How Veganism Changed My Life: 1 Year Vegan

 

It’s hard for me to put into words how much Veganism has changed my life. It really is not just a diet, it is a lifestyle change that completely shifts your mindset to be much more self less and so much more open minded. Growing up I didn’t ever think that being a “vegan” would be on my life path, nor did I plan for it. But during January of 2016 I made the decision to make the change after overhearing a friends conversation about the documentary Cowspiracy. I was shocked to hear whilst listening to this conversation that cows can only produce milk when they are pregnant.

“WHAT?! Cows have to be pregnant to produce milk??”

It sounds so obvious to me now but I was so shocked to hear this. I was even more shocked to realise that this was something that I wasn’t aware of. How did I have no idea? Even worse, how had I never considered this or even thought about it? I grew up with a vegetarian sister so I wasn’t new to the idea of animal cruelty. I was just oblivious, better yet, I was ignorant. However, once I had watched Cowspiracy I fell face first down the rabbit hole that is Vegan “What I Eat In A Day” videos on YouTube. I was hooked. And when I returned home from university during February half term, I was extremely educated on the health benefits ready to throw facts at anyone that would listen.

The things about the vegan transition is that it requires a lot of learning and along with this new knowledge comes anger, frustration, and confusion. How doesn’t everyone know this information? Why didn’t I know? Why won’t anyone listen? Why do people believe all of this non-sense? And why are we taught this stuff in school and by our parents?! If you’r vegan, you know the realisation struggle.

Later within this post I will touch on some minor negatives (which only turn into positive points) about this lifestyle but first I want to tell you everything positive and honestly amazing things. I’m not trying to manipulate or persuade you to go vegan or make the change I am just speaking honestly about how veganism changed my life.

 


DIGESTION

This might seem a strange one to start with, and it is rather personal, but bad digestion and constipation is something I suffered with for about three-four years before going vegan. It really affected my life and I lived a steady diet of calorie restrictions, binge eating, and laxatives. My diet was predominantly Pescatarian (not meat, just seas food) and I did eat vegetables (naturally low in calories, duhh) however, I wasn’t healthy and my digestion really reflected this. Unfortunately I didn’t realise and thought that I was being healthy with the only worry of mine being the overbearing craving for dairy milk chocolate buttons. A craving of which I thought would never leave, but happily slipped away after less than 4 weeks of being vegan.

After 1 week of being vegan my digestion was unbelievably regular. After two or three months it averaged itself out to being very regular and very healthy (regular: 1-3 times a day). And I can happily say that I haven’t taken or been near laxatives for a year now.

 

Cured My Obsession With Weight Loss

This was the first time in my life that I actually started to eat food to be healthy and not just to loose weight. It is truly amazing what changes you can notice when you don’t focus all of your energy of losing weight and just ignore that completely. When we are aware that what we are feeding our bodies is the best possible nutrition then the body responds by looking better. I started to notice how my body felt on the inside when I was eating and it led me to be able to eat intuitively. Not to mention all of my cravings for sugary foods subsided completely.

So once I stopped focusing on “being skinny” by body obsession stopped, my body confidence increased and I became less self conscious. I suddenly wasn’t obsessed with when I gained a pound because I stopped weighing myself and stopped noticing. I also stopped being obsessed with reaching a very low goal weight because being a certain weight doesn’t equal health and all body types are different.

 

 

I Stopped Punishing Myself For Eating Something Unhealthy

It’s great when you don’t crave less healthy foods but if I want to eat some vegan cake, or some vegan chocolate, or even a vegan veggie burger then I will. The difference is, if I choose not to eat it it’s not because I am depriving myself, it’s because I know I feel my best when eating whole plant foods. I also never ever feel guilty because I can eat what I want and not harm any animals.

 

More Energy & Feeling Healthier Overall

When you’re eating everything that your body naturally needs you feel amazing. For me, I feel the most amazing when eating meals rich in whole plant foods. For breakfast that is porridge with blue berries, raisins and chia seeds, and for my other meals I like a mixture of beans, grains, rice, or potatoes with loads of vegetables. I always feels satiated after a meal because I know I can eat until I’m satisfied and not feel guilty about it at all. Being vegan has allowed me to learn so much about what our bodies need and has given me a true understanding of food.

 

Gave Me an Incentive to Experiment With Cooking

When I went vegan I started to eat so much more food and it really is amazing. Experimenting with different plant foods and spices is so fun because everything vegan is so versatile and I love it.

 

Informed Me On The Truth About Dairy

I can’t go into depth about this topic now or this post will be way too long, but before going vegan I was under the impression that we needed dairy for calcium and that there wasn’t another source. This is the assumption that most people have which is why so many people think veganism is so unhealthy. However, calcium is found in almost all plant foods and when consuming a plant based diet it is easy to get enough. This source of calcium is so much better than any that come from dairy. Dairy actually causes bone strength to deplete, and not the other way around.

 


Opened My Mind To New Information

As I mentioned, when I first made the transition I learnt so much. I spent three months non stop learning about this lifestyle from books, to documentaries, to lectures on YouTube, to watching vegan YouTubers…I did it all. It lead me to grow so much through this self education and study.

