Every vegan I have ever met has a “story” outlining how they found their way to this lifestyle. I am always amazed at the variety of circumstances that have all led to this one point and thought it would be nice to share my story with you all.
At this exact point, I have been vegan for 3 years and 27 days and I know this to be a fact as I set up a counter on my phone when I made the vow. I think even at that point I knew it would be a key moment in my life and one that would need to be marked in my history.
In my pre-vegan days, I ate anything and everything. Meat, cheese, eggs and dairy were daily occurrences in my diet that didn’t even get a second thought. I had never been vegetarian and the only restriction I had ever placed on my eating was “no beef” when there was the Mad Cow Disease media storm in my teenage years.
I was not someone thought of as an ”animal lover”. Our family didn’t have pets when we were growing up, apart from a goldfish every now and then, and at one point my husband had even nicknamed me “hature”, as he believed I hated nature. Although, this was not the case, I didn’t have a particularly strong affinity with the natural world.
I did however have a lot of health issues, which were escalating. I was fatigued and hormonal. I was bleeding excessively during my periods, which often lasted months at a time. I had skin which would flare up with redness and spots. I had excessive hair growing on my face and body. I was miserable. I was eventually diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) which can cause weight gain, hormonal imbalances, hirsutism, excessive/continuous bleeding and pain amongst other symptoms.
I went to the doctor in tears one day, as I felt that I couldn’t continue without addressing the issue, and I was given two choices; birth control measures to try and balance my hormones, or a change to my diet to see if it made any difference. After some horrendous experiences of birth control measures in the past, I took the doctors advice of cutting out dairy and eggs and went home to start planning my meals for the next fortnight.
I Googled ‘dairy and egg free diet’ and whilst scouring the depths of the internet, after falling into an information black hole…my life changed.
I found out the effect of dairy on hormone levels.
I saw the amount of cholesterol within eggs and the links to heart attacks.
I heard the noises made by a baby calf being pulled away from its mother, who had been forcibly impregnated.
I saw that dairy is the main source of saturated fat in many diets and that people are dying from heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other artery-clogging issues, which are all preventable.
I saw male chicks being ground up alive and called a ‘waste product’ of the egg industry.
I saw the links between dairy and cancer of the prostate and ovaries.
I saw the filthy conditions that animals are kept in, whilst marketing companies cover it up with clever imagery, communication and spin.
I felt like I could never unknow these things and vowed there and then to switch to a vegan diet…and I honestly think it saved me.
After following a vegan diet for 6 months, all symptoms of my PCOS abated and I now have a regular period cycle for the first time in my whole life. My skin is clearer, bloating is no longer an issue and my conscience is clear.
I always stress that I am never one to judge anyone’s choice, as I am very aware that we are all on our own journey, but I also feel that there is more and more information available to us to make informed choices about what we put in our body, the impact we have on others (including animals) and the wider implications of consuming animal products, which I feel must make it harder for people to justify not choosing a lifestyle that is kinder to all.
Since I decided to be vegan, the changes within wider society have been huge. Most restaurants have an option on the menu, supermarkets are realising that the vegan pound is becoming a stronger one in today’s world and that change is inevitable, so the variety of readily available products is growing on a month-by-month basis and being vegan is starting to be seen as an option for many within the wider community.
If you had said to me a few years ago that I would be running a vegan business and that bacon, milk chocolate and stilton would no longer feature in my diet, I would have laughed. I really didn’t see this change coming, but I will forever be grateful that it did.
Do you follow a vegan diet? If so, how did you find yourself on this path?
Are you trying Veganuary? What are your motives?