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going vegan... am i a fraud

COFFEE (3)

Happy Wednesday everyone! How are you this week? Today I have another post about going vegan for you and how presuming that a label has one meaning for everyone can be hugely detrimental, so hopefully even if you're not thinking of going vegan, this will give you some food for thought.

When I started thinking about going vegan I was worried that it would be too big a commitment and how it would effect my life. I have incredibly inspiring amazing friends who commit their entire life to being a vegan, and as much as I completely admire them for that, I wasn't sure that THAT level was for me. I spent a long time worried that going vegan would change my whole life in a way I wasn't ready for. Did 'going vegan mean I would have to throw away my favourite shoes and hand bag? Would it change other peoples view on me? What about dating - would I now have to only date vegans, because they would be the only ones who understood? And then I realised that I wasn't interested in becoming a label, and I hadn't begun to think about things like vegan cosmetics or materials, because for now, those things were not on my radar. Primarily I was interested in changing my diet, to a plant based, healthier regime that, if it wasn't entirely vegan, definitely resembled it. I wasn't going to let a label define me, but instead set my own definition, and that in turn made the changes I wanted to make, so much easier to do.

For one month I ate strictly vegan. No slip ups, no exceptions. At the end of the month I felt great. I'd lost weight and I had more energy than I had had in months. I knew that a vegan based diet was for me. However, I wasn't sure how strict I wanted to be with this. I love eating out, and not a single other person in my family is even a vegetarian, let alone a vegan. Did I want to start enforcing my lifestyle choices on others? Did I want to be the only person at the table not having a slice of cake? In truth? The answer is no I didn't. So I set some rules of my own:

  1. I would eat entirely vegan at home

  2. I would eat vegan when I was out as much as possible

  3. If the cake looks truly worth it I'm going to have a slice

  4. I never want my lifestyle choices to cause anyone any bother


What do these rules mean? They mean, at home I live by a plant based diet, I don't buy meat or dairy products, or anything that has any animal produce in it. When I go out, I scour the menu for anything that fits the same diet I live by at home. Sometimes that means ordering several sides, sometimes you strike lucky with a specific 'vegan option.' I don't ask to see a list of ingredients, but I do ask them to adapt things if it is easy enough (eg. pizza without cheese). I love eating out, the whole idea is that it should be an enjoyable experience, and for me, that means not making anything too difficult for myself or for the restaurant.  I don't order cake when I am out very often. Lets face it, cake from chain coffee shops isn't that good anyway, and unless I'm in a super nice independent cafe, where I know the cake hasn't been ordered in I just don't think it is worth it. But my boss at work is an incredible baker, and for everyone's birthday he makes us a cake. A cake I know will be delicious, and is only really once a month, so yes, I will have a slice.

And as for not wanting to cause any bother, here is my thinking...

Most of the time I tell people I am a vegan, because for me, being a vegan is actually really easy. Cook me a plate of veg and I will be happy. But would my nan cook me a plate of veg and feel like she had given me a meal? No she wouldn't. She'd want an extensive list of things I do and don't eat, and she'd spend hours trying to find something elaborate and impressive to cook me, and would still fret that it wasn't a 'real dinner.' Veganism is getting more and more widely acknowledged by people, it's even, thankfully, understood by a growing amount of people. But still, sometimes it is easier to just say you're a vegetarian, especially if your nan is nearing her 90's.

Maybe then, this makes me a fraud? And I do worry about this. For a start I only eat a vegan diet, I don't live a vegan lifestyle. I am still ignorant as to what is in my make up draw, and my favourite shoes are made of leather. This isn't something I'm proud of, and it is something that in the coming years I do want to change but for now, I can't claim to truly be a vegan in the purest sense of the word. As for the rules of my vegan diet? Well I am getting stricter in that, the more I find my feet with it, and the more confidence I have in explaining to other people what veganism is, and why I do it, but for now I still have the occasional slip up where I will be halfway through eating something only to read the ingreedients to find milk or egg hiding in there.

