7.15am Coffee with my special milk mix and you know, it’s becoming more bearable the more I drink it. Going to try coconut milk this weekend but I’m scared I’ll fall in love with it, because in SA it costs R54 a litre. That’s five times the price of cow’s milk. FIVE. I love cows but I can’t pay that, so I’ll likely have to make do with a sub-par substitute. But we humans are adaptable and we can get used to anything, right? Especially for the right reasons.
8.00am Green chocolate smoothie with cacao. We have one each week as treat – they taste like chocolate milkshakes.
9.30am Toast with…MARMITE! Just for a change. Although to be honest, it just makes me wish it was Bovril. Hummus instead of butter, which works because good old Marmite eclipses the taste of literally anything, it doesn’t f**k around.
11.30am Protein ball snack
1.00pm More toast with Marmite…see now I’m going to develop a Marmite dependency. Everybody needs their crutch.
3.30pm Naartjie snack
6.30pm Thai veg stir fry with noodles and lots of chilli
And we’re done! My week as a vegan is over.
So, where to from here? I’ve learned a few things over the course of this week which will help me going forward.
Going vegan isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Of course that was only 1 week, but it’s still encouraging to know that I can do it with minimal discomfort.
A change like this will stick if you do it for the right reasons, but even then it’s normal to waiver in your decision. My fire is lit – I want to do this because it really, really matters to me. But the high emotions and righteous anger of freshly opened eyes and the excitement of switching to a new way of eating will wear off. We don’t naturally stay in a heightened state of emotion all the time – can you imagine how unstable we’d be! So to make this work, I need to always keep in mind why I’m doing it – I need to fuel my way forward with choice rather than with emotion. Of course it doesn’t take much for me – I just have to visit a petting farm with Lexi and see the pigs and little lambs and I’ll be tucking into those lettuce leaves like there’s no tomorrow. But it’s worth noting that nothing worthwhile comes easy, and that’s a life lesson as well as vegan one.
Labels can be dangerous. Saying you’re vegan and then one day eating a slice of your husband’s pizza will rain fire and brimstone down upon you from the vegan police. I’ve resisted the urge to spend much time on vegan social media groups (apart from selected instagrammers who I follow for recipes), because I can’t cope with the judgement and shaming that I see there. I live in a pretty happy little bubble. I never air my views on social media, I never respond to online “debates” even when the topic really gets under my skin. It’s not because I don’t have strong feelings or get angry about the injustices I see in the world. It’s because what I see online is that everybody wants to talk but nobody wants to listen, so I save my talking for when I’m face to face with someone who genuinely wants to have a conversation. All this makes me afraid to say I want to go vegan, because what if I’m still eating fish in 3 months’ time? It’s unfortunate that I feel like this, because there is a whole community out there of very supportive people who applaud all steps that you take to make more ethical choices. But there’s a small group of zealots who have (very loudly) ruined it for others and given vegans in general a stigma that non-vegans treat like a bad smell.
For now, I’m going to work towards a fully vegan diet. I’m going to keep restricting my dairy and slowly find substitutes for the many things in my cupboard that I know contain animal products. I will still eat fish, because I’m not ready to give up sushi just yet. And from there, we’ll see. I know what I want to do, but I’m also not going to put any deadlines on it because it’s no one’s business but mine how I do it.
For me, the best thing about this week was the level of interest I had from strangers and friends alike on my posts. It proves that even though not everyone is thinking of going vegan, people are interested in making more ethical choices and finding a better way. We want to do the right thing, more so today than in any previous era I would say. In a world turned upside down, it gives me a warm ray of hope that deep down we’re moving in the right direction.
My week as a vegan from the beginning: