4 min read
In my recent reader survey someone said they are interested in reading about things I changed my mind about. So, I thought I would tell you why at one point I decided to go vegan and then, after a good three years, stopped being vegan.
Why I decided to go vegan
For as long as I can remember, I have been concerned about the state of the climate. I felt an acute importance to protect our environment, and I wanted my personal lifestyle choices to refelct this concern. In 2016 I started to watch a lot of videos on YouTube where people argued for veganism. At that point I hadn’t been fully aware about the devastating effect of the meat and dairy industry on the environment.
Also, I was interested in the health benefits of a vegan diet. Plus, I thought – if I am unwilling to kill an animal myself in order to eat it – is it really okay to pay someone else to do this dirty job for me? Is it okay to kill so I can have a nice meal?
After ruminating on all of these thoughts for some months, Edd and I were laying in bed one night and I said: “I think I have to become vegan.” His response was “do you think vegetarian would suffice?” I explained passionately about the evils of dairy and how eggs were chicken periods and that I would have to go 100% vegan.
(This is beside the point, but thinking back to this, it kind of shows what an amazing guy Edd is. He didn’t feel convicted about all of this in the same way, but he was happy for us to eat vegan dinners every night, and replace butter with magerine. He kept on eating cheese, but otherwhise was pretty much vegan when we were at home.)
What it was like to be vegan
Honestly, becoming vegan was a very good decsion for me at the time. I was studying enviornmental economics, and spend a lot of time reading about climate change. Knowing I did something small to help ease some of the burden on the environment was very good for my mental health.
Further, cutting out meat and dairy basically cured me from IBS, which I had been suffering with for about a decade at that point.
What wasn’t easy about being vegan was being social. Dinner invitations became kind of awkward. Taking veggie sausages to BBQs frequently inspired people (often ones I hardly new) to tell me about the woes of my diet. I tried very hard to not be “the annoying vegan”, but I did reason as to why I thought eating vegan was better, when I was asked.
Why I am no longer vegan
Even though I kind of became a bit bored talking about veganism after a while, I couldn’t escape it. Vegans and vegetarians aren’t really that rare anymore, but I guess it was still strange enough to many people and so it somehow became I part of my identity. I definitely had a part to play in that as well – in my early days as a vegan I posted a lot on social media about the food I was making and talked a fair bit about my lifestyle change.
However, after some years it just didn’t feel right to me, that the things I ate (or didn’t eat) somehow said so much about who I am. I observed some quite disturbing reactions from the online vegan community towards some prominent ex-vegans. I didn’t want to label myself as part of a group that claimed some sort of moral high ground and therefore felt they could behave aggresivley towards others.
Also, there is something almost religous about veganism. This absolute of either in or out based on behaviour, no matter the cost, started to feel more and more off to me.
The thing I had missed most during my 3+ years of eating a plantbased diet were eggs. So one day I just went out and bought some eggs. I started to eat anything whenever we were at other people’s homes and occassionally ordered fish or chicken at restaurants. And that was all it took to not be vegan anymore!
I still think that there are many benefits from eating plantbased. However, I don’t see the need to exclude animal products 100% of the time. As a family we eat meat or fish about once a week. We normally have some ham in our fridge and often eat eggs.
I am still completely dairy free, mostly for health reasons. In the future, I could imagine reducing the animal products we eat again. But I wouldn’t ever label myself again according to the diet I am eating.
What do you think?
I know that food can be somehow quite a contentious issue. However, I’d be quite interested in hearing your thoughts about it!
This is Day 92 of my 100 Day Project. You can learn more about my 100 day project by reading this post. If you want to do your own 100 day Project, I would recommend checking out the 100 Day Project website.