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My Vegan Story
My journey to veganism has by no means been an easy one. Or a short one. It has taken 4 years to transition from a steak-loving, yoghurt-devouring girl to one that cringes at the smell of a Aussie barbecue.
I first became vegetarian for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to loose a bit of weight and thought that being a vegetarian would mean that I couldn’t eat ‘junk food’ or fast food. I wasn’t eating enough volume to maintain the calories that I wasn’t eating due to the lack of meat and dropped weight quickly. Everyone noticed; teachers, parents, friends. People worried. People jumped to conclusions – a teenage girl looses weight and everyone thinks it is an eating disorder. It is unbelievably hard to try and reason with people that you don’t have an eating disorder when you are losing weight and eating salad all the time. People judged. People talked behind my back. It was horrible. Looking back though, I did have signs of orthorexia – a disease where you become obsessed about exercise and the food that you are eating.
At that stage I was still eating seafood – thinking that it was ‘acceptable’ and that they were lower order animals and hence did not feel pain. It was 3 years ago that I set out to educate myself more about vegetarianism and veganism. I watched endless documentaries (you can see my favorites list here), I read books and blogs for advocating arguments both for and against the animal agricultural industry. As soon as I was exposed to the horrific occurrences that were happening daily, hourly, minutely, I couldn’t look at meat the same way. Every time I smelt it cooking it went from tantalizing to smelling like rotting flesh. I had experienced a complete change in my mindset.
The more and more I learnt I knew that it was unacceptable to be eating seafood and still call myself a vegetarian. I learnt more about the seafood industry and the horrible things that they do. I was (and still am) utterly dumfounded to think that majority of the world’s population have no idea where their meat comes from and how it ends up on their dinner plate. I never really ate much dairy except yoghurt, so transitions to dairy free was easy especially as I had been drinking soy for years. The hardest was eggs for me, mainly because Melbourne has such a cafe culture and going out for breakfast is my favorite thing. But I discovered my love for mushrooms, avocado and roast tomato on a good sourdough and never looked back.
Throughout this time, my family thought that I was ‘going through a phase’, ‘strange’, ‘crazy’. I faced a family who are practically carnivorous and a brother that refuses a meal if it does not involve some sort of animal ingredient. My mum was in no way supportive, and still isn’t today. Similarly my grandmother continually urges me to ‘taste’ meat, and I continually state ‘it isn’t the taste that bothers me!’ Often I feel as if I am bashing my head against a brick wall. Yet then I remember how many people’s lives I have influenced; I pride myself on not being a preacher so to say, but rather leading my example. I never force anything down peoples throats, don’t talk about my choices unless questioned and always try to go with the flow. Most people don’t even realize that I am ‘different’ and I manage to still go out to eat everywhere my friends go and have come to a healthy weight.
I get it though. I understand why most people think its ok to eat animal products. It has become so normalized people don’t see the obscurity of drinking the fluid intended purely for baby cows for no reason other than it tasting good. People don’t see the bizarreness of killing and eating another beings flesh whilst it not being social acceptable to eat your pet. People aim to remain oblivious and unconnected with their food. There is not a doubt in my mind that believes that if people were educated about the happenings between farm to table they would not eat meat, or any animal products for that matter.
During these 4 years the things that have helped me most is knowing that I am making a difference. That I am helping the planet. That I am actively working to help climate change. Following people on Instagram and Facebook and numerous bloggers (see resources for my faves) has given me the confidence that whilst I am the only vegan that I know, there are so many out there, and our family is growing daily. The vegan community is so happy to help out, and thats what I wish to do with this little site.
And whilst now I am proud of my choices, my family still do not accept it fully, they merely acknowledge it. I feel hopeful though seeing my friends and the people around me influenced by my choices and many have come to me to ask me ‘why’ and for recommendations on how to go vegetarian – and whilst it is not vegan – I am willing to take that. We are in the midst of a revolution. People are going out and aiming to educate themselves, their moral compasses are realizing its odd . I am lucky though to be living in a place which offers so many options for people like me, a place where finding a vegan option on a menu is more likely than not. And hence I decided to start to The Vegan Bible to encourage people to choose those vegan options and expose them to the wide world of vegan in Melbourne.