I’m not going to lie, my vegan transition experience has be one of letting go of past traditions, values, and beliefs. You could even say I went through a grieving process for some of these things. Yes, things have changed. How I eat, what I choose to buy and decisions that I make are different from before.
A common mainstream misconception is that vegans miss out on things.
People often say to me, “what do you miss most?” And expect me to outline, with immense nostalgic detail, all the things that I secretly lust after. But truth be told, there isn’t anything. Sure if you told the pre-vegan me “you have to go without yoghurt” or “you’re not allowed to buy leather shoes anymore,” I would have felt like that was unfair or I was missing out.
In hindsight, the hardest thing for me to let go of was seafood. When I stopped consuming seafood, I definitely went through a period of grieving. That was a tricky one, and one of the last things I let go of. For some reason, I was hanging onto a belief system that oysters and prosecco were a really important aspect of my identity!
As humans, we have a love/hate relationship with change.
Sometimes we long for a change of scene, or a change is as good as a holiday. Other times we really love to hang onto those old nasty habits or ways of life that are not good for us. We can be so resistant to change. From my experience, the things I’ve been most resistant to let go of, have usually brought the most joy, happiness, health and love when I have finally let them go. (um… cigarette anyone!?)
In the early stages of my transition, I went through a period where I felt that this vegan lifestyle must be about missing out and doing it hard. Like it had to hurt to make a difference. For a while there I honestly thought the only way to do it was by living a self-sacrificing, purely altruistic and almost Mother Theresa level of minimalism!
I soon realised this approach was not sustainable and would not serve to support my decision to be a vegan. Then for a while there I kind of wished I could un-see or unlearn all the reasons why I became a vegan. I kind of wished I could just go back to the ignorance is bliss way of life. But it was too late, the reasons for the earth, the animals and my health and were too great to ignore.
So how was I going to live this way and still have what I considered to be a meaningful and enjoyable life? I needed a different approach.
This didn’t happen overnight, but slowly and surely my attitude changed to look at the glass half full instead of empty. Something very strange indeed happened during my transition into fully-fledged veganism. The yearning for these things seemed to fade and pale in contrast to the positive feelings of living a life aligned with my beliefs.
When I began to reflect on my choices, I could actually see how much my life had been greatly enriched. I felt a deeper connection to the animal kingdom that I’d never experienced before (as this happened I almost felt I was going a bit loopy! It’s a very personal and spiritual thing, that’s hard for me to verbalise). An incredible feel-good feeling that I have lowered my carbon footprint dramatically and my choices were actually helping not hurting the earth was empowering. Looking and feeling so healthy from eating a whole food plant-based diet. No more skin rash, no more IBS just to name a few. These were too good to ignore and just some of the new things I had gained.
My mum has always said, “let go of the mediocre to allow for excellence” This rings true in the process of the vegan transition. The slow-cooked lamb and those oysters I was holding onto no longer have the same meaning or importance they once did. And that’s ok. I now look at those things in a completely different light. My newfound lifestyle brings me so much good stuff on so many levels that I would never, in a million years, trade it back for the old stuff.
If you’re transitioning or just a little vegan-curious, remember it’s an ongoing journey, not a destination. Allow it to happen and embrace your new found awareness.
This article originally appeared on A Good Scout and has been republished with permission.
About the Author
Bianca is vegan for all the reasons – health, planet and animal rights. Her vegan lifestyle started when she decided she wanted to improve her health. Upon looking into veganism it was clear that there were even more benefits beyond just health that were very compelling. She investigated and learnt about what goes on with animal testing and animal agriculture and was heartbroken. Bianca also looked into the effects of animal agriculture on our planet, what she discovered left her astounded.
Bianca wanted to be part of something that encourages good practice and helps conscious consumers to make good choices easily. So along with living a vegan lifestyle she recently founded A Good Scout, a beautifully curated marketplace for gifts, homewares and lifestyle products that are green and kind. Her goal is to support people who care about how they spend (and vote with) their dollars, and also support the brands that are coming through with good intentions and great products. Bianca lives by the sea in Melbourne with her two young sons.
For more information, visit: agoodscout.com.au
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