I’d love to be one of those people who say “I went fully vegan when I was 12 because I saw what they were doing to the animals…. I even threw out all my clothes and my couch and my car!”.
But I’m not.
It’s funny, when you tell someone you are vegan you immediately provoke a response. Usually a defensive one, sometimes a piss taking one (but this wouldn’t be Australia without that) but no matter the nature of the response one thing is true.
All of a sudden, everything that you are, how smart you are, how hard you work, how fit you are, how good at your job you are, how funny you are, all gets thrown out with window because now you’re “the vegan”.
I hate to admit it but that’s one of the main reasons it’s taken me 16 years of being a vegetarian to take the next step towards veganism.
My journey has been a slow progression.
Initially there were two main reasons why I went vegetarian.
- I thought it would make me skinny
- Every day on the way to school our school bus would pass sheep trucks crammed with animals with their little faces squished out the sides.
I don’t say I’m vegan because of the animals but I guess is some ways I am.
As with most things as a teenager, my vegetarianism was a bit of an experiment. At the time my parents were classic meat and three veg people so I just took out the meat. My dinners would be the potatoes, broccoli or cauliflower and the peas/corn/carrot combination.
Every once in a while I would “go back” and have a steak for dinner or try some fish. My family still give me shit about that but again, this is Australia.
At uni, my move away from animal products continued.
Don’t tell anyone, but I desperately wanted to be that cool hippie chick in fisherman’s pants who was Buddhist and meditated.
I chose the long skirts instead and made the switch to soy milk.
It would take another 12 or so years before going vegan would re-enter my life.
A keen runner, last year I started listening to audio books while I ran. Turns out the first few I listened to were ‘Born to Run’, ‘Finding Ultra’ and ‘Eat and Run’.
Replace “cool hippie chick in fisherman’s pants” with “vegan ultra endurance runner”.
I got onto the Rich Roll Podcast. I devoured it (oh my poor phone bill!). I was literally listening to multiple episodes per day. While running (1 hr +), while driving (2.5 hours) and every other time I was in the car, Rich Roll was coming through my speakers.
And the problem with the Rich Roll Podcast, every week there is another person to obsess over and his bloody show notes mean I’m using more data listening to a shit load more podcasts that I’d never heard of.
I have a problem with Netflix also.
The same problem that I have with Facebook knowing what I searched on my phone and putting ads in my feed!
Once you watch one thing, hello Cowspiracy, they “recommend” another five!
Fat Sick and Nearly Dead (1 & 2), Forks over Knives, Food Matters, Food Choices, Supersize Me, Food Inc.
And there’s still more!
All of a sudden I’m in a vegan centric wind tunnel and there’s no way out. Podcast, Netflix, Podcast, Netflix. It’s amazing I got anything else done.
So in September I decided to do a vegan challenge, just one month vegan, and I haven’t really looked back.
Like my vegetarianism, I went up and down. I’d have the occasional dairy ice cream, feel sick and swear never to do it again.
On January 1 2017, I decided to be vegan. I don’t call it that. In fact I don’t really call it anything. People just think I’m a bit of a health nut and if it comes up I just say that I don’t eat animal stuff for health reasons and leave it at that.
I figure I’m better off leading by example than shoving it down someone’s throat.
I honestly thought it would be harder to make the switch. I was one of those people who said “I could never give up cheese”. Well I did and it wasn’t that bad.
Eating out is the hardest part. I’m not super picky. I usually just order off the menu and ask to remove the animal part. Could it have a seasoning or salt substitute that’s derived from an animal, yeah, am I fussed about that, not really.
Maybe one day I will be, but for now I’m just taking it one step at a time, one podcast at a time, one documentary at a time.