Today, November 1st, is World Vegan Day. So, I would like to take this opportunity to write down my process of how and why my husband and I became vegan, and what that means to me personally.
Phase One: The Vegan 2-Week Trial
About a year ago, my husband and I started our journey on the road to being vegan. We had just finished watching a documentary about the detrimental effects that eating animal products has on one’s health, and about the benefits of a plant-based diet. After learning this information, we decided to try it out on a trial basis, mostly out of curiosity. For two weeks, we didn’t eat any animal products. To be honest, at the beginning I didn’t have confidence that we would continue this diet forever. I loved the taste of meat, fish, cheese, butter, etc. and I felt that I was making a sacrifice by eliminating them from my diet (spoiler alert: I don’t feel that way anymore).
Phase Two: The Flexitarian Period
After 2 weeks had passed, we decided we would continue our new plant-based diet but that we would be somewhat “flexible” when we went out to eat with friends, clients, etc. At this point, I was still struggling with cravings for things like cheese, eggs and fish. I often had “cheat days” where I would follow a vegan diet 5-6 days out of the week, but 1-2 days I wouldn’t limit myself at all.
Phase Three: 100% Plant-based Diet
In March, 2020, COVID-19 hit and all of our lives changed. There was no more going out with friends or clients. All of our work became home-based and all our food became home-made. Our diet naturally became 100% plant-based. In this way, the pandemic actually changed our lives for the better. We started thinking more seriously about our health and the food that we eat and also how that affects the world around us. I became a much better cook since I could practice every day and now I can make pretty much anything vegan!
What Changed for Me Personally?
Shortly after I started eliminating animal products from my diet, I started noticing changes in my body. It became easier for me to control my weight. I had more energy and felt more positive. I had less swelling and chronic pain. And my digestion became smoother and more regular.
I started eating more vegetables, and a wider variety of vegetables. I got more creative with cooking. I learned how to use different ingredients to make different flavors and textures that I had never thought of using before.
My weight dropped from 53kg to 48kg and I actually GAINED muscle! This is the first time in my adult life I have been under 50kg and I have never looked/felt better than I do now!
After more than 6 months of not eating any animal products, I started to notice something interesting. I no longer had cravings for animal products. In fact, I am so satisfied with my plant-based diet that I can say with confidence that I will never return to my previous lifestyle of eating meat.
The Bigger Picture
So, why become vegan? From animal rights, to the environment, to the prevention of global pandemics, there are a multitude of reasons why people become vegan and why we should all be making the shift. All of these reasons are important, and they are all interconnected.
To sum it up, I’d say the reason is this: To continue to sustain life on Earth as we know it. What do I mean by this? Eating meat (and other animal products) is extremely unsustainable. The planet cannot sustain billions of meat-eaters forever. The earth’s resources are finite. The more rainforests we cut down to make room for cow farming, the faster we move towards the 6th mass extinction of the earth (spoiler alert: it includes humans). David Attenborough’s new documentary “A Life on Our Planet” is a must-watch.
So, why NOT become vegan? To be honest, there is no good reason not to become vegan. Like hamburgers? There are some pretty dang delicious vegan hamburgers available now! Like fried chicken? We can make that vegan too! There is a vegan counterpart to just about every animal product that there is. And not only are these vegan meals healthier and better for the environment, but they are also ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!
So, why did it take me so long to become vegan? The same reason why most people don’t become vegan: the mental hurdle. I imagined that it would be difficult, stressful, unsatisfying. I didn’t think I would be able to keep it up. I couldn’t imagine it being fun or delicious or empowering. But it is! I have never been this satisfied or this healthy. And it all started with a thought: Let’s give vegan a try. You don’t have to be perfect at first! Take off the pressure to go all or nothing. Start small! Once you get used to it, I promise, you will be glad that you did.
Happy World Vegan Day, everybody!