After a month of being vegan, at a time when it seems like so many things are happening in that world, I definitely had too many thoughts to do just one post encompassing everything. Aside from my own academic/scientific vegan readings, Burger King (in the US) just announced that they’re testing a meatless Whopper and popular vegan influencer, Rawvana, recently got caught eating fish. Here are the rest of things I’ve been thinking since March 1.
Did I lose weight? Is my skin glowing? Do I have boundless reserves of energy?
I didn’t go into this trying to lose weight or for any real health benefits so I didn’t do any physical self-assessment. Prior to this, I’d last weighed in early February and I was about 125lbs, I then had a month of dancing preparing for a show in early March. I haven’t exercised very much for March, and then I weighed March 30 and I was about 121lbs. Would I attribute it to being vegan? I don’t think so.
When it comes to skin care, fortunately, I have have pretty low maintenance skin and thus a pretty low maintenance routine. Wash it, witch hazel it, moisturise it and then an occasional mask. That seems to work and I haven’t noticed any difference since changing my diet. As for energy levels, I’d say I feel more or less the same as I did before going into this. Things like this I think will differ from person to person though, so I wouldn’t use someone else’s experience and assume that I’ll have the same outcome.
What will I miss?
I think I’ll miss trying new things. If I visit somewhere new and there’s a dish that’s made with animal products, I think I would miss not being able to try that because I think food is such a big part of experiencing the culture of a place. I think I’ll also miss the texture of meat, I love meat (once it’s cooked) and I don’t know if I’ll be able to find anything vegan that will rival the texture of a really good piece of mutton or steak for example.
Also, apparently, Vitamin B12. It comes from animals and it’s one of those things that your body just needs in order to do things like make red blood cells, nerves and DNA among other thing. To be honest, I probably wasn’t getting very much B12 before because when I looked at some top sources of B12 none were foods I ate frequently. And while I was planning to just do one month of vegan I didn’t really think too much into this, but now that it looks like this could be an overall lifestyle overhaul I’ve started on B12 supplements to ensure I get what I need.
The “why I’m not vegan anymore” trend
People get so tied up in veganism becoming an integral part of their identity that it becomes hard to separate if you have to go back to eating animal products for health reasons or because you just don’t want to be vegan anymore. It’s not that serious…it never is. However, all of the ex-vegan for health reasons I’ve heard were from those on an extreme vegan diets (like doing a 25-day water fast). Vegan or non-vegan, if you don’t give your body what it needs, it’s not going to work.
That said, everyone is different. If you’ve spent years being vegan it’s unlikely that you’re going to go back to a full-on carnivorous diet. If you have meat a couple times a week, it’s still better for the environment than if you’re having it daily with every meal. Do what’s best for you.
Being a practical vegan
What does vegan mean for me? It means avoiding animal products whenever I can, but if there just isn’t a vegan option available then I’ll go for vegetarian and remove whatever non-vegan add-ons I can from it. It means not throwing out my gummy vitamins because there’s gelatin in them, but also trying to find a vegan alternative for when those are done. It means being more conscious about my purchases in Jamaica, but not ordering things from the US every two seconds just because it’s not available here. It means keeping the leather products I own that may last the rest of my life, but not purchasing new ones.
I can be something of a commitment-phobe, so even the decision to call myself a vegan is one I’m not quite making yet. Instead I’ve found myself saying “I’m being vegan”, kind of an indefinite present participle of veganism. I don’t really believe in absolutes (see what I did there?) so I’m not going to say I’m committing to this for the rest of my life, but for now this will be my path.
Being practical…I went to TGI Fridays with a friend and opted for the Sedona Black Bean Burger, no cheese or mayo. While I won’t swear that the burger is vegan (it may or may not be), I did the best I could with what was available to me.