What does Veganism mean to me?
So I have already posted about the definition of a Vegan, but that is a very impersonal description.
I am going to write about my experience with Veganism, my journey on become a Vegan and what it means to me. I have also posted on Instagram asking for what it means to you so I can post some quotes and link back to your accounts. I am hoping to be able to do this more often and share opinions and views of various people.
Anyway, my experience. I was one of those meat eaters who would giggle and say “Bacon”, joke about the animals, couldn’t see what was wrong with milk and eggs. Thought all vegans were hemp wearing, unhealthy, gaunt tree hugging hippies. I was the meat eater I hate today. I ate meat or dairy with every meal, I drank milkshakes and would eat massive omelettes filled with egg, ham and cheese. Pizza’s with multiple animals on. I was also ill a lot.
I first dipped my toe into veganism a couple of years ago. I was in a pretty bad place, I was overweight, diagnosed with severe clinical depression, prescribed medication, suffered anxiety, IBS, insomnia…..to be blunt, I was a fucking mess. My depression was caused by many things from my personal life, but also my IBS which caused anxiety and basically agoraphobia. My weight ballooned when I was on my meds; I was off work for a couple months, pretty much in a daze. I didn’t go out, I ate crap, I didn’t sleep I was in the worst condition of my life and suicidal thoughts were a daily occurrence as was self-harm. Like I said, I was a mess. I ended up randomly at a Juice Plus convention with my cousin, (don’t worry this isn’t a post about buying Juice Plus or other supplements). Anyway, I was at this convention with my cousin, who is a rep for JP, he is also a personal trainer, semi-professional rugby player and just an all-round top man.
(Me and Mark Colbourne (Paralympian and Juice Plus user person))
(close up of my mug. Tired, overweight….just a mess)
I was listening to these people on stage talking about Juice Plus, the benefits of fruits and veggies and it got me thinking about how people claim to have had all these positive results on juice plus which was basically dried fruit and veggie juices. It got me to thinking that it was all natural stuff, no mention of meat and dairy. So after listening to a few athletes and other marketing stuff, I got home and decided to try raw vegan. Not for morality, not for environmental reasons, but for my health. I started with smoothies and salads and lots of fruits. I also came off my meds at the same time and did take some of the juice plus capsules.
Amazingly, I started to feel a little better, I was worried about relapsing without my meds which had gotten me onto an even keel, but I was amazed at the changes. I was still overweight and had issues with my appearance and other personal issues, but I was sleeping again! I wasn’t just getting twenty minutes here and there (one time I fell asleep on the window sill while cleaning the windows. I was cleaning the window for 2 hours because I had OCD about smear marks). I was getting decent sleep, hours a night instead of minutes every couple of days. I was feeling more positive, suicide wasn’t an everyday thought. I started therapy as I felt more comfortable going out. I would look forward to waking up, making my fruit smoothie and heading to work. I managed to get back to work, become productive, get out, take care of my personal appearance, and lose a little weight. I was doing well. Now, I am not saying all this was down to veganism, it definitely helped, but I did have support from my people close to me. They spurred me on, supported me and helped me keep going when my head would drop. But mentally, I felt so much better after embracing an animal free diet.
(The weight naturally started to shift within weeks of being Vegan although still a bloater)
Sadly, I did get a lot better. Better enough to revert back to a crappy diet of murder burgers, cheese, dairy etc. etc. My weight remained high, my health went downwards again and I still had issues with my mood..
I knew the benefits of veganism but I reverted back to a meat eating, dairy consuming unhealthy way of life. I had a new found appreciation of vegans, though. My opinion shifted from weak, pale people to a healthier view.
Fast forward to February this year. I was still having issues with my weight and such. Mentally I was much better although still wasn’t 100%. IBS, self-confidence and negative body image still plagued me. My fiancée (@theferociousveganbunny) had recommended I try a veggie diet and consider veganism again. I thought about it and went veggie; it was easy enough to do as my meat intake was real low anyway apart from the stereotypical bacon and meat feast pizzas or donor kebab meat. (I know…I told you I was a bad meat eater). Then I watched a video by Gary Yourofsky, and it changed my entire outlook. I was veggie for about 2 days then went full vegan. When I saw the suffering and pain and abuse of the animals for even eggs and milk, I changed straight away. I threw out all animal products from my fridge and cupboards (I should mention that my fiancée and I don’t live together, in fact she lives in the states until we can get visa’s etc. to be together). I started reading more and researching about the health and environmental effects that a diet with animal products creates. I saw the videos of abuse, the look in the animals’ eyes. I hated the person I was as a meat eater, I hated the comments I had made to vegans at those times. I learnt that we are herbivores and not omnivores. My entire beliefs shifted, my outlook changed. Now, I have been a Vegan for only 3 months or so? I have lost roughly 30lbs in weight (and I eat a lot, I am a junky vegan) I feel mentally clear; my IBS is all but a nothingness and no longer forefront in my mind. I feel confident, I feel happier, and I have dropped a jean size and shirt size.
I can’t think of a single negative, other than knowing the abuse that goes on could and should be avoided as it would benefit everyone and every animal and the planet!
(Me today. I still have an issue about looking at the camera, even in a selfie but that’s more a habit than a self confidence issue)
Veganism to me was and is a way of life. It is the key to a secret that is supressed by corporations and profit. It is the way to become happy, healthy, compassionate, environmentally friendly and the only true way to be an animal lover. I can feel proud that I don’t contribute to the abuse, I don’t perpetuate the cruelty and no animals will need to be killed to fulfil my diet.
Veganism isn’t a fad, or a diet. It is a lifestyle and outlook. It isn’t even a belief system, it is fact and natural.