Thursday, 7 January 2016

Going Vegan

Vegan burgers at Handmade Burger Co

More and more throughout 2015, I've been thinking about going vegan. Although I'm generally not too fussed about the start of a new year, it feels like a good time to start - especially because of Veganuary, which is an excellent incentive that encourages people to try veganism for the month of January. 

First things first, I want to stress that the purpose of this post is not to moralise. I know that this can be a sensitive subject to some and I also know that some vegans can be preachy and didactic. However, my aim is really not to make anyone feel bad. I simply want to express my personal thoughts and my reflections, and my blog is a place where I do exactly that. Going vegan is a personal decision of mine, and I respect everyone who doesn't want to do the same. The majority of my friends and family eat meat, and they are people that I love, respect and value highly. It wasn't that long ago that I ate meat too. It's all about personal choices and decisions.

Back in June, I wrote this post about my thoughts on vegetarianism and veganism. Back then, I ate a lot of vegan food, but also regularly ate dairy and eggs and I didn't think I could give up dairy. Since then I've discovered so many brilliant alternatives to the few foods that I thought I'd really miss (cake and chocolate mainly), and going vegan no longer seems like such an impossible task. 

My reasons for going vegan are first and foremost ethical, but the health benefits of a plant-based diet are of course a brilliant bonus. Over the last year I've read more and more about both climate issues and the animal welfare with regards to the meat and dairy industry, and I've watched a few documentaries - namely Cowspiracy, 101 Reasons to Go Vegan and Earthlings. The first two had a couple of debatable points and arguments, but on the whole they were very informative and eye-opening. The best one of the three was definitely Earthlings, which had me bawling my eyes out and was probably the final drop that made me want to try veganism. I don't want to go on too much about this (I don't want to risk being preachy), but if it's something you want to know more about, I highly recommend the documentaries I mentioned. 

A change of diet is one of the easiest changes for me personally, but I'm also going to try and make changes in other areas. I already use a lot of cruelty-free beauty products, but I still own and use a lot of stuff that isn't. I'm going to continue using what I've got (because throwing things away is just wasteful in my opinion), but I'll make an effort to only buy cruelty-free and vegan products in the future. As for leather, I own both leather shoes and leather bags, and I plan to keep them. Like with beauty products, throwing them away feels horribly wrong and wasteful, so I'll continue using those things until they fall apart. In the future, however, I'm not buying any more leather.

I'm going to try and be as strict as I can throughout January, but depending on how I feel by the end of the month I might be more lenient after that. I know eating out and eating at other people's homes can be complicated as a vegan, and I don't want to make too much of a fuss. Similarly, I won't be too bothered if I accidentally eat something that has got, say, dairy in it. It's the over-all effort that matters to me.

Phew, that was rambly. This is a difficult subject to write about, but I hope I managed to do it in an okay way. One of the best posts I've ever read on the subject is this post that Gemma wrote on her blog not too long ago. She writes so well about the subject, and her post was actually one reason why I decided to read up and watch documentaries, so I definitely recommend reading her post as well. Plus her blog is full of vegan recipes and vegan/cruelty-free beauty tips! I also recommend www.veganuary.com which is really helpful and full of information. 

I'm probably going to write more about my experience of Veganuary later on, but for now, this waffle-y post will do. I hope you enjoyed reading, if you made it all the way through.

Love, Mimmi.