It has been just over one month since my last personal post and so much has changed in that time. Last week I told you about my experience with Hypoxi, which has gently led me to take a hard look at my body and after the health troubles I had last year it has also made me rethink my eating habits. I am a notoriously unhealthy person. My diet would generally consist of sugar in every form (chocolate, lollies, soft drink, etc), very little liquid intake (I hate drinking water. Trust me, I have tried it in every possible way) and no exercise. So how I got from that to making this life changing decision is a little complex. I am on the road to becoming vegan and I can’t wait to tell you all about how I got to this point.
Past Food Habits
I am the girl who will buy a tub of Betty Crocker icing (chocolate, of course) and eat it with a spoon for dinner. Sugar and chocolate are my weakness, but even more than that Dairy takes the cake for my most favourite food group. Sorry, I should say it WAS my favourite food group. Ice cream, milk, cheese …. I could eat it non-stop even though my lactose intolerant body was telling me not to. In fact, I am not even considered lactose intolerant by medical professionals. My problem was I just consumed so much of it my body couldn’t process it anymore.
Despite my love for consuming dairy, I have never been a fan of animal produced products. Since I was a teenager I disliked meat but not because of the taste (I actually quite like the taste of meat). Why I don’t like meat is because when I was in high school we were made to watch a video that explains where meat comes from. Basically it showed the entire process of how an animal goes from farm to plate. I don’t even remember why the teacher was showing us the video because I was so blinded with disgust by the images I saw all I could think about was the rage boiling within me. From that day I became vegetarian and was strictly so for 8 years.
My thought process at the time was that if I am not eating meat than less animals are being killed on my behalf. Seemed rather simple and I was very proud of my non-meat diet. However, I was not exactly eating to replace the “nutrients” meat provides. Meat doesn’t provide any nutritional benefits that you cannot get elsewhere, but in this particular scenario I wasn’t eating the things that would give me those benefits. Mushrooms, legumes, beans, seeds …. they weren’t in my diet. I basically ate potatoes and lettuce because that was what I liked to eat. Of course after 8 years I became quite ill and the final diagnosis on my declining health was malnourishment. It was proposed that I eat a little bit of red meat each week or get daily shots to replace what I am missing. I was told no amount of beans or mushrooms would make up for the damage I had done (although I am sure that was just doctor speak for “it is too hard to do the compassionate thing so just eat meat”). I was also told tablets were no good by this stage because my body just didn’t have the ability to absorb and breakdown the vitamins. I decided on eating a small piece of red meat a couple of times a week.
Losing My Way
Once I made that decision to have a bit of red meat it didn’t take me long to lose my way. For the first year or so I generally still chose vegetarian meals when eating out or ordering takeaway, but when it came to going to a really nice restaurant where I know a certain meat dish is done really well, I would give in and order meat. I felt that choosing to eat only particular meat dishes wasn’t as bad as eating every kind of meat dish.
Clearly I lost my motivation as to why I became vegetarian in the first place. Over the last couple of years it had really weighed on my mind but I still found myself eating meat when/where I never would have previously. A hot dog from the local sausage sizzle, a chicken finger sandwhich, a mini meat pie ….. I never would have touched those things but here I was eating them. It really was wreaking havoc on my conscious.
The question I would often ask myself is why do I get so upset about a tortured dog or cat, but not the millions of pigs, sheep, goats and cows that are tortured daily? Why do I get disgusted when someone thinks eating a horse, dog or crocodile is ok but not when they eat cattle? As a passionate animal advocate I should be equally disgusted by the mistreatment of ALL animals. That is what kept me awake at night.
The Shining Light
Just before starting my experience with Hypoxi I liked a page on Facebook called Cruelty Free World. I had always been a PETA fan and regularly visit their website, but for some reason this particular Facebook page really spoke to me. It shares really important messages that I whole-heartedly believe and they don’t just push the usual horrifying image of a dead animal. There are lots of good and inspiring stories as well as cold, hard facts.
Once I began Hypoxi and I had my new outlook on looking after myself, it was the Cruelty Free World Facebook page that really drove the message home. I needed to learn what I was putting in my body and the more I looked into it the more horrified I was. My earlier belief that not eating meat was enough to stop animals being needlessly tortured for my selfish gain was so very very wrong. I finally understood what Veganism really was and why it is such an important lifestyle choice.
I know most people see vegans as these crazy, meditating hippies. It is stereotyped that Vegans are in your face about how meat eaters are cruel and disgusting. I think that is an unfair stereotype. I really hope I don’t turn into one of those crazy pushers but to be honest, the more I learn about the world of farming and where our food comes from it makes me want to share my findings with others. I feel the biggest issue here is a lack of education and that people really have no idea what they are actually funding. The fact of the matter is, if you think animals are only killed for meat you are wrong. If you think no animals die for cheese, milk, eggs, etc …. you are wrong. And I was wrong for thinking that too so this is where my decision comes in.
My Final Decision
So the decision is made. I am on the path to becoming a full fledged vegan and I couldn’t be happier about it. I know how hard it will be, in fact, it has been really hard already and I am only a few weeks in but I am starting off right. All the literature and advice I have read says to start by eliminating one animal at a time. I decided to start with Chickens because they are one of the most abused species for food. The only problem I have encountered so far is that despite vowing to only cut out Chickens for now, I am still finding it very difficult to consume any animal products. It actually tastes bad and the overwhelming guilt I feel afterwards is not worth it.
What does this mean for the blog? Don’t worry, nothing will change with this blog. You may or may not know but I actually vowed to not buy products tested on animals or using animal ingredients a very long time ago. Even though I make it clear that I am personally against animal cruelty, I believe I can’t force others to make that choice, it is something you have to decide on your own. I include a disclaimer with every review I publish stating the product/brand animal cruelty policy. This is for your information and I hope you use it to make an educated decision based on your own beliefs. I can’t force you one way or another. I recieve lots of products from companies for consideration, some of which do test on animals or include animal ingredients, and I do review them if I believe (or you tell me outright) it is something you want to see reviewed. This isn’t about going against my personal beliefs but, once again, I believe educating people is more powerful than badgering them so I hope you take the time to read what I write and learn about what you are putting on your skin or in your body.
I am very excited about my new healthy eating habits and so far they have been delicious. Plus, I have been sleeping a lot better and my nightmares about my dogs dying have completely wavered (something that was terrifying me for the past year). I truly believe my body and my mind was trying to tell me what I needed to do, that veganism is the only way forward if I want to be fit, healthy and sleep well at night (and get my slim body back!). It won’t be easy, and I will probably need lots of support and guidance, but I am determined and motivated.
The last thing I want to say on my new lifestyle is this …..
You never see a fat vegan, do you? I rest my case.
What do you think about veganism? Are you already a vegan or vegetarian? Let me know by commenting below!
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