Yesterday I was thinking I’ve never told you guys why I became vegan and how I did it. As a lot of vegans get this question I would like to share it with you. Since I was a little child I wanted to become vegetarian, but I couldn’t do it. I loved meat, a lot! What was weird, because I also love animals a lot from, probably, the day I was born. I grew up with goats, chickens, horses, dogs, rats, cats, ferrets.. you name it and I had one. Everybody knew (and still) me as ‘the girl who loves animals’. Still I couldn’t be vegetarian. I think because I didn’t have the knowledge at that time. Whenever I was in a restaurant I made sure I ordered something containing a lot of meat. Especially steak and spare ribs were my absolute favourite. When I became a teenager I didn’t eat less meat, but it actually became more and more. I just loved the taste.
Then the day came when somebody took me to do a workshop about massaging pigs. There is this big farm in Amstelveen (Netherlands) called ‘Het Beloofde Varkensland’ (The Promised Pigs Land) and they organise workshops to massage pigs and learn about them. There are a lot of rescue pigs. From the bio-industry or pigs who used to be pets, but then grow too big, got out of control by people not understanding them etc. They now all have a lovely life living with this lady called Dafne Westerhof. They have a lot of land to go for a stroll, straw to hide in, mud to roll in and a lot of attention.. living the dream! I aways liked pigs a lot, but since that day I really started to look at them in a different way. It was such an amazing day and I really didn’t want to leave those precious pigs. From that day I couldn’t eat pork anymore. How could I? So I stopped eating it and only bought 100% organic meat. I also ate meat substitutes at least 4 times a week. But then after a few weeks I realised that the meat on my plate, organic or not, from whatever animal it was, didn’t look nice to me anymore. I couldn’t eat it anymore. So I became vegetarian. It was very easy as I never really made the decision, it was more like an automatic thing what happened.
So before I became vegan I was already vegetarian for a few years. Though I must say, when I was vegetarian I did eat sweets containing gelatine, telling myself that I shouldn’t make life too difficult and that it wouldn’t make such a big difference. When I moved to the UK I started to think about veganism. Thinking I could never do that, it’s so extreme and why shouldn’t we eat eggs and drink milk? There is no reason to stop consuming that. I was closing my eyes for it, because I liked eggs, I loveeeed milk and what about cheese…. I could never ever give that up! Only I couldn’t help it, it was in my head the whole time, so I did make a few changes. I replaced my milk by soy milk and my yogurt by soy yogurt. I did eat products containing milk, but I never drunk or used milk by itself anymore.
Then the day came that I watched the documentary ‘Forks Over Knives’ and I couldn’t lie to myself anymore. Still I didn’t believe if I could ever be vegan. So many questions came up: What can I eat? Would I still be able to enjoy food? Can I ever go to a restaurant again without being difficult? Will there be vegan food on the menu? How will my environment react? So I decided to learn about veganism more and more. I read the book ‘Eat Like You Care’, I did my research and then the same thing happened to me when I became vegetarian. I couldn’t eat it anymore. So I automatically started to eat more and more plant based food. At first I replaced or stopped all the products on its own. So I did still eat biscuits and cakes where eggs were used for example. I still struggled a little bit with the questions I had. Then I bought this book called ‘Vegan in 30 Days’. And that book helped me to take the last steps. My last questions were answered, like.. How would my environment react? Or can I still go to restaurants? One thing what really helped me was: What if I had an allergy? There are a lot of people who are intolerant to dairy or eggs for example. That is all accepted, people are kind and will help you to find something you can eat. Only when you choose not to eat it, when you choose not to eat animals or contribute to the cruelty, when you choose to be healthier, people make it a problem. When I read that, it was so clear to me. This is my choice and I decide what I put in my body or not. IT really encouraged me.
I remember I started a try out in November 2014. I went to restaurants to see if it was possible to enjoy a nice meal out. I went to supermarkets and started to read labels. I think I almost read every single label in every supermarket and I learned so much. I was surprised by all the products with dairy in it, but I also was surprised by a lot of product which turned out to be vegan. The try out went very well. I kept learning about veganism, watched documentaries, googled a lot of things and I tried a lot of different products and recipes. I sometimes ate something containing milk or egg, but once the new year started I never looked back! I fully made the decision to go vegan. What made me research things like leather, wool, silk and other animal products. The last thing I gave up (happily) was honey. Every time I look back in my journey and think about everything I learned I’m so grateful that I did! My whole world changed, in a good way. I started to look at things different. I feel a lot of compassion and love. I feel more grateful and appreciate the things around me even more than I did before.
So the the main reason I went vegan is for the animals. To stop the cruelty, abuse and unnecessary killing. I do have 2 other very important reasons and those are: my health and the environment. Living on a plant based diet is so much better for your body and I can feel that. Also going vegan makes a huge difference to the environment and I want to be good to this earth, there is only 1. There are a number of other reasons to go vegan and I do find those important too, but in the end it doesn’t really matter what my most important reasons are. Going vegan is the best decision I made in my life!
The things that helped me becoming vegan:
Pigs farm – ‘Het Beloofde Varkensland’.
Documentary – ‘Forks Over Knives’.
Documentary – ‘Earthlings’.
Book – ‘Eat Like You Care’ by Gary L. Francione and Anna Charlton.
Book – ‘Vegan in 30 Days’ by Sarah Taylor.
PS: As my journey started with pigs, they became like a symbol for me. Pigs are my favourite animals. I love them so much. They can change the world. They changed me from somebody who ate a lot of meat, thinking I could never give that up, to somebody feeling so compassionate. I’m full of energy, thriving on a plant based diet. I feel very emotional writing this at the moment, because my love for them goes so far. They made me see what I couldn’t see by myself. They are the worlds biggest treasure!
Are you vegan? What made you become vegan? How did you do it and how does it make you feel today? I would love to hear about your vegan journey! Please let me know in the comments below. You could also let me know or show me by tagging me or using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X