I never liked fish. Not to eat anyway. We had an aquarium at home when I was a kid and all though I found the fishes very boring they were a part of the family, as well as the hamster, the birds and the cat. Sometimes we’d take care of someone’s dog when they went on vacation too. I grew up surrounded by pets. When I went fishing with my father I’d catch small (but eatable) fishes and I’d play with them at the beach. I was maybe 3 years old and hadn’t grasped that the fished were dead, I thought since they were in the water they were fine. Then my dad came and took my fishes and put them on the grill. Boohoo. I may have been upset that my toys were gone rather than they ate the fish, but I was upset anyway. I stopped eating fish entirely in the summer of 1987. I couldn’t stand the texture and the smell. Once again, not so much about the animal, much more about food.
Various strange eating disorders later I found myself at a Weight Watchers meeting, or a few meetings in, and I realized I cooked the meat for my dinner but I never ate it. I had done so for many years, but only now I realized I counted the calories – or marks, points, whatever they were called back then – but never ate it. I ate chicken breast. Frozen, never fresh. That’s all. It took me a year to go from “proteins=chicken” to vegetarian. This was entering Y2K. The only beans I’d eaten were chili con carne and that’s what I did, variations of chili SIN carne. I found dry soy protein and quorn entered the market. It never was a struggle. At times all I ate was cheese sandwiches or cookies. But then I’d shape up and start cooking real food again.
I’d quit eating meat and chicken (I never ate lamb for example, they’re too cute). Forward a year later, and I found myself walking thru the supermarket and as I am going thru the fresh meat section I felt the panic rising from inside. I choke up and start crying. All I see is dead bodies. I see slaughtered animals everywhere. The smell of fresh meat mixed with the smell from the grilled meat section – it’s all too much and I literary break down. After that moment there was never a turning back. It’s about ethics. It’s about the animals. I wanted to go all the way but I couldn’t see myself living without cheese, yoghurt and most of all ice cream. Ben & Jerry, my friends. How could I leave them?
Fast forward to 2014. I learn to run. I can run. I feel good. I feel strong. I am ready to take on the challenges. I read the amazing life hugging Eat & Run by Scott Jurek but first the vegan athlete’s bible, No Meat Athlete by Matt Frazier. No Meat Athlete is great cause it doesn’t really mention VEGAN. To me a person who is vegan is very opinionated. It’s not about a diet or what to eat for dinner but a lifestyle involving so many different parts of the society. It’s political most of all. And I am not. I refuse to be in the same box as those militia vegans I have read about. So, I am eating plant based, or sometimes I’d say I’m a strict vegetarian. Now I say vegan but that’s only cause it’s easier, people know what it is, but will at the same time bully me for wearing leather. Still.
My family don’t get it. My the husband eat meat. He loves meat. For the first years we only ate vegetarian food at home and he’d eat meat elsewhere but all of a sudden there were dead animals in the fridge and we never really talked about it. It was some kind of agreement, silent, but still an agreement. When I said I’m going to be vegan for a month he rolled his eyes. And he still does. He is clearly embarrassed. Like it’s something “I came up with”, seeking attention or whatever. The rest of family acts the same. “Oh I forgot, you are a vegan now…”, “you and your ideas…”, “where do you get your proteins…” It’s just stupid. But I am living it. I don’t care. Whenever we are invited somewhere I offer to bring a lunch box. When we we’re having a after work pizza I just ask for a vegetarian without cheese. The only time I struggle is if I am travelling and not prepared a bag of nuts or fruits. As long as there’s some kind of Asian restaurant in the neighborhood I’m just fine. And when I’m off on a road trip I bring müsli and vanilla soy milk. Once that was all I ate; breakfast, lunch and dinner for two days – travelling by car in Denmark. Travelling in Germany on the other hand is much more easy.
I don’t miss ice cream, too sweet anyway (but I signed a petition for making a vegan Ben & Jerry!) – and since I found Cheezly by Astrid & Aporna I don’t miss cheese either. Yoghurt? No not really. Not yet anyway.
I’m good, and I don’t see myself going back to eat eggs and dairy anytime soon. If I crave cheese I’d eat it, same with ice cream or anything else. The moment it’s difficult for ME I would rethink my decision. I always used to say ‘I could never give up chocholate’ – it is so much different giving up sonething you don’t like.
But for now, this is great. I only wish I’d lose weight as everyone else seems to do…
Great read, thank you for the insight. I’ve been vegetarian for 19 years & heavy into animal rights since the early 90s. I actually stopped wearing/using leather, suede, down, silk, wool & fur before giving up meat, I guess cuz I was living at home & my fam wouldn’t have the latter at that time. I’ve been cutting back on dairy/eggs for some time and on my way to find the vegan path. It is easier said then done. I admit that I do have some selfish tendencies but I’m working at it. I have tried the new vegan egg replacement from Follow Your Heart and it is clearly a game changer, highly recommend if you haven’t tried it. ( Cheapest @ http://www.foodfightgrocery.com/follow-your-heart-veganegg/ ) I am also a passionate supporter of Beyond Meat, Gardein, Hampton Creek, So Delicious Dairy Free, Mamma Chia & more recently Tofurky–after having tried the Slow Roasted Chick’n–all varieties are amazing.
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I must admit I found it much easier than I ever expected going from vegetarian to vegan. Except when travelling. But you always have fruits and nuts, right?! 🙂
I used to live on cottage cheese and eggs, but I don’t miss it – and seriously, now I wouldn’t ever consider eating eggs. I have learned from scratch to bake again, which has been a humbling process. Do what I did. Give it three months and you can go back to lacto-ovo again if it didn’t work. You can do it!
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Also just found out that Blue Bunny now has vegan ice cream but to my dismay they do not offer vegan ice cream sandwiches–just pint size flavors. I plan to leave a comment on their Facebook page..maybe they’ll add it down the road. 🙂