I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time, but I wasn’t sure if there was a place on this blog. When I started blogging in 2012, I really wanted to focus on travelling and photography. I just graduated from college and was about to go on a gap year that – oh so cliché – changed my life completely. The past weeks/months, many people have asked me questions about this change so I’d like to share this with you!
I went from not caring for anything in life but travel, to caring for the planet, and not unimportant: myself. Just travelling left me incomplete. I soon realised I still loved illustrating, something that I had put on the side after graduating from college. A part of me that gave me self confidence and something to be proud of. Next to illustrations, I started to develop interests in a ‘happy and healthy me’ (another cliché, and I’m not sorry). I wanted to get into some exercising again and was looking for a different eating pattern since I gained so much weight living abroad. I did research, watched dozens of YouTube videos and came to the realisation that I wanted to try a plant based / vegan lifestyle.
WHUT?! YES! A vegan life. If you would have said this to me 3 years ago, I would probably have laughed in your face. Apart from not being able to have ‘vol-au-vent’, or sushi on friday nights, not eating cheese seemed impossible. Not having milk in my coffee and not having eggs for breakkie would also mean the end of my happy mornings. But my research had shown me lots of vegan variaties for all my favourite foods and this was probably the one reason why I got less scared of it.
I started with not eating meat and diary at home, but allowing myself to have non-vegan meals when eating with friends or in restaurants. I was afraid to lose my social life over this but I soon realised many people totally understand this decision. Later, I started ‘veganising’ meals in restaurants which does make it all less complicated. Asking for a veggie burger without cheese or soy milk with my coffee was easier than I thought.
But what about B12 and iron intake? Yes, you are right. If you don’t take care of that you might get in trouble. I had a little struggle with that in the beginning, but after some research I learned that it is easy to keep up with that. (By the way, there’s many many meat eating people that have those deficiencies too!! So no matter what eating pattern you have, you should keep an eye on that!). And what about protein? Protein is the easiest of all. They come with your daily veggies! Everyone just likes to think you can only get that with your meat… Next to that I changed my calorie restrictive meals into ‘eating till I’m full’ + high carb (but low in fats, like oils) meals. Swapping cheese for potatoes and eggs for fruit was the best decision of my life: I started to feel SO alive. Happier and more energy than ever. I even had energy left over after work to go work out (ehm yeah, voluntarily exercising, that was a new one!).
These work outs lead to me feeling good in my body for the first time in ages. I lost a fair bit of weight, my skin got way clearer (except for an occasional pimple) and haven’t been wearing any make up for months!! And these are only a couple of things that have been changing…
What else? Eating vegan, is changing the planet in a positive way. We all know it is good for the animals. Not eating meat helps but please think of the dairy cows, who’s babies get taken away so we can take their milk :-( Anyways, there is so much more to the story. You might try to keep your water usage at home under control but no one ever told us how much water goes to waste in the produce of meat and dairy. And then I’m not even talking about the CO2 emissions… If you want to see this in numbers this is your website!
All this just opened my eyes! And lots of others’ eyes have been opening as well. The amount of vegan restaurants popping up and people making this decision is AMAZING! I’m so happy this is all happening. Even now, while travelling through Asia, this has been easier I could ever have dreamed. With a couple of apps on my phone or even just google translate we managed to find the best foods all over Thailand, Malaysia and at the moment Indonesia.
If you read this all the way to this point, you might be interested in some links that inspired me…
+ If you’d like to see more of this, or want some tips for vegan travels or even just a vegan life, let me know!!