Veganism

The consequences of seeking approval from others

I never wanted to actually be an activist. It wasn’t something that spoke to me on a deep level.

I tried though. Convinced by another’s arguments and my own need for approval surfacing, I tried.

I went to a Cube of Truth, although in truth it was a bit of a shambles because they decided at the last minute to move it to a location closer to the CBD. I had been riding my bike all morning and wasn’t keen on the extra ride, so I went home, not getting to see it in its full glory.

I was able to stay for the discussion and role play, which was informative and confidence boosting. Still, I was really only there to see how it all works, see it in action, dip my toes in before I took the whole dive. I’m cautious like that. Sometimes…

The whole time I was there, it felt wrong, I felt wrong. I felt like an imposter, like a sheep in wolves clothing. It didn’t feel ‘mine’.

Please don’t mistake me, it’s not that I had to be the one to ‘find’ it. I’m not that shallow. But when you are with your tribe you feel it in your bones. Your heart sings with happiness and you look around and you ‘see’ all of the people there. You belong. It feels ‘mine’.

I can’t say I ‘saw’ anyone, not even the ‘friends’ I was there with. I felt alone, out of place.

Still, I thought I could do some stuff behind the scenes. Help raise some funds for the group so they could get more gear, etc. Give back that way.

So, I offered to organise a fundraiser in the form of a psychic and well-being fair. The last fundraiser I had been a part of raised $3000+ for the cause, I thought the Cube could have used a similar amount to buy resources for their events and maybe even have a stall and a talk on the day to raise awareness… apparently not…

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I realised what was going on.

I have said earlier that I had allowed other people to dictate to me how to ‘do friendships’ and it left me hurt and disappointed. Without going into too much detail, it was this friend who had convinced me that I should be an activist.

It seems I looked at my choice not to be an activist as wrong, and made changes accordingly.

I allowed myself to be drawn into a world that I knew I didn’t belong for the wrong reasons: an attempt to be fully accepted by this friend. I let my need for approval control my choices (as I said before also, I had moved past this) and I changed who I was to fit someone else’s ideal.

I am not an activist.

I am a teacher. I am a healer. I am a psychic and (budding) medium. My passion is to help people clear their blocks, become more conscious of the patterns that are holding them back and help them move forward. This is who I am. This the life I am working towards.

It’s OK that I don’t want to be a public activist. It’s not who I am. I might still do stuff behind the scenes, and even find a way to hold an event fundraiser for another cause who will welcome the donation.

But, public activism doesn’t make my heart sing. I am probably more passionate about reversing all of the damage the patriarchy has caused so women can be totally free and safe in the world. So men can own their own natures and not feel inadequate when they don’t meet the standards of masculinity put forward by the patriarchy. So all people in the world can just be themselves. Totally and completely.

My other passion is showing people how bad animal products are for your health. Giving them the facts about nutrition and educating them on how the body works so they can see for themselves the harm certain foods do to their body. This might be a hobby or sideline gig though.

Anyone telling me that it isn’t OK to be who I am, for whatever reason, is putting conditions on their love and I don’t need that. I love myself too much now to be bound by others’ rigid guidelines of acceptance and approval. I will not jump through hoops so people will like me. I’ll just find another circus!

I totally honour and even agree with her reasoning as to why we should all be activists. However, honouring myself is more important.

I never want to feel like an impostor again.

Blessed Be! xx

 

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Veganism

The problem with labels and judgements

This is probably going to be a little bit ‘rant-y’. You have been warned…

Yet again I have been disappointed by the vegan community.

Apparently, eating ethically sourced, local honey, but only when you are sick, isn’t ‘vegan enough’. Apparently, eating eggs your own backyard chickens laid isn’t ‘vegan enough’.

I’ve been attacked and ridiculed before for not being vegan, this is not new to me. I rode a horse up the Andes (which was freaking amazing btw), but that’s not vegan. My choice to not be an activist didn’t make me ‘vegan enough’. Now, the honey thing.

I’ve also seen others being attacked for their choices and it’s not fair.

It’s judgemental and intolerant bullshit and it needs to stop.

