I had been an avid vegetarian for ten years. It always felt good, but not great. There was often a part of me that questioned whether or not to go further and become vegan. I used a lot of excuses and I often felt as if I didn’t have enough knowledge and or self belief to be able to stand up for what I believe in.
Life experience over the last couple of years has given me a lot of confidence in myself and consequently, the conviction to be vegan full time and to be able to explain to people, when they inevitably ask, why I have chosen this lifestyle.
Last December I decided that it was time to make the change and stick to it.
I always knew my best friend (Hi, Ella!) would support me all the way, she always does, but I was a little concerned about telling Mum and Dad and my partner, Seb. Boy, was I silly to worry. My parents have been through my previous attempt at veganism before and, whilst the don’t understand it, they were supportive enough. My partner on the other hand was, and still is, SO supportive. I nearly cried out of relief. This is not to say that I thought he would be super negative about it but it is a totally new concept for him. He and I go out to cafes and restaurants quite a lot and I was worried he would see it as a barrier to a favourite activity we share. He asked me why I wanted to make the change and once I explained it to him, he was nothing but supportive and understanding.
It’s funny how sometimes, even when we think we are strong, we can still be reliant on the approval of those we love. I don’t give two hoots what Joe Blogs thinks about my dietary choices, but when it comes to those closest to me, it matters. I guess it’s a two way street when I think about it because those that really care about you will understand why you do certain things and love you for it all the more. There is definitely a relief and comfort from knowing that those closest to you have your back and you can count on them to support your endeavours.
I have a couple of friends who are vegetarian but none who are vegan. This is not a problem thanks to the amazing world wide web where I constantly find inspiration and support for the cause I so passionately believe in. Instagram is another medium that facilitates that community feel when it comes to being a vegan. I love that this connection can feel so strong and be so inspiring. I feel as if I identify with this ever-growing community of like minded people, even if it is through pictures and blog posts. (Through these networking opportunities I have also come to the realisation that I NEED to be in Melbourne. full stop. NOW *sigh* I will live there permanently one day and soak up all the juicy goodness that the city offers.)
Anywho, back to veganism. If you’re thinking of making the switch but can’t quite comprehend explaining the ‘extreme’ lifestyle change to those around you, I urge you to press on, start the conversation and know that there is an entire community of like minded people out there, people who live cruelty free every day and are all the better for it. And at the end of the day, only you can make those choices for yourself. Stick by them and the sceptics will see the benefits, if not in your overall physical health, they will notice it in your outlook, your demeanour, your ‘gumption’ levels because you will feel better for it, if you believe in it.
OK, rant over. This applies to anything, though. It just so happens that my experience is with veganism and I also totally dig it.