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Being vegan

Ummm, I’m NOT on a diet…..

I’m not on a diet…. I’m a vegan!

So a couple of weeks ago at work, one of the guys brought in a cheesecake that he had baked over the weekend.

The guy that I sit next to at work was going upstairs to get some cake from the kitchen, and he said to me “would you like to break your diet and eat some cake?”. I turned around and said to him said to him, “ummm, I’m not on a diet” and he responded kind of sarcastically with, “oh sorry, your lifestyle”.

It kind of annoyed me, until I went for dinner with one of my best friends and he said to me, “so how’s your diet going?”. Again, my response was that I’m not on a diet. I couldn’t get annoyed at him for asking the question though because I like him and I know he didn’t mean anything bad by it…….

I told my boss I had become vegan and he didn’t believe me; “Vegan or vegetarian?” he asked me. Then one day he suggested getting muffins (the majority of my colleagues are men- there’s always a lot of food in the office!) and when I said I wouldn’t eat a muffin because they weren’t vegan, he was surprised and said “oh I didn’t think you were a real vegan” (whatever that even means!).

To me, a ‘diet’ suggests that it’s a temporary thing, a fad, a phase, a craze, a lose-weight-now-quick-fix that will be forgotten about in a few weeks. Sure, I eat a vegan diet, but that’s a little bit different to being ‘on a diet’. 

Veganism is a decision I have made after educating myself and making my own choices, based on what I think is best for myself.

People’s reactions are always so interesting. I am always pretty hesitant to tell people that I am a vegan because I never know what reaction I will get, or what question they’re going to ask- like “so where do you get your protein?” or “how can you not eat cheese?!” or even just “why?”. Then there’s the ones that try and argue with you, or belittle your decisions, or try and get you to eat something that’s not vegan, for their own cheap thrills, or the ones that say things like “but what about bacon?” or “how long will you stay on your new diet?”.

I try not to talk about it in front of people who aren’t close friends or family and I certainly don’t preach a ‘vegan lifestyle’. I definitely believe in ‘each to their own’ and think that people should do what they think is right for them.

So what is it that makes people get so riled up when you mention the word veganism? As someone who was previously anti-veganism, I think it comes from a place of ignorance and also people being afraid of the unknown, the unusual, the divergence from the mainstream. Even if you’re not an obnoxious or pretentious vegan, you will most likely cop some criticism for your lifestyle. But don’t let this stop you!

Why….

Why? Well,. as I mentioned in my first blog post (here, in case you missed it), I never ever imagined that I would become a vegan! So I think my decision took people by surprise- even myself. I also realised that being vegan was surrounded by stereotypes and glamourised Instagram pages that made it look kind of difficult! 

Naturally, the first place I turned to for inspiration, information and ideas was the internet.

I had a look at some of the vegan food pages on Instagram and they made it look complex! I do not have time to be making avocado roses at every meal and ‘unicorn’ everything! Between working full time, trying to keep my (albeit small) household running smoothly, going to the gym and trying to take care of myself, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for messing around in the kitchen!

One of the reasons that I never thought I would become a vegan was because I thought it would be difficult to make ‘vegan food’ and some pages did not help with that assumption!

Having said that, I do find cooking to be quite cathartic and sometimes bake when I am feeling stressed.

I also noticed that a lot of the vegan Instagram pages were just re-posting other people’s content, and sometimes not even crediting the person who owned the photo, hence making it look as though the photo was their own, which I don’t really understand?!

I wanted to show people that being vegan isn’t difficult or complicated, and you do not have to eat avocado roses, ‘unicorn’ cakes or elaborately decorated smoothie bowls! It is perfectly fine for your food to be ugly as long as it is tasty and nourishing. I love and enjoy putting effort into making my food look insta-worthy but definitely do not have time to do that for every meal.

So my photos may not always be beautiful but they are real! This blog and my Instagram are my honest account of my vegan lifestyle.

I also wanted to help get rid of some of the stigma associated with being vegan. People are always so surprised when I tell them that I am a vegan. I am not sure if it’s because I’m not skinny & pale, or because I shave my underarms and wear deodorant and makeup, or just because I don’t look like someone that people would normally associate with a ‘vegan’. Either way, I am enjoying breaking the stereotype!