It’s at the point now where I don’t want to be associated with veganism at all, thinking of even changing the name of the blog. Maybe something like ‘plant-based Mystic’ or ‘cruelty-free Witch’. Maybe ‘And harm none’ as a nod to the rede.

I went so far as to want to eat a Big Mac as a giant ‘Fuck you!’ to the vegan community. I didn’t, because of the animals, my own health and the simple fact I made a commitment, but when you are ready to go against everything you stand for, your core values, everything that makes you you, you know it’s serious.

The thing is, I’ve spent my entire life not being ‘enough’. Not smart enough, or pretty enough, or thin enough, quiet enough, interesting enough, not experienced enough… the list goes on.

I’ve made a resolution in my 30s to steer clear of anyone telling me I’m not enough, because I am, by the Goddess! My basic existence tells me I am enough. The fact that I think and breathe and try to be kind, tells me I’m enough. And I’ll be damned if I am going to let anyone tell me I’m not enough any more.

If that means not associating with or as a vegan, then so be it. I’ll find another label for myself and go that way.

Or just stop using them.

The other thing that annoyed me was someone’s argument that other people’s choices to adjust the term in practice makes their lives harder. Well, guess what? That’s your problem! Not mine. I am honouring myself, just like you are honouring yourself. Don’t you think that you being an intolerant arsehole makes my life harder? No one seems to think of it that way do they?

On a more practical note, the other argument was ‘When I have to explain to people that I don’t eat honey when other vegans do is inconvenient’. Well, I don’t know what restaurants you are going to, but unless they are 100% dedicated vegan restaurants, everyone has to explain themselves! I think this person was just pissed that other people aren’t ‘doing it right’. And coming from someone who used to be concerned with ‘doing it right’, it is exhausting and a waste of time. My advice? Stop, before the stress kills you…

I just wish people would be less concerned with right and wrong and just embrace those people who are trying. Accept those people who are educated enough to want to make the change and dedicated enough to risk living ‘without cheese’ or ‘bacon though’ for the good of the animals, themselves and the planet. Why can’t we just spend more one educating those people who are still unaware, and less time bickering among ourselves and judging our own for our eccentricities.

I have made an educated choice to consume honey, based on medical and scientific studies. I have also chosen to do my own research and find ethical, sustainable and cruelty-free sources of the product. If this effort and thought doesn’t make me vegan, if it’s not enough to fit into the club, then so be it. I’m done with trying to live up to the expectations of others and too old to care what you think of me.

Rant over. 💖😇🕉

Blessed Be! xx

Veganism

Why I’m Choosing Activism

I never wanted to be that person who held up the posters at Rodeos. Or that person who went to slaughterhouses to film the appalling conditions of the animals.

I always wanted to be the quiet vegan, the one that shared their knowledge with those close to them in the hopes of helping them to make the change.

I would share what I had learned and hope they joined me, comfortable with the fact that I had helped a little.

They would then share their knowledge and it would spread, quietly and efficiently across the globe. Word of mouth works right? Also, I can just lead by example, right??

This view has now changed after an enlightening conversation with an activist friend.

She was talking to another friend of hers about activism and trying to understand why her friend wasn’t an activist. Her friend answered basically the same as I would: I don’t want to be one of those pushy vegans. She too was quite happy just doing her own thing, confident in the knowledge that she was part for change.

Then my friend said something that would change my mind. Quite simply and lovingly, and for that I love her.

Her argument went something like this: if it wasn’t for all of those women getting out of their lounge rooms and fighting for what they believed in, we wouldn’t have the opportunities we have today.

The truth of this statement struck me, like a mallet to the chest.

In the past, I have connected with this energy, the collective of strong women who came before me, and it’s real and still exists inside of us today. I have had moments of intense gratitude for the women who came before, who fought for their rights so I could enjoy mine.

I just know my friend is right – if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have what I have. If they had all sat on their bums in the safety of their own happy marriages, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

And the dichotomy is real. I have one grandmother who was treated with respect and love, allowed to do what she wanted when she wanted, who had control of the money and the house, who was effectively the boss of her home. I also have another grandmother who was raped and beaten on a regular basis by a drunken husband and had to watch as her kids were beaten as well. This grandmother is now completely deaf in one ear because of the abuse she suffered. I know all too well the extremes of the patriarchy.

