The Vegan Dawn
Hello and welcome to The Vegan Dawn, a lifestyle blog for anyone interested in creating a better world.
After becoming vegan in January 2017, I wanted to help debunk the myth that adopting a vegan lifestyle is hard, unhealthy – or just plain weird. In fact it’s anything but!
Here I’ll share useful information, tips, recipes and resources to help everyone on the pathway to living more compassionately. And if you’re ‘sitting on the fence’ wondering if you could do it, afraid to try, or simply want to find out more, then you’ve come to the right place.
Born and raised a meat eater
Like many vegans, I was raised a meat eater. It was a big part of life, especially the Sunday roast when all of the family gathered together. I knew where meat came from – I just never really thought about how it got on my plate. As a child, the part between the happy cow sitting in a field chewing the cud, and the roast joint in the oven had no in-between.
As I got older, my Dad started a new ‘hobby’: hunting. In fact he liked it so much that he even did it for a living at one point, and he never hid the fact that he enjoyed it. By the age of fifteen I was taught how to use a shot gun, and skin and gut a rabbit. I was brought up to believe that eating meat was part of the circle of life and that we needed it to be healthy. Vegetarians were considered weird (I’d never heard of a vegan – back then I guess I’d have thought they were aliens), and I took great delight in teasing my vegetarian friend at my school by wafting hot dogs under her nose and talking about bacon.
The power of a leaflet
And then one day at school we were learning about different diets and I happened to get the information pack on vegetarianism. There was a leaflet inside, produced by Viva, the front cover of which asked: ‘So you love animals?’ My answer was: ‘yes of course!’ We had a dog and three ferrets at home and l loved them with all my heart. Intrigued, I turned the page, and that was the day my life changed forever: my eyes were opened to the horrific truth about factory farming and animal slaughter, and from that moment on I never ate meat again.
A vegan disaster
Several years later, just before I went to University, I learnt about the dairy and egg industries and became aware of over-fishing and the state of our seas and oceans. I became vegan. I was soon living in halls of residence, sharing a kitchen between fifteen people, with only two fridge freezers between us. Needless to say I struggled. There was no online community, no blogs, I had no advice and the only vegan I was aware of lived on the other side of the country. I persevered for three months but my health suffered and I lost a lot of weight, primarily due to the fact that I didn’t know what to eat, how to cook, and had limited means to store any food.
My friends, family, and doctor convinced me that being vegan was bad for my health – and I quickly arrived at the same conclusion. I’d failed. And even worse: I’d given vegans a bad name.
I became vegetarian, thinking it was the best I could do, but if only I knew then what I know now…
Exploring the world of veganism: take 2
So when in 2016 I was speaking with a friend who had recently turned vegan, I said: ‘Oh I could never be vegan – it just didn’t agree with me’, I would have put money on the fact that it was the last thing I’d do. I waited for her to start looking ill, and complain about the lack of food options – but instead she looked healthier and happier than ever. I was intrigued; what was this sorcery? Maybe some people were better able to be vegan than others? Maybe I was just ‘delicate’? But the more research I did, the more personal stories about vegans I read, the more animal abuse I allowed myself to witness, the more I knew I had to try again. This time I watched loads of documentaries and read up on nutrition. My immune system had never been great and, in spite of all the shining examples of healthy vegans online, I genuinely thought my health would suffer – but I knew I just had to try again, to do the right thing. I had to be the change I wanted to see in the world.
This time I started by cutting out certain things, one at a time, until there came a point during Veganuary 2017 where I made the switch. I didn’t plan it to be that particular day – something inside just clicked, and I knew I couldn’t turn back.
Strangely enough, whilst I haven’t found buying or cooking vegan food to be difficult, I have sometimes found it difficult to deal with the negativity towards vegans. But, in spite of any criticism, ridicule or opposition, I take comfort in the simple truth of these two sayings:
There is no humane way to kill any being that wants to live.
If you can lead a healthy, happy life without harming others, why wouldn’t you?
I became vegan for the animals, but there are so many other reasons to become vegan: adopting a plant based diet is better for our health, our environment and other humans too.
A healthy Surprise
Since becoming vegan in January 2017, I’ve felt healthier than ever before, to the point where other people have even noticed and commented. The transformation in how I feel, both physically and mentally, has been a wonderful and unexpected blessing.
I have also had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with many like-minded people who fill my heart with hope, every single day. The online vegan community have been absolutely fantastic and I created this blog because I want to give something back: I want to help raise awareness of veganism – and help others to transform their lives and the world around them.
Being vegan isn’t hard, but you do need to do a little research initially, until it becomes ‘habit’. Our entire world is orientated around animal products and so at first it may seem impossible, but we are incredibly lucky to live in a time where it has never been easier: new products, recipes, restaurants and restaurant options are popping up every day and many of us are able to access online support and resources at the touch of a button.
My best advice is to experiment. Try everything at least once, sometimes twice – it’s amazing how your taste buds change. But above all enjoy the journey and remember: you’re doing an amazing thing.