Do not allow ignorance to get in the way of a more healthy and ethical lifestyle!
I never thought I’d go vegan. Seriously!
Yet here I am. Vegan since 25 months. And you know what?
The way I feel about it right now, there’s no way in hell I’ll ever go back to eating animal products, unless I find myself in a catastrophe zone with zero other options!
So how did I do it?
Well. I didn’t, not really. It just kinda happened? :)
In my early 20s my partner wanted to go vegan. Naturally I refused. I mean, why would anyone stop eating cheese and eggs? That’s just plain stupid, c’mon!
I kinda got the “let’s stop eating meat” part, as I’d actually spent one year during high-school as a vegetarian. But egg and milk? NOPE.
In hindsight, I think I felt kinda scared about loosing my many crutches in life. Those golden nuggets of pleasure that I had become so incredible reliant upon.
I loved cinnamon buns more than anyone I had ever met before.
I looved doughnuts filled with apple cream!
I loooved milk-chocolate in all it’s forms!
And I fricking loved pizza.
So we decided to go vegetarian, allowing for the continued consumption of milk and eggs. At the start we relied heavily on soy-based fake meat alternatives, although not quite as tasty as the modern versions. We ate an incredibly bland diet in the beginning, basically fries with soy-schnitzel, Béarnaise sauce and some peas on the side.
But within a few years we’d had a lot of time to experiment, trying out making our own black-bean burgers, pasta sauces, pies and a plethora of Asian cooking styles.
We still loved going for take-outs, usually gorging ourself on the meat-free pizzas out there.
As long as I got my cheese-based fix, the endorphins ran high!
My partner continued to badger me at times about going vegan, and I think she really tried herself from time to time. But I never budged.
It was too extreme I thought. How could I ever give up on all those small but delicious moments of joy? When I failed an exam, or my economy went for a dive, I could always rely on eating something good!
I just couldn’t do it.
Then, Mic the Vegan happened
But then one day, I randomly came across this YouTuber called Mic the Vegan. Mic is a bit of a science-nerd who loves digging through peer-reviewed scientific reports on nutrition. And to be honest. Nutrition’s one of those things I’d literally NEVER cared about in my life. As far as I knew, it was synonymous with mumbo-jumbo, pseudoscience and fitness freaks.
Mic’s a nice dude however. He presents his findings with humour, cute animations and perhaps most importantly, without referring to himself as an expert we should all follow religiously.
As a fan of the scientific method myself (having studied biology for 4 years at university), I appreciated him being transparent. In linking all his sources and always supporting his arguments with multiple approaches, I learned more in three months from him about nutrition, than I had in my entire life before.
And this changed everything.
Before this, I’d only known about the ethics of veganism, and while I did agree somewhat, it all seemed so.. extreme to me. But now, I realised that in eating egg and milk, I daily stuffed my blood-vessels with cholesterol, heavy metals, heme-iron and insulin-like growth factors (which increases cancerous growth). But the biggest revelation to me, was the numbers:
Plant-based low oil vegans, where pretty much heart-attack proof. While some 60% of us are going to have a heart-attack at some point in our lives (killing us if no one is close enough to help), there are several other diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and in some cases even Alzheimer, which are related to your basic, cardio-vascular health.
Both in double-blind studies (gold standard), meta-studies and clinical studies the same pattern emerges; In eliminating meat, egg and dairy from your diet as well as most of the oil, you’ll drastically improve the odds of not only becoming a centenarian, but being able to walk, train, talk and think while getting there.
Nearing my 30s, I was starting to realise that I’m not going to live forever. I had this creeping suspicion that my choices now would define my health, for the rest of my life.
And that’s how I became a Vegan.
First of all: I had to sit down with all the evidence and study it for myself.
In realising that going Vegan would actually be awesomely good for my own health, good for the climate AND good for the animals — It no longer felt like such a sacrifice.
Today I’ve exchanged the milk-chocolate for Vegan alternatives and I barely eat pastry's. But I’ve realised that there’s a lot more out there you can eat than I thought before. And while you might not be able to get whatever you want at the local supermarket, almost everything is possible to bake, cook or make in your own kitchen.
Not having consumed any animal products for over two years, my mind is now at peace. I no longer feel guilt in conjunction to what I eat. Something I’ve realised (in hindsight) that I used to feel all the time, back when I was completely illiterate about nutrition.
Nothing in life is easy. Changing your entire way of living takes time, there’s no way around that. But you’re not alone, and many have walked this path before you.
If you’re ready to pop the red pill and go down the rabbit hole, you’re in for the ride of your life!