 

It Led Me To Finding Minimalism

Not only did it lead me to learning about veganism, it also led me on a path to learning new information about almost everything that we are always taught we should do. And this new obsession with combating consumerism introduced me to minimalism. I have removed so many unnecessary items from my life this year due to this switch to minimalism and reflecting recently I noticed I subconsciously removed toxic people from my life too. If something no longer serves you and is weighing you down, then lighten to load and get rid of it. (people, things, jobs etc)

So my mindset has completely shifted at this point. I no longer find joy is owning new things, I actually find more joy in removing things from my life. A rather unexpected series on events for a “fashion buying” student. But minimalism and veganism educated me about the consumerist system of today and how much we buy things but how unhappy most people are.

 

I Found My Love For Our Planet

I have always loved the trees and the way the leaves grow, change colour, and fall off depending on the seasons. I’ve always loved the colour of the blue sky, the texture of the clouds, and the natural lighting of the sun. And funnily enough I knew about global warming a long time before I actually cared about global warming. Global warming is one of those things that majority of people ignore because they aren’t very informed on the top and they don’t think it will affect their lifetime.

But the shocking truth made me interested and concerned about true issues affecting the planet. What is causing climate change and the consequences of large industry mainly including animal agriculture but also the ever so desirable fashion industry. The idea of the fashion industry is something that I loved my entire life until 2016. In 2016 I realised that my love for the planet massively outweighs my long time love for fashion. This realisation was a pivotal time in my journey and changed everything for me.

 

Changed My Outlook on Conventional TV

Do you have any idea how much time you spend thinking about the trash that is on TV as well as the time you spend watching it? There is so many Soap Operas and Reality TV shows around these days and they have been around for years now. Do you also have any idea how much information is being missed due to this distraction? I really feel that this type of “entertainment” gives people the opportunity to ignore real issues concerning our planet and life in general. Please wake up.

I will also add that I am referring to information that is not on the news. The things that you only realise when you truly wake up. Consumerism, global warming, political problems, the food industry, the medical and pharmaceuticals industry, misogyny, racism etc.

Made Me Feel Like I Can Make a Difference

But it has also shown me how irrelevant we are as individuals. When you’re on a plane and you are getting higher and higher and realise that all of the people are getting smaller than pin pricks before they disappear over the giant ball that is our planet we can see the scale of our irrelevance. A saddening, yet powerful realisation. Our lives are over such a short period of “time” (time that doesn’t really exist) and this realisation alone is enough to jolt anyone into wanting to be fulfilled in life. It makes me need to experience my time on this planet while I can and not live working a job that is unsatisfactory and pointless. It makes me want to make a difference for the lives that will be lived after mine and being vegan allows me to do so. With my lifestyle I am saving so many animals, so much water and the planet overall.

 


 

IT GAVE ME AN OPINION

Thinking back to who I was before I found veganism I realised that I didn’t ever have a proper opinion on anything and I was focusing on unnecessary things. I also thought I wasn’t clever enough, that I didn’t know enough, or I wasn’t educated enough to have an opinion because I thought I was wrong. I must have just plodding along agreeing with everyone else and not really thinking for myself. That is so sad to think about.

But transitioning to veganism is a bold remark because majority of people, especially of an older generation, don’t understand it. They don’t agree with it and you can really feel disheartened. So I educated myself so I was able to stand my ground for something I know is right for me. This lead me only having opinions on other large topics and changing my lifestyle even further to being ethical with clothing, sustainable with shopping, and minimalistic when purchasing. I am a completely different person.

 


 

Led Me To An All Natural Lifestyle

Changing my diet led me onto changing the way that I live my overall lifestyle. I made the decision to remove all the chemicals from my life and liveĀ a holistic lifestyle. I changed my beauty products, cleaning and washing products, body products etc. and I removed the fluoride from my toothpaste, bought a menstrual cup, bamboo toothbrush, all natural skincare, and started using coconut oil as a moisturiser. I also stopped using conventional medicine such as paracetamol for insignificant things such as a headache. Make-up is what I am currently working towards changing.

 

Introduced Me To Spirituality

The Power of Now & The Secret are two books that changed my life. This year I have learnt about the law of attraction, being present, the power of the thoughts, and the importance of mind, body, and soul health. I made the decision to start a meditation practise that I am continuing into 2017 because it has really changed my life. I am also looking towards a yoga practise to improve my physical and mental state of being.

 

 

Made Me Love Reading, Natural Beauty, & Healthy Living

I haven’t ever read more than I have read this year and I love it. My reading material of choice are definitely non-fiction books that are predominantly self help. Consistent self education and self study is the best thing for anyone.

 

Educated Me On Ethical & Sustainable Fashion

Learning about ethical and sustainable fashion was extremely eye opening for me as I am currently a fashion student who has wanted a career in fashion my whole life. I have realised that that isn’t my dream anymore and my life has a different path for me. So with that in mind I have completely stopped shopping in high street fast fashion stores and have become a conscious consumer with food, fashion, and beauty. I want to help the people and the planet with every purchase and every decision that I make.