If it wasn’t for the women who had the courage to stand up, I probably would not be here today, as at least one grandparent could have been beaten to death. If she didn’t have the courage to fight for her own right to be safe and those of her children, to stand up for her beliefs, my life would be totally different.

So I made a choice. If not for the animals themselves, then for all of the activists that came before me, for women’s rights, against racism, to end Apartheid, against slavery. If these people didn’t stand up for what they believed in and had the courage and strength to make this world what they believed it should be, our world would be much different and I have nothing but respect and gratitude for them.

I believe we do not need animal products to be healthy.

I believe that to subjugate and exploit any being, to do things to them without consent and against their clearly visible will is wrong.

I believe that we need to stop animal abuse, because for me, all life is sacred.

So I’m going to start on my activist path. I’m not one to jump right in the deep end, I’m going to test the waters of some groups and see which one is the best fit. I’m going to give my time the best way I know how to promoting Veganism and helping to end animal abuse. This might mean simply volunteering at vegan events or it might mean holding banners outside of rodeos, who knows?

I am going to devote more time to being active in what I believe in.

For the animals and in the memory of all of those people who came before me and helped shape the world we live in.

I am also thinking I will include women’s rights to this list, but I’ll see what the universe sends my way. 😁

Veganism

Happy Veganniversary: what I’ve learnt about the world

Today marks my first anniversary of deciding to commit to ‘this vegan thing’.

I’d done Veganuary and felt confident that I was on the right track. My reasons started out based on health, but over January 2017 had evolved into ethical and environmental ones.

My eyes were open and there was no going back.

Little did I realise that the next 12 months would be some of the most challenging of my entire life. They would also be some of the most rewarding.

To mark my 1st Veganniversary I thought I’d share my new found truths.

What I’ve learned along my Veganism Journey

  1. A lot of my general knowledge was actually unsupported assumptions. Surely they just put a cow and a bull in a paddock and let em work it out for themselves? No. A million times no. Artificial insemination makes perfect sense from a business perspective – why leave something so important to chance? But the cows will need to be milked anyway, or they’ll get mastitis, right? No. A trillion times no. No other mammal continues to produce milk after a certain time after birth, why do we think cows are any different?
  2. Free range doesn’t necessarily guarantee humane. In a dark barn with barely enough room to move isn’t the free range they show you on the packets!
  3. Protein is not as important as the meat industry wants us to believe. Most of my sources (books, nutrition courses, websites and documentaries) tell us we only need around 80mg of protein in a day. Anything more than this will be eliminated from our bodies as waste. This we can get through a variety of plant foods, such as beans, almonds and sunflower seeds, in abundance. Plus, we can plan to get exactly what we need, rather than overdosing and using vital energy eliminating the excess from our bodies. Seems like simple math to me!!
  4. No matter what facts you give people, admitting they were mislead is very difficult. And I’ll say ‘mislead’ as opposed to wrong, because wrong would indicate a conscious decision was made. This is rarely the case in society. Maybe it’s a pride thing, who knows! There have been less than a handful of people I’ve spoken to about the impacts of animal agriculture, backed up by statistics, who don’t choose to ignore or forget what they heard and continue to do what they always did. Health of the planet, be damned!
  5. No amount of ‘shorter showers’ will come close to the amount of water I’ve saved. Using the stats given in Cowspiracy, converted to the metric system, for each kilogram of meat I don’t consume, I’m saving over 5000 litres of water. That’s 500 “shorter showers” a week! A WEEK!!! Why doesn’t the Australian Waterboard give us those statistics??
  6. Being vegan doesn’t guarantee compassion. This one breaks my heart. To profess so much compassion for animals and then not show it to your fellow species is not only sad, but hypocritical as well. Under this heading comes tolerance as well, but in the form of a lack of tolerance for people doing their best and living by their rules. Vegans can be among the most judgemental people I have ever come across. I thought indoctrination was only for the religious? Apparently I was wrong.
  7. People think they are being funny when they show you pictures of dead animals. This has really mostly been from teenagers, but I’ve had adults make jokes about me eating their chicken salad for lunch. We don’t go around showing them pictures of things that offend and upset them, like dead babies or decapitated human heads, so why do they do this to us? It’s blatant disrespect and, done enough, bullying and harassment.
  8. Sometimes you are surprised by the least likeliest of people. Some family and friends have been ultra supportive of my choice, even choosing to eat with me when they have other options. I know it is highly unlikely these people will ever become vegan, but I can appreciate when they support my choice and show it with their forks! It’s even better when you can have a decent conversation with them where they listen to your reasons and engage in a positive way!
  9. There is a such thing as a fat vegan and I’m fast becoming one! I am only a little bit sad to say the clincher for my choice was discovering that French Fries were vegan! Oh, happy day!! And this was before So Good and Over the Moo released their dairy free ice cream…
  10. Sometimes it seems animal products are in literally everything! From hot chocolate powder to plastic bags, animal agriculture seems to have its claws in all our commonly used products! Luckily for us, most things can be easily replaced. Equally lucky is that most restaurants always have hot chips on the menu!

