Last month, I decided to be vegan for 31 days. It was probably one of the most turbulent months I have had in a while: 2 holidays, 1 chicken pox infestation and a new full-time job. So, how did I fare?
There were a couple of ‘vegan fails’ (once in Pisa, the other in Freiburg) due to miscommunications, primarily stemming from the language barrier, and the muddy waters regarding the definition of ‘vegan’ in other cultures. However, I did not let these incidents become setbacks.
In 31 days, and with GBBO back on our screens, I have been utilising days off by baking, and conducting kitchen experiments. I made scones, cakes suitable for afternoon tea (lemon drizzle and carrot cake), and a fruity twist on the usual tomato-based spaghetti sauce. I tried an all-vegan restaurant in Italy, and asked for cheeseless pizzas numerous times in 3 different countries. I bought dairy-free cheese for the first time, and made tofu scramble for breakfast. I drank vegan-friendly beers in Germany, and bought cruelty-free products at a pharmacy in Florence. I felt like a total novice by the 31st, armed with substitutes for just about any animal-based product.
Did I reap in the benefits of veganism? I felt more energised, and my skin was clearer. My sleepless nights were long gone, and I was able to survive on 5 to 6 hours’ sleep easily. What I did not like, however, was that I turned into one of those defensive vegan types. Whenever my fam would comment on the food I was eating, I’d attack them with facts about the dairy industry, and the daily devastating deaths of male chicks, which I bluntly stated they invested in whenever they bought eggs. Slowly but surely, I turned into a Vegan Nazi.
It was aggressive advocacy, and I hated it. It may be a natural part of the transition process for many, it may not. What I found was that I was just overwhelmed the whole time I ended up becoming a class A bitch without even realising it. I disliked the guilt that clouded over me whilst learning the cold, hard facts surrounding the food choices I have made in the past. I guess people react to the transition quite differently, and I certainly did not project that sort of behaviour from my otherwise uber relaxed self.
On a positive note, I have learned some great things during the month, about the lifestyle, and myself. I have also discovered amazing bloggers/vloggers, including cool ones like Unnatural Vegan, Guac and Roll, and Cheap Lazy Vegan, to name a few. So, yeah. Check them out folks. The vegan community is filled with happy, helpful beings.
We are onto the second week of September, and I have retained my vegan eating habits. Honestly: I am not sure whether I will be fully vegan in the long-term, but for now, I will be continuing a plant-based lifestyle. I will not beat myself up if I ever eat anything with honey or eggs; I will happily eat them if they have been ethically-sourced. At the end of the day, my main goals involve an ethical and sustainable lifestyle, and as long as I am not investing in an industry which condones suffering, I will be satisfied.
In addition, it’s important to support and promote the livelihood of small-scale farmers who practise with animal welfare and environmental effects in mind. They are few and far in between, and they do encourage customers to make ethically-conscious food choices, probably more so than most individuals’ efforts. An omnivorous world is better, with sustainable animal products around, than a polarised environment created by aggressive activism.
We are always making an impact, positive or negative, just by taking in oxygen. Personally, I feel most content when I am fully aware that my actions create as minimal damaging influence as possible. This may not be suffice to some, but I feel this is where my current limits lie.
My anxious tendencies cropped up at the idea of making a choice whether I will be eating eggs once September comes. I am taking things real sloooow here at Kale Moss HQ, and see which lifestyle truly feels most comfortable and rewarding.