I don't live vegan, and I'm not perfect in my vegan diet. But this doesn't make me a fraud. I made my own rules and I live by them. Sometimes giving something a label can be detrimental, because while it can help identify something, as with all the choices we have to make in life, there is no one size fits all.

For me, going vegan meant, doing the best I could for my diet and the planet around me, but also accepting that I am human, and that I still want to live my life in a way that I enjoyed. One day that may mean living a vegan life in all areas, and being as amazing and inspiring as my friends are, but for now I am doing my best with good intentions.

So if you are thinking of going vegan, but worried about what this really means, take a step back, and ask yourself, why you want to go vegan, and also how you think going vegan will change your life, in both positive and negative ways. Once you've done that you'll soon be able to find your own rules. And remember there is nothing fraudulent in being honest, but also that just cutting down your intake of meat or animal produce by 50% is making a difference.

Live life & be honest about making your own rules x

10 comments

  1. Such a great, honest post! It's all about finding what works for you. People get so dogmatic about lifestyle choices but in the end it's about what makes you happy and whole.

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  2. Love this post! I definitely think what's most important is finding what works best for you. If I had to define my diet, I guess I'm technically a pescetarian, but I very rarely eat fish or dairy products. When I cook for myself, it's nine out of ten times vegan food, because I like it and because it makes me feel good. But once in a while, particularly when eating out, I'll eat some cake or ice cream or cheese. I also know that my grandparents struggle with making vegetarian food, so I like giving them the option of making fish for me when I come over for dinner. And just like you, I own and use leather products and beauty products that aren't vegan (although I try to only buy cruelty free products). I just do my best, basically, and it works for me.

    xx Mimmi, Muted Mornings

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  3. Check out thewhitechestnut.com for delicious raw and vegan recipes 😊 💚

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  4. It's lovely that you talk about veganism so openly, I think there is a real stigma that people who are vegan make a real song and dance about it (one of my friends from uni was vegan and trust me, everyone knew about it!!) You have a very healthy outlook on it though, one that more people should have about food. Make your own decisions and occasionally it's ok to have some cake! Alice xxx

    www.woodenwindowsills.co.uk

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  5. I love this post Stephie! It speaks right to me and is almost exactly where I am at, at the moment. I know I want to be a vegan, fully vegan but for me it is without a doubt more of a journey then just a plain black and white thing. Eating out is without a doubt the most difficult thing, I don't want to be fussy and I don't want to make anyone else feel uncomfortable because of my eating choices. Lovely to read a post of someone with a similar view. xx

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  6. Exactly, I know for some people it can be a moment of enlightenment and they never look back, but for me it just hasn't been that way, it's been small adjustments at every step, and I just worry, that sometimes when people read about other experiences, it makes them feel like 'well I've not done it the way they have so what's the point?' Nobody can really claim to be an expert on your lifestyle other than you, and you have to take ownership of that! xx

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  7. Exactly Mimmi! As inspiring as I find people who have 100% commitment and confidence in set lifestyle rules, it also intimidates me, I find it much more motivating to hear someones story like yours, because I read that comment and think 'actually I could do that.' xx

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  8. Thanks Alice, oh there is definitely a stigma around veganism, and one that isn't always fair! I have friends who are 100% vegan, but they choose when they voice that opinion, and I have to say, because they really think it through, about how and where they want to deliver their message and don't force it on people, it has a much bigger impact than giving some one a lecture could ever have! xx

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  9. Exactly, a lifestyle has to be liveable, and while I appreciate that actually I do find it relatively easy 95% of the time, constantly telling people 'it's easy do it' isn't going to have the positive effect I want it too. I'd rather have an onest conversation about the smaller steps I'm taking in the hope that it shows people 'actually I could do that' than go 'LOOK HOW EASY I MAKE IT LOOK' and have people put me up on a pedestal! xx

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  10. […] saying, I am in no way a ‘perfect’ vegan. As I’ve spoken about in the past I find the label ‘vegan’ itself problematic. I eat a mainly plant based diet, and I want to protect animals, and save a little bit of the world […]

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