You may have seen on my social media recently that I have decided to stop being vegan. In some cases to many of you it seems as if it was totally random, however, it has been something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I hope that you all understand my reasons for making the change in my lifestyle. I hope it doesn’t attract any negativity because I believe that ‘veganism’ is such a broad term that I just associate myself with any more. Although, that doesn’t mean I disagree with the lifestyle at all, it just isn’t the path for me and I hope you will all understand why soon.
My Vegan Journey
The definition of vegan is: “a strict vegetarian who consumes no food (such as meat, eggs, or dairy products) that comes from animals. Also, one who abstains from using animal products (such as leather)”. So I, as a 18 year old, had decided to become that ‘strict vegetarian’ and cut all animal products and byproducts from my life. It wasn’t that difficult for me because the only struggle was cheese. I was obsessed with it and it was the reason I didn’t go full vegan for so long.
The rest of the lifestyle/ diet was fine with me. I prefer to eat vegetables anyway haha. The idea of eating foods that are extraordinarily colourful and flavourful , appealed alot. I never really liked the idea of eating something that once was alive. I just did it because it was something I grew up with. So ditching it all, seemed like a great idea and to be fair, it was. Veganism helped me learn a lot about cooking and how to cook with alternatives. Such as using applesauce to replace an egg in baking cakes. I discovered new ways of making certain foods I’d never known existed (cashew milk, almond butter fudge?!). Going shopping regularly for fresh greens and I also bought a new blender. I pretty much led my whole life around being vegan and eating clean.
The journey was amazing, I got healthier, my skin cleared up (no pimples or blemishes on my forehead) and I had so much more energy. In addition to the health side, I met some awesome people through veganism as well. Some I am still close with, therefore I am not saying in any way that you shouldn’t be vegan, it was such a great journey for me. Something that I really needed in my life during that period.
I stopped participating in active animal activism, I felt a disconnect from the community and didn’t like the way it was going. Especially online, a lot of pushy and judgemental people flooded the vegan community and I didn’t enjoy seeing the hate or forcing of opinion, it wasn’t nice to see. I was also subject to a bit of hate from vegans because I supported other issues and not solely animal welfare. It was just a constant battle of who can be better. I realise however, that at one stage I would have been considered that pushy vegan. Simply because I wanted more people to understand the issue.
However, I slowly understood that you can only do so much, in terms of changing perspectives. If someone was willing to make the change they will, there’s no point constantly trying. It was like punching a metaphorical brick wall. I’ve never been judgemental of other beginner vegans though, I see a lot of hate towards dietary choices, if she wants to enjoy that pot noodle let her, you don’t have to go full professional doctor on her. People claiming to be the better vegan was just annoying, and that was the reason I left all Facebook groups.
Along with that, I was feeling as if I was restricting myself from foods I used to enjoy. Educating myself on the animal agriculture industry, fully understanding the dairy industry now and even after protesting about it. I have decided to go back to eating cheese. That may seem totally strange to some, however like I mentioned above, I was addicted to cheese before veganism. It was something that I completely enjoyed eating and when I made the switch it was so difficult at times. Vegan cheese was not cutting it in the beginning however slowly I was getting used to it. But ‘getting used’ to the taste, isn’t enough, I wanted to enjoy it properly. The only vegan cheese I really enjoyed was the Tesco chilli cheese. Although now I feel as if re-introducing cheese into my diet, would satisfy me so much more.
The Cheese, Gromit!
Really, the cheese is the main reason I no longer identify as a vegan. I still eat vegetarian meals,. I will continue my cruelty free lifestyle as well (using products not tested on animals, avoiding fur etc.). My blog will remain an eco-blog as I mainly share environmental posts anyway. I will still post recipes I use and create myself. Ultimately, I feel that this is a very personal choice and I cannot say whether you should or shouldn’t be vegan. If you can eat this way and feel good, then I believe there are proven health benefits as well as being a more compassionate and sustainable way of living. I still feel committed to doing what I can to help animals and to take care of our environment. Whilst still enjoying my own lifestyle, I hope you all understand.