If you haven't read Part 1 or Part 2 you should because this part will make much more sense to read :)
|Gabe the Vegan Elvis!|
I know Bronwyn because my oldest brother Andrew is part of the Elvis club, and her husband Gabe is an Elvis tribute artist. They are honestly one of the nicest families, very warm and funny and definite advocates of animals (and vegans). We got chatting one day after a show and I told her where I was in my food journey - at this stage I've cut out 80% of dairy because of an allergy and I've stopped buying meat from the supermarket because my cat loves killing birds (you need to read part 2 for clearing that one up!). When I was talking with her I still had a slight resistance, I had a feeling that I'd be made to question my ethics and by doing so I'd have to give up things I'd love and that didn't really sit well with me. So I listened to her with open ears but not a complete open heart - there was still some part of me not willing to change. When someone puts forward the idea of being a vego or vegan, your mind does this little check list of all your favourite food and it seems like the worst idea ever! That's how I felt anyway.
I talked with her a lot especially about how I was trying to make vego meals but feeling really discouraged because I ended up hating 80% of them. She wrote me a list of helpful resources. She linked me to a tried and true recipe her family makes once a week, explained it was easy and that all the ingredients would be those I could find at the supermarket or I could substitute anything fancy for what I already had in the fridge. This sounded brilliant. She also said it was a matter of finding foods you liked - something that has completely stuck with me and been one of the most important things I've learned. She linked me to some blogs to follow and said not all the recipes are going to gel but once you find some favourites you'll be okay. I went home made the delicious soup and thought, maybe this is possible.
|Bronwyn's hand written note that I still have and treasure :)|
She also linked me to some discussions and docos. I think, had I not of “watched” Earthlings, I might not be writing this blog entry. I use the word watched loosely because my fingers half covered my eyes the entire time and I think Ben and I got through ten minutes before we couldn't handle it anymore. I've always loved animals, I've always enjoyed eating them but I really separated those two things. I used to say I was a hypocritical meat eater because in my heart I knew the connection but taste always won out and I guess now that balance has simply flipped.
The most surprising thing of this all is I don't feel bitter or that I'm missing out but just how delicious my new diet has become. I honestly wasn't a huge vegetable eater before, I was more a meat and carbs type girl but now I'm all about those vegies! I can't believe I'm saying that but I am.
And guess what, you'll lose weight (until you find out you can still eat many delicious and bad things and desserts!), your shopping bill goes down significantly (opening up that spare change to exciting expensive ingredients – exotic fruits anyone?) and you’ll feel really good about what you're eating :)You will also feel like the oddest person alive when you ask if they have a vegan meal option, you will have to answer questions about why you think it's okay for plants to suffer and die but not animals, or about your protein intake and you will have to ignore when people mention that being vegan makes people self-righteous. You will probably also be scrutinised for ALL your actions – “what!! you bought fries from Mcdonalds?”
The hardest thing is other people not the diet itself. On the flip side, all my friends and family have been super kind and supportive. I still can't believe my family let me cook Christmas dinner (sans meat and dairy), I can't believe for my birthday everyone came to a vegan cafe and I can't believe, Ben the biggest meat eater of all, a few months into my diet also gave up meat when he saw how easy it was :) He did also watch Earthlings.
I'd love for everyone to be challenged to watch that doco but I realise not everyone is at that stage of the journey, I sure wasn't a few years ago. And hey some people are simply 100% okay with killing animals and eating them and that's 100% okay. I have my own idea about eventually having a farm and having a pig and killing the pig myself. Could I kill a pig? I have no idea but if I could we'd be able to have meat for 6 months and if not I'd simply have a pet pig :) I still think meat is delicious, I'm just not okay to have an animal die in a horrible way to keep myself happy when there is so much food out there to keep my happy already! That's really the crux of how I feel.
So we're at the end and maybe you’re eating some cheesy chicken pasta for dinner – that is 100% okay. Maybe next week you'll have one meat free day – super yay! Who knows but all I can say is that it's way easier then you'd ever imagine and it really isn't that odd, I swear! (this coming from someone who less than a year ago thought it was pretty damn weird and horribly restrictive and not something I’d ever find myself doing).
I've rambled a lot but I thought it would be nice for a final installment to be a practical one, with some resources, suggestions and my favourite dishes of the moment for anyone interested to try :) Thanks for reading too, it's been a wordly journey and it's nice to know at least someone got to the end of it!