7 Things I learned by Embracing Veganism..(and it has nothing to do with Animals)
I switched to a vegan diet a few months back. It was more of a “let me try it for a week and see how I felt” thing, and before I knew it, seven months had passed.
The reasons for going Vegan would be a whole different article, but here are a few things that I learned by changing my diet:
1. We underestimate our Perseverance
I had eaten meat for 27 years of my life. In fact, except for breakfast, I couldn’t eat a meal without meat. I was the kind of person who teased a vegetarian and made memes about how dumb it was to be a vegetarian.
When I was in my undergrad, I actually purchased a stupid t-shirt that said, “Leave chicken, eat a vegetarian instead.”
When I decided to become a Vegan, I never thought that I could keep it up for more than 10–15 days.
The first few weeks were tough. The most challenging part about the diet change was to ignore the smells when I passed through a KFC or a Chinese Restaurant. Every day I would look at my partner with puppy eyes and say, “Oh my god! I can’t believe that I will never eat Schezuan Chicken or Chicken Biriyani again”. As the months passed, the thoughts of adding meat to my diet started to fade away. My favorite dish now is my partner’s special “Bhindi masala” and his “Vegan Biriyani.”
This experience has given me immense self-confidence. If I could turn into a Vegan after consuming meat for 27 years, I can do anything in my life! All I have to do is commit to the decision and persevere.
Goes without saying, I am freaking proud of myself.
2. Human Ignorance
Changing my diet required a lot self-convincing. I wasn’t willing to give up on something this special unless I had all the proof in the world that it wasn’t right for me or for our Planet.
This required real research. It wasn’t enough to just watch a few Vegan diet documentaries. I had to really dig in, to avoid being a victim of a biased opinion. I kept reading, listening to podcasts, and watched around 10–20 videos.
This process made me realize how ridiculously ignorant all of us are. We often consider that any article with the word “Science” in it should never be questioned.
I came across many studies that tried to manipulate the outcome of their research purely based on limited data or illogical conclusions. Such studies were usually funded by companies that had their vested interests in them. You could find multiple studies that supported the consumption of sugar or soy or beef! It was all business.
Doing my research helped me realize that it was high time to question numbers and scientific papers. At this point in our Planet’s life, we cannot afford to be this ignorant. We have to start asking facts about the information that is being “fed” to us.
3. Small decisions have Global effects
We often blame the government and industries for almost all our problems.
Although it is clearly justified in some cases, have we ever considered that we are a massive part of the problem?
Our wallet makes future world decisions.
When we continue to shop at a grocery store that uses plastic bags instead of environmentally friendly options, we are supporting the cause and thus very much responsible for the Ocean disasters happening right now.
When we take flights for multiple vacations in a year (like I did last year), we are directly responsible for the ice caps melting.
When we consume massive portions of meat throughout the week, we are directly responsible for the Australian and Amazon fires.
When we buy hundreds of balloons for a birthday party or a wedding, we are directly responsible for the animals that die due to waste consumption.
We obviously do not want to believe that we are the cause of these problems since each of us puts ourselves on a higher ethical pedestal to wash away our own responsibilities. Forget everyone else, heck, I do it too!
Changing my diet helped me realize that I played a massive part in changing global catastrophes.
The fact that we don’t take accountability for our actions, both big and small, is the crucial issue of our times. Now more than ever, each one of us needs to admit our flaws and move towards improving ourselves and our habits, one step at a time.
4. We don’t know anything about our bodies
For the past 27 years, I never took the time to really study and understand my body.
I didn’t have any idea about the kind of food that made me feel bloated and tired. It wasn’t just the food, it took me years to realize that I used to walk around and sleep with my shoulders raised to my head, stomach pulled in, and fists closed, which were clear signs of stress and anxiety. My face was filled with acne (much more than what I presently have), I was almost always tired and had ridiculously painful periods!
In the craziness to achieve and succeed, I forgot about the most basic necessity of survival, taking care of our physical bodies.
As soon as I changed my diet, I diligently started working on taking time out to understand my body’s requirements. What food made me feel sick, what made me feel healthy, how I breathed every day, did I move my body enough, did I sleep enough, and so much more.
5. Even good causes have Cults
A few weeks after I turned Vegan, I felt very lonely and left out since I could no longer go out for typical team lunches or (rarely) have conversations about being Vegan.
That’s when my partner and I decided to find some local Vegan events that we could attend. We were super excited to learn more about other’s journeys in this path.
When we attended one such session, my partner and I were taken aback. The group of people started insulting every human being who wasn’t a Vegan. They mocked their lifestyle, health, and so much more.
As a recent meat quitter, it hurt my feelings. Yes, the cause was important for hundreds of reasons, but if we started mocking every person who was at least trying to give it a shot at quitting (or reducing), the cause would reach nowhere.
That was the first, and the last time we attended such an event. This made my partner, and I realize that people sometimes tended to form an unhealthy cult, as soon they found something that they commonly agreed on. At that point, it could no longer be a conversation. It was just a conflict of who was “right” and who was “wrong.”
We later found many online Vegan groups that we could connect with and discussed amazing recipes.
6. You can either choose Ego or an Ocean of knowledge- It’s up to You
My friend had started to follow a Vegan diet almost 2–3 years back. That’s when she began questioning me about my diet. Her questions triggered me. I let my Ego overpower my emotions and started making ridiculous arguments rather than listening to what she had to say. Today, I am in the same boat.
Whenever I talk about Veganism, I have had at least 2–3 people blatantly make fun of me or insult me. But I have also come across innumerable people who were ready to listen and discuss.
The people who decided to listen rather than fight, chose knowledge over their Ego. They weren’t like the “past me.”
This transition and the entire process has made me realize that I don’t even know 0.0000001% of the knowledge that exists in this world. But this has also helped me ask more questions and discuss things with people than fight about it.
7. Changing my diet changed my life
What started as just a diet change has slowly influenced every part of my life today. It was like a domino effect.
I started caring about what I ate, which led to care about how my body reacted to different types of food, which led to research about vitamin and micro-nutrient deficiencies, anxiety/stress, sleep patterns, exercise/meditation, and overall mental/physical health.
There is no way in telling if my diet would work for anyone else, but I can assure you that once you start taking care of your mind and body, you will feel and know the difference!
The intention of this article isn’t to brainwash you into Veganism (I will write a different essay for that one… just kidding………………. or Am I?).
I have personally nothing to gain over it (probably animals do). The intention was to share the life changes (and mainly the benefits) that can come from taking bold, drastic decisions that the world questions.
The past seven months have been challenging (to say the least), but the outcomes have been extremely fruitful.