Being a new vegan, I know the struggle is real when you finally say to yourself “I am going vegan” The first place my mind went was “I cannot eat cheese, drink milk, eat diary and obviously have to cut out all meat and poultry products from my diet".
I looked in my pantry and fridge to quickly discover that 95% of my foods contained animals and animal by-products. I almost felt defeated and could have easily thrown my new lifestyle choice in the “too hard basket”
But I was too far in after watching the “Earthlings documentary” on YouTube and “What the health documentary” on Netflix. The idea of putting pain and suffering into my body had already taken prime position in my head and in my heart.
What did I do? How was I going to maintain a vegan lifestyle in a non-vegan world?
I mean after all – CHEESE!!! gooey, warm, tasty, luscious, sinfully good cheese. But now with my new-found foresight when I looked at dairy cheese on the shelf I saw sadness, misery and unnecessary cruelty. I like so many other vegans (I cannot speak for all us) see cheese and dairy products as more cruel and inhumane than a slice of meat or steak. (Read my article on “what the dairy industry doesn’t want you to know about the life of a dairy cow for further information)
Then I remembered what I saw and witnessed in these documentaries and decided that no matter how good cheese is, it is not worth the pain and suffering of another animal just for my taste buds.
At this time, I did not know that there was vegan cheese on shelves in local supermarkets So imagine my surprise when I discovered the dairy free, cruelty-free vegan cheeses on the market!!
I pretty much tried all the vegan cheeses and to be honest, not all of them taste that good (to me) however I have at least 5-6 dairy-free cheeses that are my favourites.
So there I was staring at my pantry and fridge and that’s when I decided if I’m going to do this than I’m going to do it 100%.
The next hour was spent stifling through the contents of my fridge and pantry, reading the ingredient labels. I had one pile to keep and the other pile I gave away to my next-door neighbour.
There is no wrong or right way to become vegan, it's simply what is right and works for you, but for myself, I just couldn’t bare the thought of putting any of these products in my body.
After my fridge and pantry overhaul, I was left with was some rice, couple of cans of corn, tomatoes, beans, soy sauce and some frozen vegetables.
So that night I made rice with stir-fried vegetables and soy sauce for dinner.
After dinner, I felt overwhelmed and the last thing I wanted was to be defeated with the restrictions of a vegan diet. Then I did the best most effective thing I’ve ever done and I typed into YouTube “Vegan Recipes”
At that moment I felt instant relief, as my page loaded hundreds if not thousands of vegan recipes onto my screen and I became so excited about the new foods that I will be introducing into my diet that the thought of what I was going to be missing out on never once slipped back into my mind.
There is a misconception with the non-vegans of this world that vegan food is more expensive and takes a lot longer to prepare and cook. Boy wasn’t I surprised? Here I was watching video after video on vegan recipes that required 5-10 minutes to prepare, lazy options for vegans, cheap options for vegans, raw vegan foods and vegan sweets and treats.
The next day I headed off to the grocery store to refill my pantry and fridge. I had a list of items to purchase so I could start my new vegan journey…. How exciting right?
The biggest struggle I found in that grocery visit, now with my eyes being wide open was bearing witness to the overwhelming amount of meat, poultry, seafood, milk, dairy and eggs that filled the store from corner to corner. Not to mention all the products within the isles that I now refuse to put into my body.
I imagine many vegans feel this way at the start but thanks to YouTube I never felt alone on my journey. And if I can do it, so can you!!
If you are interested in learning more about how to become a vegan or you are genuinely curious as to what it means to be vegan and how we can save the animals. Veganism is a lifestyle not a diet.
I have listed some videos that I personally recommend for all to see.
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