You may be surprised to find out that my vegan journey started after my 50th birthday.
Family dinners had always included meat or fish on Fridays. My dad was a butcher and I had a Saturday job in the family business. Meat was the “main staple” and we didn’t have any vegetarians in the family until my teenage sister announced before a trip out for Sunday lunch she was a vegetarian. While growing up we drank cow’s milk every day because milk contains “calcium” and is needed for a balanced healthy diet. Who knew calcium was in so many other foods. I do now thanks to a wonderful chart.
The word “vegan” never came up until one of my nieces, a life-long vegetarian, made her decision and opened a vegan lifestyle shop. She became 100% vegan in every aspect of her life. We had some interesting discussions about keeping chickens in the back garden and eggs (whether to eat or not). Don’t get me started on shoes. After this my dad shared stories of his experiences with slaughter-house workers during his career.
Fast forward to Winter 2016…
On the drive home from a Crafting convention we passed a live-stock truck on the motorway and I can remember voicing to my crafting budy that I couldn’t eat those little animals any more. Giving up meat and dairy was an instant decision. Fish and eggs were ditched a few months later as I learned more about our food production process. I subscribed to vegan magazines to learn more about eating a balanced diet. I haven’t watched the documentaries though. I know what the animals go through and am horrified. I believe they suffer from anxiety, fear, and immense pain and
don’t need to have those images imprinted on my brain
Our first holiday post ‘the decision’ was a few months later when we rocked up to the main beef producing state in Canada. Bedraggled and jet lagged the only non meat item on the menu was fish. In Banff, down a little back street we found the most amazing vegan restaurant and there started my vegan ‘eating out’ journey. The food was amazing, delicious and full of rainbow colours. Not to be repeated, even in Calgary, but I was inspired.
That my life would never be the same again was an understatement. My seatbelt was buckled for the biggest change of my life. More so than getting married and having children. This time, I was ready. My children did not come with a guide book but plenty has been written about following a vegan lifestyle, and I have my niece to answer those difficult questions too! Although an overnight major life decision, or the time it took to drive from Birmingham to Home, I have introduced the lifestyle changes in phases.
Living vegan is unfamiliar for many people, which is why I created The Vegan Grocer – to record my journey, to get hold of those vegan essentials that the supermarkets didn’t stock then, to share delicious recipes I come across and offer encouragement. Following a vegan lifestyle doesn’t have to be scary or difficult. Have I made mistakes? – Yes. Who knew wine wasn’t necessarily vegan? It’s made from grapes! Not me when I quaffed a glass in my early days. Have I learned something new every day? Yes. Do I miss a good cheddar? YES! Whoever said plant based cheese tastes identical to dairy cheese was telling porkies. But following a vegan lifestyle is not about me. It’s about the animals that are not going to suffer so I can have a cheese and Branston Pickle sandwich. Are there many more tasty vegan foods to eat? Yes. Do I go hungry? Most definitely NOT!.
I would love you to share your thoughts and personal stories so please leave me a comment, or send me an email to email@example.com.