Veganism and me

So you may have noticed (if you follow me on Instagram you will definitely know) that I have recently taken up following a plant based diet. This essentially means I am now a vegan, but honestly I try and tell people I’m plant based as for some reason when you tell people you’re vegan it can evoke unwanted reactions. If you too are plant based you’ll know what I mean!
But anyway, I’m vegan now and I wanted to speak to you about it a bit and about the reasons why. I’ll start from the beginning;

I used to be a vegetarian, from the ages of around 12 to 19 (I think, can’t remember specifics) and back then even at 12 I was always really health conscious and I didn’t like the thought of what meat eating did to my body. I found that the vegetarian life always presented so many more healthy options and that naturally I gravitated toward foods which were better for me. I lived off green tea, fruit, grains and lots of other deliciously healthy things.
But then at around 19 I thought I would go back to eating meat, honestly very influenced by my boyfriend at the time (toxic, awful guy!!) as he was a chef, I was impressionable and he pretty much convinced me that I was missing out by not eating meat. I was discovering my love of food and cooking at that age and I really did think that maybe I could make much more adventurous and ‘chef like’ food if I included meat. So gradually I re-introduced all meats back into my diet and actually went too far the other way and ate everything an anything and put on around 3 stone over a couple of years (he also really liked chinese takeout which naturally meant I really liked chinese takeout?! Honestly what is wrong with teenagers – girls, never let boys tell you what to do).

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Thankfully that relationship went south and shortly after I got with my lovely Daniel, whom is now my husband to be (eek!). God love this man as he encourages everything I ever want to do and always gets behind the latest ‘thing’ I’m into – trust me there have been a lot of ‘things’ – knitting anyone?
Obviously, when I first spoke to him back in Autumn last year about wanting to go back to not eating meat, he was his usual kind self and told me to go for it – on the condition I didn’t make him do the same haha! But after reading a few bits and seeing a lot online about the health benefits of veganism I decided to go balls deep and go fully vegan. I thought well I was vegetarian before, so the not eating meat thing won’t be hard for me and there are so many dairy alternatives now why not give it a go?

I never thought it would change my life in the way that it has. Not in a ‘I’m now a millionaire living in St Tropez’ kind of change but a ‘I feel happy, content and back to my true self’ kind of way. I’ve read a lot of vegans feel like this after they make the change, like it makes them feel a more rounded, true version of themselves. I’m aware of how hippy dippy that sounds, but it honestly is that case (I would’ve rolled my eyes too previously, I know). I have lost weight (a stone to date), I eat WAY more veg than I used to, I enjoy cooking more as it forces you to be a little more creative in the kitchen and I just bloody love it.

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In January I signed up to Veganuary, which truly cemented my journey into veganism and made me want to continue eating this way forever.
Initially, when I stopped eating meat and dairy it was for my own self – even back when I was vegetarian it was always more about my own health and wellbeing than the animals – the fact I was not eating them was a happy bi-product. After Veganuary though and their daily mails to keep you on track and to spur you on, it was about so much more than just me. I found out all about how veganism helps the environment, how the animals suffer for the meat AND dairy (that was the shocker) industries and I really feel the need now to be as eco-friendly as I can, so it has evolved beyond my diet into my whole life.

So as I write this I am roughly 5 months into my plant based life and loving it! I don’t want to be ‘one of those’ preachy vegans so I won’t go into too much detail here about how specifically being vegan helps your body/environment/animals (let me know if you want more detailed posts about any of those) but I will say there are absolutely no regrets. I do want to keep some perspective though because as amazing as this new lifestyle has been for me, I realise it can’t always 100% be the case.
What I mean by that is that for all the good will in the world, I will probably eat dairy or meat at some point. Either on purpose or by accident, it will happen. For example if I am with lots of friends who want to eat somewhere specific for a special occasion meal for instance and there is no vegan option, would it kill me to eat the vegetarian option which has a bit of cheese in it for one night? No, it won’t. It’s not ideal but I ate it for the past 6 years so I would survive.
Likewise I’m not about to read the label of every.single.thing I eat. Yes, I read labels a lot more than I used to because so many things have milk or milk powder in them when you’d never guess it was there, but I refuse to become obsessed. I make most things I eat from scratch anyway so it’s not a huge issue but as some point I’m sure some milk powder will pass these lips and I won’t have the foggiest idea it’s happened.
Finally there is everything which isn’t technically part of my diet – I guess this separates me from the hardcore vegan crew. I am going to say it and wait for the witch hunt – I OWN LEATHER. Not much, but I have a few leather bits in my house/wardrobe. Do you honestly think that I am going to chuck out £££ worth of stuff because I don’t eat dairy anymore? Nahh. Will I buy it again in the future? Probably not, so I don’t see the harm. I truly believe I am doing my bit for the planet/animals/the flaming NHS for going plant based but I ain’t made of money so I can only do my best. If I could replace every thing I wear/use with vegan products I would right away, but it will happen in time.
There’s also the fact that I don’t like to be wasteful – A brand sent me some amazing tablets to review (coming soon!) which have fish oil in them, but by the time I realised I had already been taking them for 3 days – so I’m going to carry on. I won’t buy them again, but I can certainly recommend them for anyone who isn’t vegan. I can ask the brand if they’ve considered going fully vegan and maybe it will happen and maybe it won’t, who am I to judge?

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So what I’m saying really is that everyone should do their best when it comes to life choices, but don’t beat yourself up if you slip up.
I would fully encourage you all to try plant based living for a month at least, it really does feel amazing. But if not, that’s ok, because I’m going to continue and I know that even if I made those choices 80% of the time I am doing my own little bit for the plant and that makes me happy.
Wearing matching socks and playing the violin might make you happy, so do that. We all just need to do what we think is right and accept that everyone won’t think the same way.

But, if you do agree with me that plant based eating is a vibe then great, I hope you like my recipes and if not, whack in a bit of chicken and try them anyway!

Just Hollie xox

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