I was kindly asked by a follower of mine on Instagram to share the story of how I went vegan so here it is.
I know it is very typical to say that I never thought I would be vegan or that I would go vegan but for me, that is quite true. If you had the pleasure of meeting me before my vegan days you will definitely know that I used to really love eating meat. I clearly remember one day in secondary school at lunchtime turning to my best friend and saying I’ve had not the best of days so I really hope my mum makes chicken for dinner. That’s the misconception many people had of me after I went vegan, they would say well it was easy for you to go vegan as you never liked the taste of meat anyway! Well, they are wrong! I was born in Poland and lived there for 7 years and then even after me and my family moved to England we still predominantly would eat Polish cuisine as if I’m completely honest with you, our food is amazing! For those of you that have no idea what the Polish eat it’s mostly meat. A LOT OF IT! But thankfully my mum still made many dishes that were at least vegetarian-friendly so we didn’t go overboard on the meat which I am very thankful for. Still, I would consider myself being a meat lover and a big meat eater as everyone in my family always makes fun of me in the past, this little girl always demanding her meat. Hey, I am a daddy’s girl and always have been and everyone in society has been conditioned to think of meat as something that will make you healthy and strong like a bull. Funny how when people say that they don’t realise that bulls are herbivores but you know…
Fast-forward to 2014, a 15-year-old Natalia is now a very big fan of Ariana Grande and it’s actually thanks to her that I found what veganism actually is. So one day I was playing this game on my phone called Quiz Up where you can choose different topics and quiz yourself on them and of course I chose the Ariana Grande quiz, one of the questions was ‘What was Ariana Grande before she went vegan’ and there were 4 options to chose from and I am actually embarrassed to say that I have no idea what a vegan was at that moment and I had no idea what any of the options were so I just chose at random and I got it right, she was a pescetarian! Being very intrigued by these words I decided to start researching them and I found about the benefits of eating less meat and animal products, etc. I think my first ever documentary I watched on veganism is Forks over Knives, but it was not what actually made me go vegan as I was skeptical about going full on into veganism as I knew I didn’t like abrupt change so I knew I had to take small steps, which is definitely something I recommend for everyone to do if you are contemplating going vegan. Yes, go vegan for the animals and the environment but it will be more beneficial for them if you actually succeed at the first time and that’s why I recommend going in small steps. So finally, on the 2nd November 2014 I decided to go pescetarian and see how I would feel and let me tell you it was a really big step for someone who loved to eat poultry but I thought it was just time to cut it out so I did and even when the rest of my family were eating my favourite meat it didn’t upset me that I couldn’t eat it with them as I kept reminding myself that what they had on their plate was a corpse. Yes, I was still eating fish but it was only once a week and I didn’t feel as bad eating fish as I did with meat, only because I hadn’t made the same connection for whatever reason so that’s that.
Then on the 8th February 2015, so after 4 months of being pescetarian I came home from a walk with my parents and decided that I would try eating vegetarian for a week. By this point I had realised that I wasn’t as big of a fish and seafood lover as I thought as the less I ate it, when I was 15 I didn’t really know how to cook fish or seaweed and my mum only made it once a week or less, the less I ‘craved’ it. So that day I made a delicious salad for dinner and went to bed a vegetarian. But being vegetarian didn’t last long for me as a week later I decided to go fully vegan because of a certain situation I found myself in, so let me tell you about this situation. On the 15th February 2016, I was making a standard dinner of fried eggs, potatoes and a small salad on the side, when as I was cracking the eggshell and spilling its content on the pan I came across two egg yolks in one egg. I remember turning around to my mum and saying they were twins, and she looked at me and said ‘you’re going full vegan now, aren’t you?’ and I nodded. I have no idea why a certain type of emotion came over when I saw those two egg yolks and why it made me commit to going fully vegan but it almost felt like an awaking of some sorts. Like someone up above, maybe a guarding angel, told me it was the right thing to do as an animal lover, so I’m glad that happened. On the next day, 16th February 2015, I had decided to eat from that they forth only plant-based foods and it’s the best thing I have ever done. Not only in terms of my health, the animals, the environment, and how it impacts the entire population on our planet but in terms of how it makes me feel!
I have never felt better, especially when I predominantly eat whole foods as even though there are times when I eat junk food that’s vegan and gain some weight it still feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders in terms of not placing negative energy into my body.
A quote that always used to float in my head is this:
‘The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.’ ~B.K.S. Iyengar, Yoga: The Path To Holistic Health
I haven’t actually read the book but I came across it when I was researching veganism and doing my own research on how to cure my body and keep it healthy and it still resonates with me to this day. Even though eating meat may have been natural many centuries ago it isn’t like this now where animals are kept in confined spaces, are scared and angry and abused and then slaughtered for meat. All their short life they have spent in both a negative environment and constantly feeling negative emotions and where do you think those emotions go after they are killed? How I see it it’s still in their body/flesh that you end up consuming, so that’s why I feel a lot better not eating meat and why I will never go back to eating meat. I just cannot go back to being a hypocrite of saying I am an animal lover but eating a certain type of animal and then loving another.
So that is my story of how I went vegan, I hope you enjoyed as I definitely found it a little bit difficult to find a way to retell you my past but I hope I did an okay job. Tell me in the comments below of your story of how you went vegan as I would love to know!
Now onto the section with some tips on how you can go vegan if you haven’t already!
- Go slowly! – cut out animal products and meat slowly so I suggest starting with food that you aren’t a particular fan of. For instance, I was very glad to cut out red meat (the only way you could get me to eat it was with a lot of mustard), milk as my mum 2 years before I went vegan read a book about milk being a silent killer.
- Surround yourself with vegan people – the internet is an amazing place to find vegan inspiration, be it documentaries, activists, food bloggers, YouTubers! Whatever strikes your boat do it as the crew you keep is the crew you imitate and become more like.
- Look for alternatives that are vegan – substitute milk for almond milk or oat milk, substitute yogurt for coconut or soy yogurt, in this day and age you can even substitute meat for vegan alternatives so choices here are endless.
- Focus on whole foods – eat predominantly whole foods and a small portion of vegan junk food just so you don’t feel deprived but you will still feel the optimum health results of eating a plant-based diet.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself – for instance, if you accidentally eat something with dairy in it just move on and don’t make that same mistake again. We learn from mistakes and we are only human.
Hope you find these tips useful (I had no idea which ones to include as I feel like you can find all of this online yourself) and good luck on your vegan journey. ❤