It’s been 5 weeks since I hopped on the vegan bandwagon , and I thought it was time for an update on the ordeal (since some of you have expressed your curiosity).
I mentioned from the start that I was going to gradually move towards a vegan diet, however after one week I decided that I did not want to go back to eating animal products. As is the case with me, I do my research, thoroughly, and after finding out more and more about the animal food industry, I did not see how I could ever consciously eat an egg or carton of yogurt ever again.
From the beginning it has been my intention to start out with a vegan diet, meaning excluding all animal (by)products from my eats. A vegan lifestyle is what I am pursuing, but it’s not something that’ll happen overnight for me (like eating a vegan diet). Why? Because I simply feel that it is too much of an overhaul to go completely vegan in the matter of a day, and I don’t deem it necessary. I slowly transitioned to eating vegetarian and it worked very well for me: no cravings, no dificulty shopping or cooking, and no decrease in my physical wellbeing. I think these things make for a sustainable lifestyle.
A vegan lifestyle would entail the exclusion of all things leather, fur (ew), and even silk and wool (you might see how things get a little more complicated here). Also, there are tons of animal-derived additives in things like soap, make-up, detergents (wasmiddel), your daily multivitamin and even candles. I strive towards living vegan as much as possible one day, but I prefer to do this in a slower pace. Besides, learning what all the funky names are for animal (by)products is quite a task as well.
Here’s where I’m at so far: I have decided to never ever buy leather and silk again. Fur I already never purchased (but when you think about it, how come we find leather less gross than fur..) and as far as wool is concerned, I need to look more into what products to avoid (besides from the obvious clothing items). I am lucky, I guess, I never bought much leather anyway. I have tons of awesome looking faux leather jackets, and from most people never guess it’s fake. I do have 1 gorgeous and very expensive leather jacket, about 3 or 4 pairs of shoes that are leather (/suede) and it hurts me to think about getting rid of them. But, I will. Just like I politely declined some very expensive fur rugs and leather chairs that we got offered for our new home.
Do I think wearing leather and eating meat(/eggs, milk, etc) is the same? It depends.Buying animal food products invariably creates a bigger demand, there’s no way around that. The same goes for buying leather/silk/fur/wool products. But buying these thingssecond-hand, or wearing what you already have, is, in my opinion, less of an issue since you won’t create extra demand, thus you are not supporting the increase of animal cruelty. But asides from that fact, it’s the same principle. In the end, it’s still wearing or eating dead animals.
How do I feel? I feel great! But, honestly, I don’t feel that much different. If you search around a bit you will find tons of stories from (ex)vegans complaining about getting depressed, tired or sick, and you will also find, even more, stories of people gone vegan and glowing and getting rid of diseases overnight. I think you have to take both stories with some grains of salt. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again : a vegan diet can be much healthier than an omnivore diet, but only if well-planned and supplemented with B12, and perhaps DHA. A sloppy vegan will never be healthier than a health-conscious omnivore, and vise versa. I consider myself being health-conscious so the transition to a vegan diet probably doesn’t do much for me health-wise (at least not in the short run). My skin does look clearer but I cannot be certain that is due to abandoning animal foods…
What about the vegan diet? I haven’t touched meat, milk, eggs or any kind of cheese since I made the commitment. I have accidentally eaten some honey, and undoubtedly have I eaten some animal additives to products that were offered to me, and I couldn’t check the label. If I had a strong suspicion they weren’t vegan, I did not eat it, but as I have found out there’s eggwhites or whey or gelatin in more products than I like to think about (when the boy and I wen’t to the movies, there was no more than ONE candy that was vegan-friendly. The rest ALL contained pork (mostly) and beef gelatin. Bon apetit.).
I haven’t fully familiarized myself with the entire list of E-numbers that are or aren’t vegan, allthough when the names are written I can figure it out due to my nutrition background (but a vague E430 means nothing to me). The problem with these additives (as opposed to whey or eggwhite, animal protein, casein, etc) is that you can never be 100% sure if the additive is either plant or animal derived, since a lot of substances can be from either plant or animal sources. I decided to not fret over these things, at least for the time being. My goal is to reduce animal suffering and I want to do that in a healthy and sustainable way, not in a way that leaves my frustrated and deprived.
Speaking of frustration and depriviation, I haven’t craved any meat or animal products in all those weeks. The only things I’ve encountered is the smell of a boiled egg or a lunchmeat slice of chicken, and I really liked the smell. But I have not had a hard time not eating those or other products. I firmly believe in what I am doing, it makes me feel good, and I keep myself plenty occupied with delicious vegan foods !
I hope you appreciated this update and let me know if you have any questions or somethingelse to say, as per ususal :).