After two decades of being vegetarian, one evening was all it took to make the switch to being vegan.
I became vegetarian at 11 years old after making the connection between food and animals. I remember the day I came home and told my mum I couldn’t eat the sausages, mash, peas and onion gravy that was waiting for me for dinner. Mum was a long term vegetarian herself, so she accepted my choice even though she had brought me up to eat meat along with the rest of my family.
For the years in-between this and turning vegan, I would have told you I was vegetarian for the animals – my interest in the health and other benefits came later. I thought dairy and eggs didn’t mean animals have to die, I would always eat free range eggs and considered milk to be healthy and ethical – I also thought leather was a by-product of the meat industry anyway and would only go waste if it wasn’t used.
But on the night my beliefs turned upside down and came crashing down around me, I literally felt the pain of awareness, I had had no idea what I had been contributing to all those years, even as a vegetarian.
With hindsight, if I was honest with myself, I probably knew having diary and eggs wasn’t as ethical as I liked to convince myself but hey, I was still one of the only vegetarians I knew and it was already challenging enough to eat out with friends and be ‘normal’ (whatever that is anyway). I don’t remember ever seriously considering veganism until that evening when it all changed.
I was home alone web surfing with no specific focus. Curiosity about something I had heard about milk floated to my mind and I googled to see ‘where milk comes from’. What a silly question I heard myself saying, but what emerged on my screen was far from silly – the more I dug, the more I found, the more I cried.
Then I moved onto eggs, where do eggs come from? I won’t go into it here, but my realisation of the truth of egg production and the shattering of my old beliefs was heart breaking… little did I know that boy chicks lives are considered so valueless.
With tears streaming down my face, uncontrollable sobbing and a sickening feeling that wouldn’t leave me, I knew I just couldn’t participate in eating those things any more and so started a new chapter of my life, adjusting to being vegan.
After a further decade now of being vegan, I have been through many experiences and situations which I will share with you here over future blogs.
When I became vegan I didn’t know any other people like me and it wasn’t as easy to find resources as it is today – food products or information! So I taught myself how to make creative and tasty meals, ensure I had a balanced diet, how to eat out in restaurants, eating at friends houses, dealing with being ‘the odd one out’, answering questions like ‘where do I get my protein’ and ‘do I miss bacon’ – without seeming as if it was the millionth time I had answered it! In more recent years veganism has become more widely understood, so I have also been able to develop my knowledge and experience with more evidence and facts.
Building on my personal experience, I have founded Loved and Enough to offer a positive and supportive community to people who want to enjoy more vegan food in their diet, whether or not they want to ‘be vegan’. Great vegan food is quite simply ‘Great Food’ and through the recipes and information I will share here, I hope it inspires you to eat more vegan food.