I want to take a minute to talk about my diet, the evolution of it, and why it’s so important to me I could cry. It's unfiltered.
Talking about Veganism is like talking about Religion
Nobody wants to hear what they believe is wrong or poke holes in their belief system. They feel threatened that they may have to change, that they may be wrong, so they typically defend their point of view. Or question yours. (I do the same.) So even though I am a proud plant-based eater, I'm not too outspoken about it until asked, but feel compelled to share. People usually ask me about it when I refuse their meat offerings or when they invite me over for dinner. So, let me tell you a little about my evolution into the #VGANG.
Where's the Beef?
Growing up in Alberta, “there’s nothing like Alberta Beef,” being the tagline, I come from a family of meat eaters. Most of us grew up this way, it was the norm. We didn’t have tons of extra money growing up, meat wasn’t always on the menu, but it was a treat to have steak and potatoes. This became my favorite meal, not sure if it was the nostalgia or the good feelings and family that seemed to be around when we got to have steak and potatoes. (Merely writing the word “steak” now, makes me feel something. How I've changed!) Though, growing up I never ate “game”, even though our neighbors loved to hunt, nor did I eat lamb because I loved animals. To my young mind, lamb = animal, deer = animal, I could do the math on those and I couldn’t understand why we'd want to eat animals. It’s no wonder to me that the most common meats don’t actually say cow or pig when they're put on your plate. This allows the disassociation to set in a little.
Beyond the Pharmaceuticals
At 18, I stopped eating red meat as I was having terrible stomach issues and instead of taking medicine to cure the problem, I figured it must be something I was eating. Doctors prescribed me different medicines every month, but I couldn't bring myself to take drugs for the rest of my life. I wanted to get to the source, not just cure the symptoms. I'd tried going gluten-free, and some other alternative diets at the time, but cutting out red meat made me feel better. Hmmmm…. what if I cut out all meat? Possible? HELL NOOOO!! was my immediate response. I mean there's no way I would EVER stop eating meat. Steak and potatoes are my favorite meal, how could I?!
Kicking my Salami Habit
By 20, I was basically vegetarian with the odd piece of salami. I don’t know why I was addicted to the stuff...salty, fatty, doesn’t resemble anything. I finally kicked the habit and was feeling the healthiest I’ve ever felt. Stronger, faster, sleeping better, with fewer stomach pains. Through my early twenties, I read anything and everything on diets, vegan diets specifically, researched the industry, watched the horrifying documentaries and came out basically vegan.
Sidebar: I’m not one to get attached to titles. Vegan, Vegetarian, Plant-Based, Boyfriend, Husband, God, Universe, etc. I feel, if you're making efforts towards the positive, have certain guidelines and rules to follow for yourself that are for the better, than KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON!
Basically vegan, to me, meant, making all efforts to being vegan and understanding that society isn’t, so sometimes, in a pinch or at a dinner party, it’s ok to eat the beautiful birthday cake they made for you and put milk into. "Milk’s ok right?!" Well, for this time, I suppose. Basically vegan meant I had the feels. I thought about the environment, the animals, oh those poor animals, and my health. All the facts were pointing to..
I don't need or want to kill some being when I can survive without it, be better without it, and save the world without it.
Pretty Damn Vegan
Can you see where I now fall on the spectrum?! I’m pretty damn vegan. And, I’m proud to tell you about it. I see you rolling your eyes. Every vegan is vocal, it’s because we’ve figured out something genius and we want to share it with you. I realize, you may not be interested and I may come across strong. This is my soul speaking. I want you to know that I've been there eating animals, and now I am here. It's like when someone finds their true love and they can't help but gush and share all the amazing things about them. They want you to give 'em a chance. So, if you want to try it out for a day, a week or forever, I would love to support your journey in any way I can.
It's Impossible! I LOVE MEAT!
I know, it's seemingly impossible. I thought so too. I said I would never be vegan. Mike said he would never be vegetarian and now he's vegan. It may take you 10 years to convert and that’s ok! Again, it’s not about not eating honey for me, I don’t care where you lie on the spectrum if you’re making any effort towards harming fewer animals, helping the environment and being more healthy, I’m on board.
Eat Your Veggies, Save the World
Being Vegan to me means waking up every day knowing I’m making a difference, no matter what else happens, I’ve improved the world for the better. I feel my strongest, healthiest, fastest, most compassionate. I love animals, I don’t want to eat them. I feel we need to remove the disconnect. I realize it will take time for you as it did for me. Consider what you’re eating and the effects.
Some Vegan References for those interested in learning more are below.
-Yours in the Hustle-
Vegan Resources & Information
Start with this Video (super approachable)
Documentaries: Earthlings, What the Health, Cowspiracy, Vegucated, to name a few.
Books: Becoming Vegan, A Diet for a New America, Eating Animals, The Skeptical Vegan, Food is the Solution: What to eat to save the world.
Instagram Accounts: @erinireland @easyanimalfree @minimalistbaker @ohsheglows @plantbasedblonde @vegan_md @peta so many more, just search vegan.
Celebrity Vegans: Ellen Degeneres, Alicia Silverstone, Tony Robbins, Miley Cyrus, Woody Harrelson, Russell Simmons, Stevie Wonder, Al Gore, Will I Am.
Vegan Athletes: Tom Brady, Mike Tyson, Georges Laroque, Cam Awesome, David Carter.