 

Showed Me The Zero Waste Lifestyle

The zero waste lifestyle is my next step to live the most sustainable lifestyle possible. The waste that humans produce is huge and I want the have the smallest impact on the planet that I possibly can so I’m working on decreasing my carbon footprint as much as possible.

 

 


 

It Made Me More Positive

I feel like negativity ruled my life before becoming vegan because I felt miserable most of the time. I was also surrounded by the wrong people, thinking about negative things, and consumed by what everyone else was doing. But now I feel enlightened and positive and grateful 90% of the time and I want almost every conversation that I have with another individual to be inspiring in some way. Being vegan has also introduced me to a new range of people with similar thoughts and feelings. I have also noticed people around me making the same change that I have and it really is amazing to see. You may feel like one person can’t make much of a different but one person is a knock on domino effect.

 

Made Me Believe In Myself

And it has given me something bigger to focus my energy on rather than just myself and what other people are doing. It has given me something to help change and has also given me a purpose which really gives me fulfilment within my life. It is amazing to know that every decision for a meal that I make is having a positive impact on the planet as well as saving animals.

Along with this fulfilment came the realisation that I can achieve anything within my life and showed me that I deserve to be happy, as does everyone else.

 

 

Stopped Me Obsessing Over Frivolous & Unnecessary Things

Suddenly I realised that everything is fleeting and irrelevant. Things like my looks and physical appearance, temporary celebrities, buying new things to fit in, and as mentioned above, what everyone else is doing. These things do not matter. What matters is health, happiness, and helping. So ask yourself if your decisions and thoughts are adding value to you and a bigger cause? If not then change your thoughts. Change your thoughts and you will change your life.

 

 

Led Me To My Gratitude Practise

Being grateful for everything you have only feeds for a more positive way of life. Great things will come to you when you appreciate what you have and stop focusing so much on what is missing. Nothing is missing, you are already all that you need. Be grateful for all of the extra things. However, if there is something that you don’t like then you have the ability to change it.

 

Gave Me a Passion & Showed Me My Compassion

Gave me a love creatures and all beings. I never felt like a huge animal lover as a child or growing up, I guess I had other interests. But I am someone who knows that all species are the same and are equal so I wouldn’t wish harm on anyone. I certainly don’t want to pay someone else to inflict harm on these innocent sentient beings.

When I first went vegan I started to look at people differently. I am still confused by the concept of someone loving animals and still eating them. There is such a disconnect.

 

Made Me Want To Live a Fulfilling Life

I know that I will never settle within my life for anything less than fulfilment and living the life I want to live. Being vegan and realising so many things has given me to hope that anything is possible because it truly truly is.

I have also stopped caring about what other people think of me because anyone that has anything negative to say is not worth having in your life. These negative people are temporary. So don’t let them make your decisions for you.

 

Importance of Exploring

When I think about what I want from life right now I would say to travel. I want to experience life and different cultures. I want to see how everyone else lives. And I know that I will because that is all I want.

 


 

Possible Negative Factors

  • Realising this new information that I hadn’t come across before made me angry but I am so much happier now that I am informed.
  • It made me annoyed at all the people who are uneducated on the topic of food, but I was once like them so it can’t be blamed.
  • Led me to lose friends due to people not understanding the lifestyle choice and thinking it’s extreme. It also made me look at people differently due to what they spend their time talking about. Losing people is inevitable for self growth, if you’re not losing friends you’re not growing.
  • I originally felt weird about my new lifestyle due to other peoples opinions but now I am comfortable with being weird to some people because I am so happy with my choice.
  • It can be difficult when eating out in new restaurants but it has forced me to discover new places which is nothing but great. Now I know how easy it is, just check the menu before you go and if you’re having pizza then just ask for it without the cheese. Most restaurants have vegan options now too which is amazing. (even Pizza Hut)
  • I have now realised that not everyone wants to be vegan and this is a hard truth. Some people are educated on the topic, know the harm eating meat can cause but just want to take the easy route and that is okay. It isn’t your job to change everyone.
  • I quickly started to feel unfulfilled with my current life path. However, it gave me a heart, compassion, drive, and hope for something better and made me willing to try hard for the life I want.
  • Showed me that we only have one life so why live it being miserable?! I am so glad I realised this while I’m young.
  • Made me feel weak and irrelevant as one small speck and as if everything I was doing wasn’t enough. But now I know that I am doing my best and inspiring people day by day will have a really great impact.

 


Most of all, Veganism filled me with so much love!

It has shown me that I am a knock on effect, and now one year on I am only just hearing about my friends turning vegan, or trying being vegetarian, or pescatarian, or meatless Mondays and that makes me so so happy. It shows me that leading by example is the best way to live and that when you’re happy in yourself and your own decisions then people will follow. But it is important to come from a place of love and not hate when discussing this information because there is nothing negative about veganism and it is helping a really positive cause. So for the animals, for the planet, and for our health consider veganism.

 

 

MELISSA, XO


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