A few years ago I had a vague idea what veganism is and if you had asked me what I thought about it my answer would of been something like this; “bit extreme but each to their own”. However, veganism seems to be dominating many of conversations lately and I’ve become a little fascinated with what it’s all about; so much so that (like many this month) I challenged myself to go vegan. Here’s a little bit about my days as a vegan and what I’ve learnt.
What is Veganism?
From my understanding, being a vegan is all about enjoying a plant-based diet and saying no to all animal products – be it meat, dairy or even honey.
For many, the main motivator behind this way of eating is to banish animal cruelty and exploitation that comes from breeding animals for food consumption, clothing and so on.
For others the driving force is an environmental one, as consuming less meat, dairy and fish lowers your carbon footprint significantly – it requires a lot less water and feed to rear animals, when compared to growing plant-based crops.
Going vegan may also strive from health reasons, as it’s believed that a plant-based diet can aid weight loss, reduced symptoms from food allergies and improve heart health – just to name a handful of benefits.
For a few like me, it’s pure curiosity and wanting to be like Beyonce… remember when she went vegan with hubby Jay Z? I do! They followed Marco Borges vegan plan and Beyonce has even written a foreword in later editions of his book “The 22-day Revolution”.
5 things I learnt as a Vegan
1. I’m a pretty pants vegan. I set off to go 10 days without consuming any animal products, and by day 4 I had such a headache I convinced myself I needed food not on the vegan menu. In truth, I probably just needed to be more prepared and educated with how to fuel my body properly on a vegan diet.
2. Weight loss is no longer my main obsession when it comes to veganism. Having read a little more about it and the environmental implications of eating meat or drinking dairy, I’m shocked to learn about the strain rearing animals for our benefit puts on the planet. A plant-based diet is significantly more sustainable in comparison, too. I’ve also become aware that those who protest against traditional animal rearing have received death threats and much worse. This was first highlighted to me in the document Cowspiracy, available to watch on Netflix.
3. A Vegan lifestyle makes you very regular. I will say no more on that subject.
4. I’m in awe of my husband who is still enjoying a vegan diet and has lost over 10lbs so far this month thanks to eating all plant-based foods.
5. There’s a lot of research out there that proves the consumption of animal products (proteins) can actually lead to certain types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune diseases! More can be read in The China Study.
Am I now a vegan?
Not quite, however I have personally felt a lot better for having mostly vegan meals and for cutting out a lot of dairy from my diet by switching to soya milk and plain soya yogurt. My main vegan blocker has been chocolate! I had a few small bars knocking around from Christmas that I just couldn’t resist. So I have eaten them, plus the vegan chocolate I discovered too! With a better understanding of veganism and if I finally banish my sugar addiction, maybe one day I will be.