I am sure there is plenty more that could and should go on this list, but these are the stand out lessons for me!

Let me know what you’ve learned on your journey and let’s see if we can’t spread the word together!!

And for whenever yours is…

Happy Veganniversary!!

Veganism

Veganism: too hard as a trend, too easy for your health

I work with a lot of children. Teenagers. Easily impressionable, concerned about what others think, while at the same time wanting to stand out, to be a leader, a ‘trendsetter’, although most of them would die before using that word. They all secretly want to be that kid who started the craze or new slang term no one really knows the definition for, often they themselves.

I had a thought this morning about using this drive to persuade kids to be vegan. Just a silly romantic thought, but a bought nonetheless.

I quickly let this idea go, however. And not because I teach in a public school and shouldn’t be ‘preaching’ to the kids about anything.

I let it go because veganism as a fad or trend would be hard. Too hard. Like dieting. People adopt it for a while and then eventually revert back to their original patterns. I don’t want veganism to be a trend. Something people turn to in order to be cool. More importantly, it’s not about that on a fundamental level. It’s about something bigger.

Veganism for the right reasons is easy. It’s easy to eliminate diary from your diet when you know what happens to the cows to produce it and have an emotional reaction. It’s easy to stop eating meat when you know how bad it is for your health. It’s the easiest thing in the world. It builds commitment and perseverance to have a deeply emotional reason for doing it. It’s easier still to stay on the path when the reasons for being on it are deeply personal, when you own it.

Veganism as a fad would be hard. Veganism for health and ethics is easy.

This is why using the ‘you’d be cool! You’d start a trend!’ argument would only work so far. Sure, it’d save millions of animal’s lives while they were in the fad, but I’m afraid that, like most diets, once they went back to their old ways they’d overcompensate for missed opportunities. This would then undo all the good they did do while being vegan.

So I’ll stick to the ‘be the change’ angle and hope for the best. Hope they (and people in general) ask questions themselves that I can answer honestly, with statistics and from love. Hope that they’ll listen to the answers. Hope that one day they will all see the truth and make the choice that is best for the animals, the planet and more importantly for them, themselves.

Veganism

Do the animals need more love and light? 

I was talking with some friends the other day and the topic of animals came up. Namely what we are doing to them and their habitats. We all acknowledged that the state of the world’s environments and how we are treating animals is deplorable. I was in a highly emotional mood and ended up in tears about it. Sobbing in fact. What was their solution? To send the planet and the animal kingdom love, light and healing.

Are you kidding me? I got quite angry at this point, realising the hypocracy of it all. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for sending love and healing to the planet, people and situations. I am a reiki master, so I believe (know) it works. Where the hypocracy lies, for me, is in the intention to heal the planet and then continuing to eat animals, the very thing we know is contributing to its destruction. You might as well do your healing while eating a salmon sandwich!

