All food is not equalMy journey to Veganism was a long one... I was raised in the uk eating white meat (mainly chicken), I did not taste beef until I was 11, when we moved to Australia because we'd had a heads up about mad cows disease. I very rarely ate red meat after that, I did eat kangaroo meat when I was craving meat- usually once every few months. As a teenager I had shocking binging/starving cycles and ate copious amounts of junk food mainly because I truly believed I did not deserved 'good' food. I love vegetables, always have, I was that weird kid who would happily eat my friends broccoli when the parents weren't watching. So all in all pre-veg I had some pretty appalling eating habits.
I had bad stomach problems the entire time but figured it was what I deserved for eating so badly. When it got worse with the stress of my honours year at university I finally went to the doctor- I needed to eat well and relax. Yeah, sure, relax when I was drinking daily eating what I didn't have to cook, sleeping a couple of hours a night and working long hours in my rat and asbestos infested art studio. It got to the stage where I couldn't keep down food and was curled up in a ball with stomach cramps before I realised I had to do something. I took a good long look at myself and tried to work out why food was my enemy. Why food was hurting me instead of nurturing me.
I came to the conclusion that I was not happy eating the food I was eating, something big was wrong, I knew it, I just couldn't work out exactly what was upsetting me so much....
it took me a good six months of trying to tune into how I felt buying/eating certain foods. I ended up severely limiting my food intake to the things I felt ok with and feeling horrible for it, it was clear I wasn't getting everything I needed nutritionally. Then when I realised I needed help I started researching food, reading recipes, researching the politics of food, big companies, farming methods anything that could help me out. The penny finally dropped when I had the time to do all this extra reading in the holidays (after my thesis was finally finished I had a lot of extra time!)
So in dec 2009 I began reading 'Eating Animals' Jonathan Safran Foer and it was my turning point.
As I went through the book I crossed of one thing after another I couldn't face eating anymore. I went vegetarian early 2010 (not much of a difference really but still a big step for me) and vegan shortly after (maybe 2-3 weeks after?)- I couldn't justify contributing to the milk/egg industries. Getting to and accepting this decision was a lot to get my head around. I kept notes and wrote conclusions about how I was feeling at that point in time to help get it straight in my head. If my laptop was still alive I would be sharing them with you now but unfortunately it died and took all my documents with it. Basically I approached it like my work and continually edited those writings until I got to the point of accepting that I could either contribute to the industry I hated or eliminate my negative impact on animals. I came to the point where I accepted the truths I had avoided for years- animals die for us, animals feel pain and suffering, the industry responsible for their deaths is inhumane and often responsible for the torture of millions of animals just-to-make-us-food. AH-HAH! Got it- finally! Thats the guilt, negativity, responsibility that I was feeling. It was all completely unnecessary.
I cut out animal food products and began my vegan cooking adventures.
Not long after that I watched Earthlings and eliminated the non-food animal items in my life. I cried through their pain and hated humans for being so cruel. I began researching the health benefits and environmental gains of a vegan lifestyle and felt more and more sure that this was right for me.
My energy levels and tummy problems got so much better, I've been tweaking my food intake ever since to find my optimum balance and am now finding my happy place with the low fodmaps diet.
I can not explain how much better I feel for making this change, physically, mentally, emotionally I know I've made the right decision for me. I respect that others have differing opinions and ask that they respect my view, it's a challenge to explain and compromise- especially with an italian family but I'm never giving up!
Congrats if you're still reading after that text heavy post :P
Hope that helped give my blog some context- I'm working on an about me page for you all to get to know me more, should be up soon, I'll keep you posted.
All the best, Claire xxx
What dictates your food decisions? How did you come to veganism/vegetarianism?