I have been a vegan now for around 6 months, and honestly, I feel pretty okay. I don’t feel like I have suddenly become superhuman, but I don’t feel like a frail malnourished human either. I don’t eat overly well, my diet still involves a whole bundle of fairly unhealthy food, I don’t sit and chew on celery as so many people assume I do when I drop the “V bomb”, I eat chips and beans, pasta and sauce, stir fry and fried tofu. My diet is cheap too, when people tell me “yea but being vegan is SO EXPENSIVE” I always find myself sighing, I am a student, I live on fairly little, yet it turns out fruit and vegetables are the cheapest foods out there. A couple blocks of tofu, a variety of veggies and fruits, some pasta, a couple tins of beans and some rice, there you have a whole weeks’ worth of food, and if you go to the right place it will cost you barely over £10. Admittedly I only have to feed myself, I have no dependants or partner, this perhaps makes things cheaper, but when you get out of the mind set of needing every single luxury item you’ve become accustomed to (as is commonly found following a switch to a vegan diet), food shopping becomes easier, cheaper and far less of a chore.
There are many awesome positives as well to being a vegan, before when I was a vegetarian I would often feel uncomfortably full and very unpleasant following an intake of large amounts of egg and dairy, I would have clogged pores and felt physically unclean. Now I am able to stuff myself full of fatty foods to the point of bursting and despite feeling bloated, I no longer feel dirty, after a large plate of vegan cheese and biscuits, these days I feel clean and alert as opposed to sluggish and clogged up, the truth is that with a vegan diet you do not have to lose out, I would argue all you do is gain. There are vegan alternatives to every food you could ever imagine, from boiled eggs (I kid you not) to steaks, burgers and cheese, every single food you love now you can still enjoy. This is why I never understand when people say “I could never go vegan, I could not live without (x)”, because you don’t have to live without (x) you can have it, and enjoy it in the knowledge that it’s journey to your plate did not involve animal corpses or excrements, which in my honest opinion makes eating a whole lot more of an enjoyable experience.
Another interesting thing is my answer to the “why are you a vegan?” question, when I switched from being a lifelong vegetarian to veganism it was not due to some strong ethical, environmental of health reason, it just “felt right” and whilst there was a bit of me that didn’t feel comfortable eating animal products any more, as a vegetarian I felt like I was doing enough as was, going vegan was more an experiment to see if I could. For a lot of people that is disarming because I could not be labelled as some “crazy animal lover” instead I sat in this place of “just wanted to give being vegan a go” category, and it has been only through trying it that I began to get interested in the movement of animal rights and liberation. I really admire people who are able to advocate for veganism on a more widespread level, my current philosophy towards being an advocate is to advocate by being a positive vegan role-model to the people in my life. I will and do talk about what I am eating when asked, and I am not one to shy away from commenting on it, I will also stand up for my beliefs in the face of people advocating against veganism, I am only beginning to find within me the strength to stand up and say “This is who I am and what I do, this is why I do it”.