The logical part of my brain kicked in too. Energy cancels out. If you have one negative charge and one positive charge of the same value, add them together and you have zero. It’s the same in maths: 17 + -17 = 0. Always. In either order. So sending positive energy and healing to something then participating in the continuation of the very thing you want to heal? It cancels out! You may as well save your time and energy and just do nothing. The sad truth is that there is more negative energy pouring into this situation by people participating in it, than positive, so what ever positive energy is sent won’t even come close to totally cancelling out, let alone tipping the balance. Sending the positive would be a full time job, but most of us already have those! At some point sending love and light needs to be replaced with action. We need to stop adding to the negative charge. We need to acknowledge the shadow and then do something about it!

I totally understand that people need to come to things in their own time – my day job as a high school teacher taught me all about trying to get people to do things they don’t want to do. And I definitely need to have more compassion for people who have not made the connections I have, because the Gods know there are many much simpler ones I have failed to make, my recent connection about protein tells me that. I am far from perfect and I don’t need a devil’s advocate here, but I am trying.

ghandi

We can send all the love and light we want, and I totally encourage it! But first we need to recognise that our own actions are contributing to the situation in the first place and change our approach. We need to stop adding to the situation by removing ourselves as much as possible from it. It doesn’t even have to be overnight, changes like this are massive and need time. My transition took around 6 months, and half of that I wasn’t even aware I was heading to this point. I just know that this situation isn’t going to change while good people stand by and do nothing.

Veganism

When you can’t see the trees for the forest…

Sometimes it takes me a little longer to get things other people take for granted. You see, I am a highly intelligent person, extremely analytical and logical. This means I don’t have a lot of common sense and I’m surprised I haven’t been hit by a car while crossing the road or starved to death for the want of boiled water.

Sometimes the connections between things are so obvious my highly intelligent mind fails to see them. I tend to think things are more complicated than they really are. Someone has to point out the obvious to me. Like the other day. Massive revelation.

And what was this obvious link, you all ask in breathless anticipation? Wait for it…

The protein we eat is the same protein we have in our bodies that helps create our cells.

The protein we eat is the same stuff that, if you have enough of it, makes your hair curly.

The protein we eat is the same squiggly stuff from Biology 1001, the university course I took a few years ago.

proteins
Primary, secondary and tertiary protein cell structure.

 

So, I went back and had a look at the notes to see what was really going on. I had started my search with a single question – why is protein so important that everyone is so concerned that us vegans don’t get enough? This led me to a few sites which all told me that it is the structural component of cells, it is used in tissue repair, helps in cell communication and development and makes up your vital organs. This is when the revelation hit me like a ton of excited bricks – yes, I did get excited, but I’m a nerd like that.

What did I re-learn from my biology course? Proteins are made up of many amino acids, called the ‘building blocks’ of life. They join together in polypeptide bonds and perform certain functions depending on their make up. Some catalyse the initial phase of mitosis, or cell replication, which is what heals our scraped knee or over-exercised muscles. Others are the same things that sit in our cell membranes and allow hormones and other biomolecules in or out of the cell. Some aid in the production and transportation of hormones, they tell us when to make and release adrenalin.

MPF
Taken from the course notes, the protein is the green one…

 

The more I look back at the notes from Biology 1001, the more I am stunned it has taken me almost 2 years to make this connection. I didn’t even make it when I was taking the course!!

I knew protein was important, but now I know why.

Sometimes my failure at common sense connections astounds me. But, the excitement when the revelation does come is very real.

Veganism

5 Tips for Transitioning to a Vegan Diet

I know there are already heaps of hints and tips out there for transitioning to a vegan diet. Mine will hopefully help with a slower transition, as some of us can’t do change overnight. We like to wade around a little first to see what the temperature is like and how big the waves are before we dive in. We will eventually dive in, it just takes a little more time for us to get used to the temperature.

And, it can be daunting. Veganism is more than a diet, it is a way of life – hence the ‘ism’. If you’re doing it to lose weight, you’ll more than likely go back to your old habits once you hit that magic number and, like most of us do, put it all back on again. If you’re doing it for health, you’ll be good most of the time, but again you will find an excuse to eat the cheese or ice cream or T-bone, because you’ve been well for a while now so maybe a little wont hurt? And the more ‘the little’ doesn’t hurt, the more you’ll eat it and eventually you too will be back at square one. I am speaking from personal experience here, because this second one was me with cigarettes and nearly was for veganism.

