Disclaimer: I’m not trying to tell you what you should do or how you should eat, this is just about me. You do you.
When I started blogging again, someone commented that they wanted to know more about how I became vegan. I never discussed it on the blog because once again, I was concerned about what everyone would think. Also, I’m not a perfect vegan (whatever the f*ck that is) and thought I would get criticized because I wasn’t serious enough. Anyway, here’s my story.
I’ve never been a big meat/fish/seafood eater. I just don’t really like it. Never really have, but I thought it was something I was “supposed” to eat. So I did, but not that often. As I got older, I pretty much stopped eating it and probably only had it when I visited family or friends. I’ve never been a fan of bacon so I never really ate that either. Oh and let’s be clear, I’m not vegan for health reasons. You can eat a lot of junk food as a vegan (Oreos, Ritz, Fritos, Sour Patch Kids, etc.). I do it because I just love animals too much.
I’ve always loved animals. Like, so much. More than people. A thousand people could be killed in a movie and then one dog dies (I know it’s not real) and I’m a f*cking wreck. Seriously, it’s a problem. When I was travelling in Australia, someone described me as having a “soft heart” because I was horrified and so sad when they talked about kangaroos getting hit by cars (it happens often, like deer in the States). But even though I cared so much about animals, I continued to eat dairy and eggs. I think I knew that if I actually read about the dairy and egg industries (especially here in the States), that I wouldn’t be able to eat those things any longer.
Finally, in late-2014, I faced it. I thought that if I could read about it and still be okay with eating dairy and eggs, then fine, but that I just couldn’t keep being oblivious about it. So I read. And cried. And cried some more. And learned a lot. I learned about things I didn’t expect to learn about like the veal industry and the environmental impact of these industries (yes, I’m also a tree-hugger…you can’t be that surprised, I live in Portland). And it made me sad. So sad that I couldn’t keep eating those things. No, I didn’t watch Forks Over Knives or Earthlings (or anything like that) because I knew I would be scarred for life if I did. Reading about it was enough for me. What happens to me is that I think of most animals like I think of my pets. And what if we treated our dogs or cats like we treat chickens, cows, or pigs? And that’s when I lose my sh*t. I just can’t imagine seeing a bunch of little Biffs being subjected to that kind of treatment.
He is my baby and he needs pillows! I can’t even type out what happens to the chickens, cows and pigs in the factories. Google it. And I don’t have a problem with hunting or fishing. Personally, I can’t do it, but if you’re okay with it, cool. At least those animals are in the wild and not caged up being tortured.
After reading about it, that was it for me. I stopped. At first, it was so overwhelming, and I looked at all these diets like eating raw, and only fruit and all the bullsh*t that’s out there. OMG. It can help, but figure out what works for you. And I’m not 100% vegan. I used to say that I’m 95% vegan because as much as I try, I know there are times when there are non-vegan products in something I eat or purchase. I’m not going to throw something away just because my order got messed up or I bought something that I thought was dairy-free, but actually had whey in it. See, I’m not going to get sick if I eat dairy or eggs. At least I haven’t gotten sick yet. I don’t plan on eating meat/chicken/fish ever again (and haven’t), but that’s not something that’s been messed up in an order. Vegetarian is pretty easy. It’s when I order a salad without feta and it comes with feta. Or when I was in Thailand and I ordered a dish without egg and it came with egg. I’d rather not waste the food than send it back. That egg isn’t going to come back as a chicken and now you’ve only wasted more food. So I try my best.
And you know what? I don’t miss dairy. I don’t like the vegan cheese alternatives (at least not enough to buy them), but I have had some of them when ordering pizza when I go out and they are fine (good even!). I follow a few vegan blogs, one is Minimalist Baker, and have a few cookbooks (Thug Kitchen!), but I’m a pretty simple eater and I don’t like cooking that much. The one thing I always buy is almond milk creamer for my coffee. I’ve made coconut milk ice cream, but I’m just not that ambitious any more. I’m pretty lazy and I don’t cook for anyone but myself.
Recently, after speaking to my doctor, he recommended that I start eating eggs. And yes, the egg industry is horrifying. I did my research and now purchase
really f*cking expensive eggs that are organic, hormone-free, cage-free, pasture raised, etc. with the hope that the chickens aren’t being tortured. I’m planning to find a farm to buy eggs from soon. I don’t eat eggs every day so I’m still mostly vegan, but I think the correct term for my diet is veggan (yes, it’s a real thing).
Oh and when I travel out of the country, I relax my rules a bit. I always notify the airline that I’m vegan, which is awesome because my food almost always looks way better than the crap they serve to everyone else and I get my “special meal” first. I will definitely try non-vegan things that I wouldn’t normally eat at home (never meat, though). For example, when J and I went to Amsterdam last year, I ate fresh stroopwafels standing on a street corner! I think they probably have butter and eggs in them. And they were delicious. I don’t travel that often so it’s one non-vegan snack in a six month period. No big deal.
My advice to anyone wanting to make this change is to be patient with yourself and don’t expect to be perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist, at least it doesn’t for me. Find what works for you. Let me know if you have any questions or want to know anything more specific about what I do/eat. Oh and for those wondering, no, I didn’t lose any weight by becoming vegan. Dumb.