan. Peter is a bit behind, but I wanted to write what I have learned, noticed and thought in this time.
Why I became vegan
So thing is, once you know the truth, it is very very very hard to ignore. I watched documentaries. I saw how cows, chicken, pigs were treated. I saw how calves (baby cows) were removed from their moms almost immediately after giving birth, to save more dairy. I saw how chicken were boiled alive to remove feathers, and how even kosher slaughterhouses cut animals throats while they were still alive and twitching. I know all this is graphic. But this is reality. This was a movie called "Earthlings"
I saw another documentary that shared about the health benefits. How we get diabetes and cholesterol and heart diseases from all the animal products. That movie was "What the health".
There were others. Other movies, with other focuses. But all in all, it convinced me that i want to live. And do it as healthy as i can. I am not saying to anyone they are not healthy with what they eat. I don't want to judge. I am sharing just what i believed.
What I learned
I struggled at first. Because i was alone. Peter started being vegan about month later than me. (72 days of vegan today) And trying to cook separate meals was enormously challenging. But maybe i just made a big deal out of it. Also i was very worried about his health after seeing all the documentaries. In my silliness phrases like "you can't die before me..." and other things were thrown out there. We argued, I cried. We prayed and made up. In the end, God put on Peter's heart to be vegan.
I learned that there's a whole lot of misconceptions out there.
- Vegans eat salads right? Nope. We eat almost everything we want that comes from plants. And we don't eat anything that comes from anyone that had breath. Meat, dairy, eggs.
- Often vegans and vegetarians are mixed up. Or people don't get what veganism is. Vegetarians eat dairy and eggs also, besides the plant food. We as vegans don't.
- When people see you post food that doesn't look vegan online. Often it seems we need to justify ourselves or explain to others that vegan versions of your food exists. This has happened a lot of times. I don't know if people are worried that we ate non-vegan food, or are they feeling like they are needing to judge/keep an eye on us. Not sure. But we happily educate people.
- People who don't know where nutrition comes from, might ask things like "but where do you get protein?", "Where do you get calcium if you don't drink dairy"... and so on. So usually I share images of vegan nutrition resources with them. I have researched it and know where to get things from. I am safe, I admire your concern for me and us :)
- It's way easier to find vegetarian foods, than vegan foods when eating out. Also some menus but "V" on their menu but they can mean either vegan or vegetarian, depending on the restaurant/food place you are at. So check carefully.
- Often safe foods in most places are - chips. (or fries if you are from another country). I love sweet potato chips!
- People are more interested in what you eat (how you keep yourselves alive) than why you are doing this.
So that's like main things. Some vegans take it another step and don't buy animal products also. There's a lot of different vegans out there. Some consume honey, others don't. Some still buy non-vegan products, some don't. Like cosmetics, cleaning agents etc. Quite a lot of products out there are tested on animals. Which is sad.
I've seen so much of that. Either people thinking you are weird because you choose to not eat animal products. Or vegans judging each other if they accidentally consume animal products. Or even seeing things that look like non-vegan foods, and non-vegans judging you. Maybe i misunderstand. Maybe it's not judgement, but concern. Maybe it's caring that i get vegan food, yet that's confusing to me, because it often comes from non-vegans. I mean, should we share to them every time they eat vegan food?
I struggle with that. At first i wanted to judge everyone who were eating meat. But swiftly God dealt with my silly heart and made me understand that people are different. I only need to worry about me and my family. Which currently is just me and Peter (and stomach baby). But i have felt judged. And I don't like justifying myself. Or proving that i am right to do what i want to do. Maybe I am just caring too much what others say.
There's also fear. Fear of people judging us, in case i should go and have a burger in McDonald's. Imagine that. Or fear that we accidentally consume animal products when we eat out or if someone is cooking for us and we go over for dinner (or tea as Aussie's call it.). Cross contamination and all that. Or that some products that look vegan, might contain non-vegan ingredients. Like the other day i learned that gelatin is very very un-vegan product. It's made from cow hooves, legs, skins etc. I used it to make cheesecake. And it's in a lot of candies. But immediate judgement from vegans in a Facebook group and me being apologetic about that.
I don't want to live in fear. It can cause eating disorders.
And we have not been healthier than we were before. Because well, we like sweets and snacks. And we can't seem to stop liking them. Like Oreos are vegan. Or we can find vegan ice-cream and so on. And i like baking. So in that sense, it hasn't helped us in a health side of things.
Well, here's the thing. I'm pregnant. And pregnant women get silly cravings. (i'm dreaming of bubbled water with juice right now). And i wonder if i should listen to my body. If cravings last several days, it seems not very reasonable to give your body what it craves for.
BUT, to what extent?
Currently I am at a place, where yes I can do without meat. But my body is craving eggs and cheese. There, i said it! To vegan people around me, that seems horrible. I understand that this can cause judgement. I understand that this might be confusing to some. But I haven't made any decisions right now.
All i know is that i don't want to live in fear. I don't want to be judged by what i eat. You don't go judging gluten intolerant people? Yet vegans get a lot of judgement. And i don't want to be vegan just because i said i was. I don't want to be vegan, if that's an expectation from people and if i fail or stumble i get judged and looked down upon. I don't think that is fair.
We have one life. We have people who understand that our decisions are our own and will support us regardless of what we do. We have only one health. We either live in fear, or we do what we feel is right for us and don't care what others think. I am at crossroads. And currently undecided if i will continue being vegan or turn to vegetarian. Only time will tell.
I have been vegan for 100 days. I suggest you try that too. See how it goes. See if that changes your life. See if it changes your perspective on others around you. It did for me. I am less judgemental because i don't want to be judged. I know more about nutrition now, than i did before. I know how to cook more meals now, with just vegan ingredients, than i did before. Vegan life has changed me.
What happens next, I don't know yet. But i am sure it will be good for me and the baby and our family.
Thank you for taking time to read.