Now this is a pretty honest post to write and I hope people will be kind about it. Most people prefer to show only the good side of life on the internet and it’s not very often that you see a post that highlights someone’s flaws. But we’re not all perfect and I want to make sure I’m honest with you guys as well as with myself. I’ll probably get some backlash about my decision too, but here’s my story about why being vegan isn’t for me at this time in my life.
I originally said I was going to go vegan in October and I did. I was pretty good with checking labels and ingredients for the main animal products like honey, milk etc. I’ve said this before but I’m the sort of person that has to do these things gradually. If I go cold turkey with anything I’ll be craving it again within days, so I went slowly and tried not to beat myself up about it too much if I got it wrong. It was hard but I managed to stick to it for over a month. Until Christmas came round. In December all the Christmas food came out in the shops and to be completely honest I didn’t want to deprive myself of them. So I had the chocolates and the crisps and the cheese and I enjoyed myself over the festive period. Over Christmas we had dinner at various people’s houses and being the Libra that I am (a people pleaser!) I didn’t want to put anyone out too much and being vegetarian at Christmas is hard enough, so veganism went way out the window.
So January came round and I started to go down the vegan route again. However, as it’s January (new year, new start and all that) I also wanted to try and be healthy and get back into fitness. This proved to be a bit more of a challenge than before as I can’t have chips and beans with my dinner every night! So I started trying to research healthy vegan options, but it all seemed to be things like ramen and Buddha bowls and I don’t really like food like that – Waggamamas is somewhere I’d never choose to go for food. With being thrown back into work at full speed, back to the gym 5 times a week and wedding planning in our spare time, it became pretty difficult to put in the research for recipes that didn’t require a lot of ingredients and also didn’t take a long time. We get home from the gym at around 7.30 every night and by the time we’ve showered I just don’t want to spend the rest of my night standing over the cooker. I started to stress about the food shop every week and most of the time it ended in us not trying out the new recipe I’d planned to and having something quick like something with chips or toast instead. This completely went against our healthy eating and we were throwing away a lot of food too, which is just wasteful.
I know that part of this is just me being lazy and not putting in enough effort, but when you’re trying to do several other things in life too, something has to give. Unfortunately this time it’s veganism. I’m pretty disappointed in myself because it’s something I thought would be as easy as going vegetarian (which I personally found really easy) but it hasn’t turned out that way for me. Rather it’s been a cause of stress and worry instead. Mentally it’s causing me too much stress at this time of my life and I’m just not in the right frame of mind to make such a big change right now.
I’m still a vegetarian and I won’t ever go back to eating meat. I’ve also substituted all my milk for plant milks and I’ve completely cut back on dairy in general – it’s just cheese that I still eat, but that’s only occasionally on things like pizza. Because pizza is life! Obviously! And vegan cheese is not the same at all unfortunately. But I am cutting out certain animal products that I find it easy to substitute and I like to think that every little bit helps. Eventually I hope to be fully vegan, but I think once you start labelling things, that’s when the pressure mounts and people will jump on you straight away for the tiniest slip up. I know some vegans are very much all or nothing and will judge me for this, but I hope that most vegans will understand that it is a hard life choice and sometimes it’s just not the right thing to do at that time.
I felt like I needed to write this post and explain myself, as I had declared I was going vegan a few months ago and I don’t want to mislead anyone. I also hope it will help other people who fear that failing at going vegan means you’re a horrible person and have no compassion for anything other than yourself. Sometimes it’s just not practical for some people, due to many different reasons but I don’t think that we should be shamed for doing our best. Our best is a different level for everyone – for some it’s being vegan, for others it’s having 1 meat free day a week – and as long as we are actively trying to make the best choices we can then no one can ask any more of us. We should be proud that we are trying to make a difference at all, no matter how small that difference may be.