Oh, well, it seems I’m now vegan…
I’m a vegan. About a month ago I stopped eating animals, and other animal products. I stopped using products tested on animals, or containing animal remains (or at least this is what I think I am doing!). So far I’ve kept a few leather shoes, but they will have to go at some point.
This decision didn’t come over night, this is something that has been on my mind for quite some time.
Off and on during my entire life, I’ve been a Lacto-ovo-vegetarian. I was a vegetarian because I didn’t want anyone to die to become my food, but I usually blamed my reasoning on my problematic stomach. Sure, my stomach is problematic and I, like many others in the Western societies have the crap diagnosis of IBS, but that wasn’t the reason I did not want to eat animals.
It became rather clear pretty quickly that the chefs at work treated me with more respect when they believed I excluded meat from my menu due to stomach issues. So I went with that. No one questioned my choice whatsoever. Not like people do when you tell them you’re a vegetarian, or heaven’s forbid you to use the horrid word vegan! Just mentioning it is enough… oh, my, all those opinions people have!
“What if you were stranded on an island and there were only a pig (or: random animal) to eat. What would you do?”
Believe it or not, but this is quite a common question in today’s modern society. This must be something people just go around worrying about, obviously… Or do they question me just to simply poke holes in my morals, or double standards, or whatever, I have no idea what their goal is here. Taking the liberty of exclaiming you’re vegan is generally provoking a lot of aggression in most people.
My road to becoming vegan started with a hen…
The year was 2013, and I was living in Thailand. My ex and I were visiting his aunt. The family had hens in their yard, running around happily and freely. One morning when I woke up my ex was ready to butcher a freshly killed featherless hen. My dinner, apparently. The rest of the family were to eat something I didn’t like. Can’t even remember what… probably rats, or intestines, those were mainly the “things” I didn’t eat.
My ex saw meat as “better” food than veggies!
He was usually doing the cooking, and he was always very headstrong in that he wanted me to eat meat. This morning he had gone and killed this hen for my dinner. Our relationship was lousy, and this incident made me finally realise he had no idea who I really was… nor did he care…
Even though he full-on knew I preferred to not eat meat, he couldn’t let this indoctrination that meat was “better” food than plants go.
The thought of this poor hen running around totally free and happy just a short while earlier made my stomach churn. I had a hard time finishing the meal. Yes, ridiculous I know! Of course, I’ve always known the animals I ate also had a life before they became my food, but it had been easier to suppress. This incident was so palpable in some way.
It got so close and I didn’t feel comfortable.
“If slaughter houses had glasswalls,everyone would be vegetarian.”
This time I had to force myself to eat the food. I didn’t feel right refusing it, since it would mean the hen had died for nothing, and that would’ve made me feel ungrateful, which would be even worse. I tried to respect the hen by eating her. Sounds preposterous!
After that, I turned Lacto-ovo-vegetarian. More or less after the hen, that same day! During the years, though, I noticed I had these strange cravings, so sometimes I munched down a piece of meat of some kind.
My body was screaming for nourishment…
I’ve always believed this is the way the body works (never seen any clear evidence of this, though). When it craves something, it’s the body signaling you’re lacking something. Well… except the sugar addiction then… that’s the addiction speaking. But most other stuff. This is just my unscientific made-up theory though, but still… Don’t you believe I’m onto something here?
Doesn’t it sound logical the body would signal what it needs to survive?
My diet as an adult had more or less always been a disaster since I rarely cook. Honestly, wasn’t cooking the most boring task ever invented? Besides I was always working, spending too much time out of home, so it was just simpler to buy take-out or other worthless ready meals. Buying home groceries, that I never had the time to finish before it was time for my next shift became boring pretty quickly.
As well as expensive.
At work, I was usually served pretty lousy food too. Most chefs didn’t know how to cook vegetarian and/or vegan nutritional food and weren’t particularly interested in learning in their spare time either – understandable! Their employer didn’t give them any tools and basically, all food they were working with was already finished. They only needed to reheat it. Unhealthy diet. There were exceptions of course, but they might have been 2 chefs in 5 years!
That’s why I mostly lived on processed wheat products (always been a pasta freak!) and Coca Cola (at least 2 litres daily!).
The absence of good food made my body go bezerk. My vitamin and mineral levels fell into complete decay. This was discovered in 2018 after I had turned to both my own doctor and the company doctor because I felt like shit. I was completely stressed out with all kinds of symptoms, but none of the doctors had any tips on what I could do. Maybe start eating better would be an idea. I got vitamin D drops prescribed, but that was about it. The health care in Sweden in a nutshell.
In hindsight, they could’ve sent me to a nutritionist or something. Instead, they took for granted my levels were simply this bad because I excluded meat! They both encouraged me to start including meat in my diet again to see if it would help.
Had I had the energy I could’ve dived into nutrition theory on my own, which had been a better solution.
Fast forward a little over a year (this was about how long the temporary meat-eating lasted), you’ll find me on my sofa watching health documentary after health documentary like a drug addict! “What the Health” was probably the one that made me first start questioning what I was doing. After that one, I watched “Forks over Knives” and finally understood I had been completely lost! I needed a drastic change in my life!
It pains me to say this, but it’s so easy to suppress the poor souls tortured to death from the day they are born till the day we murder them for food, simply because we don’t see it!
I now understood that by eating them I had destroyed my own health and my own chance of living a healthy life. I am a broken person: a whiplash injury in my neck, migraines, IBS, high diastolic pressure, all kinds of random problems I can’t even define – well, hypochondria might be one of them thinking about it… Besides, there is cancer in all corners of my family history.
I’ve always been soft – I am an empath after all – and I’ve always loved animals, but I can’t lie, it was actually the concern for my own health and well-being that finally made me take the step to start eating plant-based.
Being vegan includes so much more than food, though, it’s a lifestyle. But oh, I could never imagine how tricky it would become.
What sane person can even imagine they actually put bone meal in toothpaste?
Now the hunt for hygiene products not tested on animals started. And they needed to be free from any animal remains whatsoever. The testing part was quite simple because I had done rather well on this part in the last few years. No, it’s not like most of you believe: that most make-up and beauty products in the EU aren’t tested on animals, but the ban sure sounds good, doesn’t it? The animal remains thing turned out to be trickier than I had imagined.
Another thing causing further problems was the small detail of the products actually working as well as being cruelty-free.
I tried to go a little bit further still and choosing organic, with as few poisons in the products as possible, which means the effect of the product just takes a plunge. You might say the shower gel is working (?), but it somehow doesn’t remove the smell of sweat! Some conditioner works (?), but the hair feels like barb-wire afterward – my hairs are very thin (not thin hair, but thin hairs) and a lot of curls. My hair will become dreadlocks without me even trying… Some deodorants work (?), but most not at all!
What about toothpaste…
I have to say I didn’t have the slightest idea they put bone meal from animals in toothpaste. Not the slightest. So pointless. And cruelty-free toothpaste doesn’t taste good and it doesn’t foam… Furthermore, it’s insanely expensive! Even though it doesn’t contain bone meal! Or maybe just because… The bone meal might be the thing making the product cheaper. Or what now? I keep on searching as far as toothpaste goes because I haven’t found a favourite yet.
There are a lot of sites out there where you can find info on Cruelty-free products. I’ve found one with Swedish products on veganguiden.se, so if anyone has a suggestion for other countries, please drop a comment!
Soo, this being a vegan thing is quite new for me, and I suspect I will stumble on weird stuff on my journey through veganism, and I will share those! For you… 😛 and for my own need of ranting…
Finishing off with a typical mantra:
Are you vegan, or not vegan? Why or why not? Please leave a comment!