While most people start their year off with a New Year resolution, I start each year off with a word.
Last year my word was “Learn”. I learnt as much as I could about myself and threw myself into anything so I could find out what I like and what I felt served me without any social or media influence involved.
This year it felt natural to have “Authentic” as my chosen word so I can put all of my hard work and lessons I had learnt from the previous year to start focussing on me and what felt authentic.
Choosing to become Vegan was the first decision that I made that felt natural and clear to me.
Ever since I was young I wanted to eat vegetarian not only because I didn’t like the taste of meat but also because I felt strongly about animals not being on our dinner plates and with a beef cattle farm out the back from our home I found it daunting to think of the cattle being served for our meals.
Although we didn’t own the cattle, I would still name them and feed them Dad’s grass clippings after he had mowed the lawn and liked to think of the cattle as if they were my own.
Unfortunately being a child I didn’t have much choice in what I ate and learnt to accept the misleading information I was given about needing meat to be healthy.
Because of my health and nutrition obsession I knew this wasn’t true and living a plant-based diet can give you all of your nutritional needs but there was also another reason why I didn’t go vegan earlier: social pressure.
People would say “It’s a cult”, “Vegans get osteoporosis”, “Who would ever want to date a vegan?!” “How do you expect to have a social life?” So many comments were thrown my way each and every time I’d say I’d like to become a vegan, which would then leave me in fear and not pursue what I wanted to do.
Advertising/media and your social group have a HUGE influence on people’s dietary decisions. They create fear of what others will think so I felt relieved when this year being my “authentic” year as I simply could not listen to anything other than what felt natural to me.
When I first announced I had chosen to become vegan, I said it with confidence and before my meat-loving friends and family could get a word in to rain on my parade I asked them to respect my decision and if they couldn’t understand my decision, head towards Google and research animal farming and what really goes into animal based food and the effects it can have on mental & physical health.
Of course no-one did because they all didn’t want to come to terms with what they are eating so the only way to prove to them that I would eat more than just Tofu and Sprouts would be to show them.
When friends and family saw my huge variety of yummy plant-based meals they admitted they were surprised.
That wasn’t the turning point that made them believe my new lifestyle was valid. The turning point was my mood, my skin, my energy after changing my diet!
There is so much negativity that people feel towards veganism and have been lead to believe untrue claims & views about what it is all about.
I must admit that I used to be uncertain about what I felt veganism was to me. I thought it was very black and white in what I could and could not do.
Although veganism is about eliminating all animal based products there are so many reasons why people choose to become vegan. They will have their own personal views on what it means to them.
When I first become vegan I mainly did it for health reasons but within a short time after studying and researching about the lifestyle I felt I was doing it equally for animals.
It wasn’t until I went to go to a new organic, raw vegan cafe that I stopped at my front door before leaving and started to judge myself towards others who would be there.
I was wearing Mascara that was cruelty free but not vegan; I was wearing leather shoes that I bought before my change of lifestyle and all of a sudden my ego kicked in and said I was failing.
Surely I could not class myself as vegan if I still owned these products and surely I couldn’t walk into a cafe I admired with leather shoes.
I had only just discovered this new and exciting lifestyle and felt I had to live up to a certain standard straight away and if I didn’t follow every rule I therefore would have failed.
Veganism is a personal journey. It evolves over time like any other relationship.
I learnt to accept that I can’t know everything within the first week & that I had to be understanding and not compare myself to someone to has been vegan for 30 + years.
I have now been vegan for months and although I have a clearer sense of what veganism means to me I am excited to see what I will learn and how my views will evolve in the future.
Starting a blog is something I always wanted to do and I plan to share healthy delicious plant-based recipes, talk about important topics such as body image, social media and give you tools on how to release blocks in your life that will help you to live your own authentic life.
I am a firm believer that your food and lifestyle choices can heal your life and with my own personal experience & through my studies I will always be honest and reliable to give you tools and knowledge that I truly believe will work to serve you.
I would love to know your “moment” when you knew changing to a vegan lifestyle was right for you and also what held you back from going Vegan in the past?