The only way I’ve found for this to truly work is to incorporate an ethical philosophy into your choice to change. If it’s not about something bigger than you, it wont work as effectively.

So, it’s a lifestyle choice. Are you ready for a change? If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you are. So, here are my 5 tips for transitioning to a vegan lifestyle:

  1. Go easy on yourself. Most people will put this last, and the article I read it in did too if memory serves me (and it doesn’t on the source unfortunately!). I’ll put it first because most people only remember the first and last thing they read (as science has shown time and time again) and I think it is the most important part. You wont get it 100% right 100% of the time, especially at first. I know I didn’t. And when you’re out and about and starving, do your best to avoid animal products. If your best is smashed avocado with feta on sourdough, because that’s all there is and they already put the feta in, don’t beat yourself up over it. Do what ever ritual or say whatever prayer you need to to thank the animal and move on. Guilt doesn’t help anyone, it weakens your resolve and eventually you will give up because it gets too much. And if you make a mistake, as you almost certainly will, and eat something you found out later to have animal products (like white sugar, red lollies or some hashbrowns) same deal applies – GO EASY ON YOURSELF! 
  2. Adapt your existing diet. Big changes are more easily made in small chunks and familiar surroundings. One friend of mine did it overnight, but most of us just aren’t built that way and that is perfectly acceptable. So, do it one meal at a time. Stick to your already established routine, but make adjustments. Substitute mince in spaghetti bolognaise with grated zucchini. You only need one, so it’s cheaper as well as healthier! Swap cows milk for soy or almond milk in your tea or coffee. Be careful here and experiment, because I’ve found some milks can curdle in instant coffee. It doesn’t taste bad and won’t hurt you, it just doesn’t look appealing. I have also found I need less sugar in my tea because the milk is already sweet! Exchange thickened cream in soups and carbonara dishes for coconut milk. The texture will be a little different, but the taste is as good, if not better due to the lack of oil that tends to pool at the top of some pasta dishes. These are a few things I did, but it is easy to find more. Just google for a substitute to your meat and dairy and you’ll find heaps of examples. I live by the simple rule of more veggies over meat and plant-based over animal dairy. This also makes most new recipes easy to adapt too.
  3. Research, research, research. Most vegans will learn all they can about how harmful animal agriculture is for the planet and our own bodies. This is great! People definitely need to be aware of this. What I found most interesting, and eye-brow raising for my carnist loved ones, was to find out how certain foods heal the body and what impact others have on our health. In fact, it was this search that lead me to giving up dairy almost a year ago, before ever even considering becoming vegan. One book I found particularly helpful was Dr Greger’s How Not to Die. So much so I ended up buying a copy, despite my minimalist tendencies. The library copy would only let me renew it so many times! There are others, but any general research from reputable sources on nutrition will help. And this knowledge will bring an interesting addition to the inevitable ‘discussions’ with carnists. 
  4. Watch, watch, watch. Perhaps this should have gone in spot 3, more for continuity’s sake than anything. Still, here it is and here we are! There are a multitude of documentaries out there now, especially on Netflix, about sustainable living and the impact of animal agriculture on the environment and our health. Go, be a sponge! A Netflix and pyjama day is a must! For me, this was the turning point from ‘maybe’ to ‘never again’. I remember the scene quite clearly, and if you’ve also read The Day I Chose Me you will already know what’s coming. I can’t remember which one it was now, probably Cowspiracy. There was a scene in a dairy farm with a dairy cow being lead back outside after being milked. I don’t remember what was said, but my eyes were drawn to her udders, dripping blood and pus. I was horrified. Maybe I empathized with her, woman to woman, despite not having yet had my own children, but knowing the pain she would be feeling in such a vulnerable part. Maybe it was my logical side kicking in, knowing the blood and pus would surely be in the milk we would then drink. If not, I wasn’t keen on drinking the chemicals they would need to use to make it drinkable either. So, this was my ‘never again’ moment. Since visuals are often the quickest, most effective way of imparting information – watch, watch, watch! And if you’ve already had your ‘never again’ moment, the worst that can happen is gaining more knowledge, which is certainly never a bad thing.
  5. Find out what works for you. This I can’t stress enough. As someone who has spent her life up to now living as others expected me to, I have finally learnt that you have to honour yourself first. Find a philosophy that works for you. Mine comes from a line in the Wiccan Rede – ‘Do what you will and harm none’. So, I live my life however I wish, as long as I am not hurting anyone or any being. So, if I chose to still consume some animal products, I will make sure no animal was harmed in the process. I, and a few vegan friends, still consume honey for its healing properties. Me, usually only when sick, and one friend more regularly as a preventative. Our philosophy leads us to sourcing organically grown honey that does the least harm to the bees when sourced, none if possible. As long as no bees are killed, maimed or otherwise hurt through this process, I am happy. Many vegans wont agree with me, but they don’t have to. I have made an informed choice and this is what works best for me. So, discover your own philosophy and do what works best for you.

