Jade Lizzie

Sharing the yoga love

Five things I wish I’d known before turning vegan…

About 6 weeks ago I did something I’d been thinking about for a while – I stopped eating meat, fish, dairy and eggs. My reason for doing this was simply that the more I learned about the animal industries, the more uncomfortable I felt consuming produce which supported them. I still like the taste of meat, I don’t judge anyone else for eating it, and I don’t think it’s more “natural” to be vegan necessarily. I just don’t want to support cruelty to animals.

Here’s what I wish I’d known before I started…

  1. You need to watch your calorie intake. It’s easy to not eat enough, especially if you’re not used to eating large volumes of food. For the first few days although I felt full after every meal, I’d wake up in the middle of the night hungry and have to make smoothies at 3am. This is not a good way to endear yourself to your housemates…
  2. Equally, you can have too much of a good thing. After realising I needed more calories, I set about eating almonds, avocado and olive oil like my life depended on it. My stomach was less than impressed.
  3. You need to have your rationale for a vegan diet clear in your own mind because you’ll be asked to justify your choices. A lot. Similarly it helps to have your nutritional facts straight – people become inordinately concerned about your protein intake when you tell them you’re vegan. Weird, because no one ever cared before when I’d shun dinner for a packet of Kettle Chips…
  4. You can feel like the awkward one in the group with the special dietary requirement. You might not have a problem with this, but unfortunately I do. I feel embarrassed and end up apologising. I’m working on it.
  5. You have to check things all the time

Me: These cookies are so good, I can’t believe they’re vegan!

Chef: Erm, Jade? They’re not.

Me: Oops.

Luckily there have been unexpected benefits too…

  1. There’s no need to live off rabbit food unless you want to. Vegan food can be delicious, varied and substantial. This week alone I’ve had burritos, curry, pancakes, cheesecake, chocolate mousse and flapjack.
  2. It’s easy to eat really well and up your intake of fruit, vegetables and wholefoods without even trying.
  3. You discover great restaurants that you may not have considered otherwise, like this amazing place in Tarifa where the majority of their menu is vegan.
  4. Vegan pizza is surprisingly tasty.
  5. It feels really good to know that you’re eating cruelty-free.

So for now I’m sticking with it. I don’t know whether it’s forever. I have a history of disordered eating, so now my physical and mental health are always my priority; I’ll only do it for as long as it’s healthy for my body and my mind. And who knows – maybe one day I’ll find a way to source the occasional animal product which is guaranteed to be cruelty-free. But at the moment, I’m happy with my choices. I just need to be more careful around cookies…

If you’re interested in going vegan, have been vegan for a while, or think it’s a terrible idea, I’d love to hear from you – let me know in the comments below!

Jade xxx

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10 Comments

  1. It is so difficult to be the only vegetarian in a group of friends or in a family. I’ve turned vegetarian some few months ago (not vegan yet!) and it has been quite challenging on some regards. A Lot of people tend to judge, look at you weirdly or just ask curious questions. There is something that seems obscure for other people when one changes his/her diet. Something like not being part of a group anymore. Yet, it is such a liberating experience. Well worth the challenge!

    • I know – it can be challenging. I’ve also found it difficult sometimes to explain my rationale while reassuring others that I’m not judging them for their choices, or expecting them to justify not being vegan! But I agree it’s worth the challenge, and actually nowhere near as difficult as I expected (though I do miss cheese!) 🙂

  2. Great post with lots of great points! Good for you!

  3. Like the clean eating and health benefits of being vegan but decided to be less strict after a few months since it felt too limiting and consuming for me personally. Turns out I eat vegan about 98% of the time by choice and it’s a good feeling to be able to order a veggie burger and not have to fact check it to make sure there are no eggs in it. I was so afraid that once I gave up the vegan guidelines I would go all out and eat junk but it turns out I have more discipline than I thought. I used to worry what others would think and that they might get offended that I might choose to eat feta on a salad but not mozzarella on the pizza they served, but I’m over that and feel that I have a right to eat what I WANT for my own reasons.

    • Hi Jeanne, great to hear your experiences. It’s really good that you’re eating as you wish to without worrying about what others think. For me my decision was about how animals are treated in the meat industries rather than to try to eat more healthily, but I do feel good on it too, which is a nice benefit 🙂 x

  4. Suzie Collins

    Jade, good points, especially after your ‘fowl’ time as a chicken handler!
    BUT remember our bodies have developed over thousands of years to be healthy on a mixed diet.
    My chickens were so happy eating all our scraps and their eggs were delicious,
    I believe that one should live lightly on this world, choose wisely, bless your food before you eat and savour it as our forefathers did before us when they depended on nature to provide.
    Wishing you happiness, health and peace. Xxx Suzie

    • Thank you Suzie! And I’m sure your chickens were very happy ones 🙂 If I could guarantee that all the animal products I consumed were cruelty-free in the same way then I agree it would be perfectly healthy. While I’m not in a position right now to ensure that, I’m choosing not to support those industries. Much love xxx

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