My Vegan Journey

As part of any spiritual journey, I think it becomes part and parcel of the process that you choose to transition to veganism. You get a new respect for animals and recognise a soul within as you do humans.

I’d been toying with the idea of vegansim for a while. But things like chicken, bacon and eggs sincerely put me off as well as fast foods such as KFC and Subway’s meatball marinara.

However as I was learning all this new information I felt it wasn’t right to believe in souls and still eat animals. Not to mention the suffering they face.

So on the 5th September 2016 I made the plunge ( I lasted 2 weeks I think).

Okay so I didn’t eat totally non-animal products straight away. I started small like switching my milk and opted for honey rather than sugar. I went in search of agave nectar to subsitute sugar but found none in the shop, so temporarily I’m still using honey. However I’ve eaten no meat.

Another contributing factor to why I wanted to try veganism is because for the past 3 years I’ve been struggling with acne on and off. And have seen through YouTuber’s who chose to eat healthier, their skin has really benefited from it.

Be prepared to be laughed at, by near enough EVERYONE

No joke, I announced my new venture to my family and although they initially supported it, there are an alarming amount of jabs they make regarding what food you can’t eat.

Word of advice, if someone you love or know is transitioning to vegan, support them, try and refrain from making jokes aimed at their expense and get creative with them. There are a lot of awesome food meat lovers can eat along with us.

Don’t try and make their decision a joke, if not for dietary allergies a lot of people feel eating animals is mean, and that’s a truly heart felt thing so don’t be rude about someone trying to do better.

You’ll feel hungry

A couple of days into my transition I began to feel hungry after my meal on a night. I was eating my meals as I would when I had meat and was still feeling really hungry.

I did a little research and according to some fitness guru, we need to eat more when vegan because there are less calories in the food we eat as opposed to starchier food we would eat before i.e cake, crisps, chocolate, lots of bread and pasta and so forth.

Therefore as the body is absorbing all the nutrients and the food is of lower calories, we need to eat more in order to reach our daily allowance of calories.

So make sure you’re eating good portions.

You’ll wake up earlier

I might have to come back to this one, because I don’t know if it’s a coincidence but as soon as I started my vegan diet I began to wake up earlier and earlier.

I’ve been in university for the past three years so you can imagine what my sleeping schedule is like. I’ve never really been an early bird, rather a night owl. On average I’d wake up around 11, lately however it’s been after 12.

As soon as I started my vegan diet, I woke up at 10:45am, 9:45am and 8:45am, something that has not happened naturally in, well, forever it seems.

Your skin clears up

Again, I don’t know if this is a coincidence because I’ve been using Lush’s Cosmetic Warrior spot face mask for weeks. Having broken out really bad (I think the face mask was getting rid of all the toxins) my skin is slowly starting to clear.

I think this however is partly due to the face mask as I’ve used it before and it made my acne scarred skin look clearer than its ever been.

(On review, veganism definitely helped my skin dramatically, changes happening almost right away. When I switched back to meat my skin worsened again).

You’ll fail at recipes

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve googled a recipe and been so excited to try it the next day, for it to end up completely not like the picture, the kitchen a complete and utter mess and the residue of ingredients practically everywhere.

Veganism is a lot about trial and error, you’ll find yourself trying recipes over and over again trying to perfect it to your taste. Or end up like me throwing pans all over the place and cursing using so much of your just bought items and feeling even hungrier than when you started.

This has happened so many times I can’t even count.

It’s frustrating and you’ll probably eat a lot of the same stuff until you find more recipes (which you probably won’t have the ingredients for), transitioning is haaaard lol.

And it definitely would be much easier if you lived on your own. You and them both will get quickly get sick of “I can’t eat that.” So definitely transitioning to veganism will be a lot easier if you can freely buy your own ingredients and not have people both tempt and scorn you for your choices.

Try and find an organic supermarket/shop

I shopped at Morrisons and they weren’t very good with vegan items, many things I couldn’t buy and things like cacao powder would of had to have been purchased online. So definitely try to find an organic shop for ease.

But here are a few helpful ingredients that cropped up a lot when researching veganism;

  • A blender, makes life a whoooole lot easier. (You’ll come to find I’m lacking basically all of these, including a blender)
  • Measuring cups, a lot of recipes are done in an American style i.e. 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup oats etc
  • Almond milk (could be other forms of non-dairy milk it’s really up to you)
  • Quinoa seems to be a biggy, although I’m still yet to purchase this
  • Chia seeds + flaxseed (good for protein, again yet to purchase, very important you’re getting your protein so eat these in some form or purchase flaxseed oil to include in smoothies or your porridge or whatever)
  • Cacao powder for that yummy element of chocolate
  • Kidney beans, chickpeas, any kind of beans really (protein)
  • Kale for Iron or purchase floradix, has a blend of iron and b12
  • Coconut oil (currently using vegetable oil, apparently oils aren’t processed well by the body, so keep this to a minimum, coconut oil however seems to be a popular choice)
  • Your average joe stuff like oats, fruits, lots of veggies (frozen or fresh, both are good, frozen more so in some cases as it’s picked fresh then frozen straight away so it captures all the goodness)
  • Almond or peanut butter (Apple dipped in either one is yummy)
  • Alternative to sugar, many use maple syrup, I use unrefined cane sugar, not gonna lie, it tastes kind of weird. And if you have horses, you’ll probably recognise the smell right away
  • Spices and the like (I lack maaaany of these so don’t worry too much, I usually throw in whatever I have in the cupboards)
  • Wholewheat or rye bread- Optional though (I don’t have this either yet)
  • Also frozen bananas seem to crop up a lot

You’ll come to find it’ll be a lot about slowly acquiring all that you need. Every time I read a recipe there’s always some exotic ingredient I’ve never heard of and have no idea where to find, so your trips to the shops will be a never ending occurrence.

But your cooking skills will improve and you’ll be whipping up some pretty mean meals soon enough. You’ve just gotta keep the faith while you’re getting the hang of things!

Really experiment with your food. Make fresh orange juice, try out fun, new recipes and don’t forget to treat yourself!! There’s so many delicious indulgent treats out there! Chocolate can still very much be enjoyed in the form of dark chocolate and the adding of cacao powder. Get googling some yummy treats and induuuulge!!

I’m still learning and as you can see I’ve got a loooot of ingredients I still need to purchase, but there’s so many endless possibilities of good, nutritional, yummy tasting food out there I’m holding on!!

Like me you’ll probably feel angry and frustrated at failed recipes and even feeling at a loss at what to cook. But you’re learning, this is a new thing, so don’t expect to get it right away (@myself), be patient and be experimental. You can have real fun in the kitchen and everything you make is GOOD for you, that’s a comforting feeling despite the apprehension. Don’t be afraid to fail!!

You’ll feel angry

Omgosh this is a biggy, I was honestly so vile and so angry alllll the time. With some research I found that this was due to a lack of iron. You can get a vitamin replacement for this in the form of floradix or eat plenty of rich green foods.

Now I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but I’m back on meat. For the reason I was starving. So I made myself a bacon sarnie.

However when I have sufficient funds, live on my own, find an organic shop and make sure I’m eating enough – I will go back to it.

I don’t believe in eating meat, I think it’s unnecessary and unkind. However for the time being this will be my diet.

So I hope this article gives you and idea of what to expect when you transition and hopefully in the future you’ll see a title like “6 years a vegan” or something epic like that.

All my light and love,

Jem x