So, I hope these tips help you in your transition. Feel free to comment any thoughts, experiences or questions below. I would love to hear what worked for you!

 

 

Veganism

The Day I Chose Me

On the first of February this year I officially became vegan. On the 1st of May I decided it was time to stop making excuses and fully, commit, so perhaps I should call February my ‘I’ve got heaps of info now, so I can give this a real shot’ day and May my ‘no more mucking around, no more excuses, I’m all in’ day.

I had met a vegan sometime in August last year. She didn’t preach, just explained how things were for her. I had been off red meat for almost 3 years at that stage (pork included) and was currently struggling with the ‘no chicken or fish’ decision. It was something I struggled with, because I didn’t want to continue to eat chicken, but something always stopped me or I changed my mind for some reason. Dairy never entered my mind as an issue. Besides, how could one live without cheese?

Then I got sick. I’d had a head cold for around 8 weeks. Straight. I checked my Inna Segal book, but nothing seemed to fit. Then I had a thought – I wonder if there is some information on the effect of dairy on the body? A friend is allergic to dairy (and still eats it!), getting hay fever symptoms every time she eats it. My symptoms were worse than hay fever, and more prolonged, but I still wondered at the connection. I had been consuming way more dairy that I used to, because an ex had showed me how to cook amazing Italian dishes using thickened cream and I was also having a lovely time with burritos and tacos using sour cream.

innasegal

It didn’t take me long to discover that dairy can not be broken down in the body like other foods. Apparently the molecules are larger than normal molecules and get stored as mucus. (I don’t have any sources for this, as it was so long ago and I was not thinking ahead, but feel free to google it!) JACKPOT!! So, I stopped eating the Italian stuff on a daily basis, switched to soy milk and cut back on cheese and sour cream. I got better almost instantly! Well, within the week I was pretty much mucus free.

Still, I wasn’t ready to fully commit. Sure, it appeared to be better for my health, but I could just cut down right? Or be aware of symptoms returning and do something then. 🙂 Besides, there was no good reason I could come up with to stop eating chicken and fish, and my intense need to please people and not be a nuisance stopped me from fully committing to a 100% vegetarian diet, I am not at all ashamed to admit.

Then I saw a documentary that would change everything. Cowspiracy. Most vegans have seen it, or at least heard about it. By the end of the documentary I decided to at least give this whole vegan thing a try, just to see if I could do it. I did not consider myself an especially good cook, so making adjustments or cooking new things was going to be a struggle.

Cowspiracy

I messaged my friend for some tips, but it was Veganuary that really got me started. As I said earlier, I didn’t take it seriously until February, or really commit until May, and I had inferiority issues relating to my cooking. However, I don’t think I could have even got through February without the help of these recipes and meal plans. Such an amazing site that I still use to branch out in the kitchen.

veganuary poster

I guess my point is that, for me, health was not enough, not then. I knew I would improve a little just by cutting down. After Cowspiracy, I watched all the other documentaries – Forks Over Knives, Food Inc., the Earthlings trailer (I cried for 15 minutes after seeing this short 2 minute clip and decided I was not up for seeing the whole film and I would leave it to convert the more die hard carnists!) – and it has become about ethics and choosing to live a cruelty free lifestyle. That and the fact I have never felt or eaten better in my life. I think the final nail in the proverbial coffin was seeing the dairy cow being pushed out of the milking pen, blood dripping form her udders, that I decided I was never going to intentionally be a part of such cruelty and barbarity ever again. Besides, I did not like the idea of consuming cow’s blood OR the chemicals they surely put through the milk to make it safe to drink. (I do not know if they do this, but my extremely logical mind lead me to this conclusion, but if anyone has any proof, feel free to add in the comments.)

