Friday, March 30, 2007

My Veganniversary

Inspired by Bazu’s post last month, I thought I would post about how I came to be a vegan as this month is my one year veganniversary. Also like Bazu this is actually my second time around being vegan. I wish I had stuck with it the first time, but here’s how I got there in the end:

I’ve always liked animals and when I was around 15 I used to see animal rights stalls in the city centre of Glasgow and would read the leaflets and sign their petitions. I made sure that my makeup was not tested on animals and discovered The Body Shop. My aunt is a vegetarian so I was always aware of what a vegetarian was, but at the time I never really connected the food on my plate to real life animals.

When I was 17 I studied Hospitality Management at college. Part of the course was a full day’s class in the kitchen where we learned basic food preparation and cooking skills. Some of the things we learned were filleting fish and preparing rack of lamb. I am really squeamish and I hated dealing with this kind of stuff and it was becoming much more apparent to me that the food I was eating was part of an animal that used to live and breathe. I decided to myself that when I moved out my parent’s home I would become vegetarian. But one day at home I was preparing chicken for dinner and there was blood on it and it just disgusted me so much that I decided there and then that I didn’t want to eat stuff like that anymore.

When I told my Mum that I was going to be vegetarian she was fine with it, but said to me, “I hope you’re not going to be one of those vegans”. I think she just gave me the idea, and within a year or two I had turned vegan. I was happy with my choice to be a vegan; I had never particularly liked milk or eggs and didn’t really miss them. When I was questioned about veganism I had a hard time explaining myself because I didn’t really know for sure why I was vegan. Sometimes I liked the idea that I was a bit different and other times I was mortified when put on the spot and questioned about veganism. I continued being vegan for about 3 years, but when Wee G and I went on holiday abroad I ended up eating cheese and eggs because I couldn’t find much else and I didn’t want to cause a fuss. When we came back home I realised that life was much easier being vegetarian. I continued drinking soy milk, but ate cheese and milk chocolate and eggs when they were an ingredient in something else. I didn’t like the idea that these products came from animals, and still thought they were pretty icky, but I chose to not think about it instead of avoiding them.

In 2006 it was almost ten years since I had quit being vegan. Every now and then I thought that it would be “ideal” to be vegan, but was just never motivated to do anything about it. My motivation initially came from reading the news that The Body Shop was taken over by L’Oreal. I still bought all my makeup there and loved their products and had more love for that shop than a person should have for a store selling bubble bath. But I have never bought anything from L’Oreal as they are notorious for testing on animals. I have never forgotten a leaflet I read when I was a teenager about one particular experiment for sunscreen that they carried out on mice. It still makes me ill to think about it so I won’t go in to details. I was hugely disappointed and outraged that The Body Shop would have anything to do with L’Oreal. I began searching online to find somewhere else to buy my makeup and somehow ended up on the PETA web site. There I ended up watching the Meet Your Meat video. Even though I was vegetarian I was shocked at the treatment of the animals and when it was stated in the film that the veal industry is directly linked to the dairy industry I decided right then that I would not consume any dairy again. I couldn’t believe that I had never realised this before. So that was it – I was vegan again!

This time round I’m much better informed and feel more certain about my reasons for being vegan. I know that I’ll be vegan for life now. I spent hours reading about veganism and animal rights on the internet last year. Wee G was very supportive of my decision, but didn’t like that I was getting upset over many of the things I was reading. I’ve never tried to get him to be a veggie, but if I could have changed one thing about him it would be to make him a veggie! One day I left this web site on the pc screen (accidentally-on-purpose :)). He read it and turned to me and said “I don’t want to eat meat anymore”. So, now we have a meat-free, almost completely vegan house and I have never been happier! I don’t miss any animal food products at all, but I still get a little sad when I get a whiff of The Body Shop as I walk by...

I continue to learn so much from the internet and my fellow bloggers. I appreciate all the help and support I have had since starting my blog... so thank you!

12 comments:

bazu said...

Happy Veganniversary to you and thank you for sharing your story! I identified with so much of what you said. It was with great sadness that I, too, stopped shopping at the Body Shop. I felt SO betrayed when they sold out to L'Oreal. Ugh. It's interesting that we both had bumps and starts along the road, but what matters is where we are now.

I love your blog, it is sure to inspire a whole new generation of veg*heads with its yummy collection of food and recipes!

Anna said...

Like you this is my second time around, I was vegan at University until finals hit and I went back to ice cream and pizza... It took me about 10 years to find my way back again but I'm sure this time is for life, I just can't contemplate eating anything animal related again.

Looking forward to carrying on reading about your vegan journey!

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Congrats!! This is a great story. I have 2 or 3 of my own, but am not quite a storyteller as you are : )

Emmy said...

I really enjoyed learning about your path to veganism. It's so interesting to hear how people decided to become vegan. Happy Veganniversary!!! I hope you have a great weekend :)

Brooke said...

Congrats to you on your veganniversary!! :-)

KathyF said...

Happy Veganniversary!

Did you find it more difficult to be vegan in Britain than in the U.S.? I know I am! I was about 99.9% vegan (in diet anyway) in the States, but here I find myself with nothing to eat when dining out with friends, so I reluctantly order something with cheese. Health food stores don't carry as many vegan products, either. People give me strange looks when I tell them I don't eat dairy or have milk in my tea. Probably there aren't as many people with milk allergies or lactose intolerance, due to the northern latitude.

I did find good vegan Cornish pasties this week!

Melody Polakow said...

Thank you for posting this... it's great to learn more about you.

Happy Veganniversary!

Jul said...

Congrats on your veganniversary! I love hearing personal stories like this about how people make the decisions they make.

aTxVegn said...

Happy Veganniversary! I didn't have a journey. I thought about it a month or so, then became vegan overnight so I love hearing about others journeys.

I'm glad I found your blog. You are so inspiring, in information and food.

scottishvegan said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments and for taking the time to read this post…I know it was super long! Your comments are really appreciated and it’s nice to know that there are people who enjoy reading my blog :)
bazu, I identified with your post so much when I read it, that’s what made me think about writing this in the first place! I felt betrayed too re: The Body Shop. I wonder if they really were all that bothered about being against animal testing in the first place…
Anna, I am glad I am not the only one who took so long to come back to veganism :)

Jess, I think I am probably more of a rambler than a story teller!
Kathy F, when I was vegan the first time in the UK I didn’t find it too hard when eating at home because I don’t eat a great deal of convenience foods anyway. I definitely think there is more of a range of vegan foods available here in the US. You cannot all the varieties of tofu, soy milk etc you get here. I do like the fact that in the UK more things are labelled as vegan especially in Sainsbury’s and Co-op stores. When I ate out as a vegan in the UK I would usually phone ahead if going somewhere posher, or go to a pub that sold something simple like baked potatoes and beans or chips (very healthy!) or sometimes a veggie place depending who I was with!

laura jesser said...

What an awesome story, and happy veganniversary! I am glad to have met you and your blog--you are inspiring and awesome.

vko said...

Happy Belated Veganniversary!

I love to hear how it all Vegan for everyone...mine was the first week of April and I totally forgot- would like to do a post too.

Happy Happy Day!