This is the day I took my life back. The day I started living consciously. The day I chose what was best for me. The day I stopped ‘eating all the bullshit food that they sold me’, thank you John Butler. The day I chose my own value to live by, instead of accepting what others told me was right and wrong. The day I chose me.

(This is also another re-publish, so don’t be too concerned if you’ve read it elsewhere!)

Veganism

My Struggle with Change

This is a post from an old blog I had. I needed to re-blog it here because, well, we all have cycles and we all change and new beginnings need to be adhered to. Plus, it is way more relevant on this blog than my last one. 🙂

I’ll start this by saying outright – I did become the opinionated, lecturing vegan no one likes. Even other vegans. Luckily for me I have a loving, honest mother and a natural tendency towards introspection.

Still, this period of change appeared to be a challenge for me and my nearest and dearest. I found myself constantly defending my choice to no longer consume animals in any form from questions like ‘where do you get your protein?’ and ‘but you need calcium for strong bones, where do you get that from?’ Then there was the ‘what would you have eaten 100 years ago, because you had to eat what you were given.’ I informed them that 100 years ago the world was in a pretty bad state and the only thing there was to eat were the vegetable in the family backyard – no one would have wasted a cow by killing it for meat, they were too expensive and the milk much more precious.

protein

Worse still where the statements like ‘cows get killed everyday anyway, so why bother?’ and ‘plants have feelings too! science proved it!’ (as an aside, science doesn’t prove anything, it merely shows correlation so there’s the first flaw in that, and any similar, argument. Always be wary when articles say ‘proven’, especially if there are no references. But, I digress…)

I don’t know what was worse, the people trying to tell me I was wrong or the fact that my loved ones used lawed logic to justify their own carnism (I love this word!)

But we got through this and we are… well, as intact as we are ever going to be. The questions have stopped and we just go about our business. I think there are probably three reasons for this.

Firstly, and I think most importantly, I stopped lecturing. I still share the odd statistic, but I have a natural inclination towards teaching and I think my family and friends know and understand this. I have stopped talking about it constantly, which I’m sad to say was what I was doing. I tend to get obsessive and over-excited when I discover new truths or subjects and just want to share with other. It quickly becomes all I can thin about for a time. It does subside, eventually. Also, I have had this life long urge to show people, not just the ‘error of their ways’, but that there is another way. this has gotten me in trouble before – my need to fix what I have no business fixing – and you’d think I’d learn! well, I did. Eventually…

vegam10mins

The second think was probably my honesty. I think years of being honest with students when they ask questions about History and I don’t have the answers has kept me somewhat humble to the fact I don’t know everything. I have realized there is no shame in saying ‘I don’t know, but I’ll find out and get back to you.’ And I do. When my loved ones posed a question or statement I hadn’t thought of, I would simply say ‘that’s a good point. let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.’ This allowed me the space I needed to organize my thought and emotions, sit in stillness, maybe do some research, and find (or be shown) the answer. It hasn’t failed me yet.

Thirdly, I think learning acceptance helped to let go. I accepted that my family doesn’t see things the way I do. they don’t think the way I do. if I’ve given them all of this knowledge and (in my view) proof, and they still choose to consume animals, then at least they are now making an educated choice and not living blindly and unconsciously. Sure, they’ve probably filed everything I have said as ‘nonsense’, but it’s there now and can’t be unlearned. I have learned to accept that I have done all I can and that I can’t force change upon others.

I am grateful for the challenge this change has given me as I am stronger for it. Also, all the questions and statements posed to me have helped me formulate my own value system and made my choice clearer in my mind, not jut my heart. I feel now I am ready for any challenge people can present to me, no matter how absurd.