Today, on Day 1 after this year’s Veganuary, marks my first vegan birthday. It’s been a year since I last (knowingly) consumed anything derived from animals and what started as an attempt to a) have something to write about on a previous version on this blog and b) find out whether I can actually survive a month without eggs and the odd burger has now become my normal way of life.
There have been temptations and challenges such as a wedding where I was simply told to bring my own food if I wanted to have anything else than salad (“Isn’t that what vegans eat anyway? Sides and a salad?”) or the Christmas meal at my in-laws which consisted of salad and salad only, because they insisted on eating in a traditional Austrian restaurant.
Suddenly, strangers became interested in my well-being and lectured me on my unhealthy (sic!) lifestyle choices. Random people would make the most outrageous comments and in a matter of weeks I was able to cry vegan bingo!
Fortunately, my immediate environment didn’t do anything close to that. Knowing me as someone who wouldn’t do anything that could harm her health or make otherwise unwise decisions, they have been more or less open, if not always happy about my new nutritional preferences.
Most importantly, Mr A has been tremendously supportive, trying all – and liking most – of the meals I prepared and trusting me to make this work for both of us. He’s had my back whenever someone asked a stupid question and keeps explaining to everyone who wants to listen and a few who do not.
My parents have been on the accepting side, if not always gladly so. Mum didn’t seem overly excited at first but soon made sure there was always hummus in their fridge. She has also baked vegan cakes for me – each better than the laast one.. I think Dad finds me even stranger now. However, he is aware that drinking cow milk is a somewhat strange thing for grown-up humans to do.
My brother and his partner accept, don’t ask, don’t want to know, don’t care.
My friends are my friends because we accept, respect and love each other no matter what. They’ve cooked me (mostly vegan) meals and some have even inquired regarding my adopted choices. Some of them have been very critical, some have asked many intelligent questions, some both. One of them totally freaked out but let me explain and seemed to accept my choice when her rant was over.
At work, the ladies I share an office with as well as most persons I work more or less closely together with know about my lifestyle. Not because I spread the word, but because we talk about food a lot, have shared recipes and because in our office, birthdays, babies and goodbyes are celebrated with little get-togethers. There, sooner or later the question why I’m not eating any cake will come up (when everyone knows how excited I get about pretty much any kind of food).
Overall, it has been a pretty easy and seamless transition with a few exceptions. More than before I’m afraid I may starve to death and will always carry a power bar or two in my bag in case I run out of food and are in danger of getting hangry. I’m still a frantic foodie who will think about what to have for dinner while eating lunch.
Eating mostly plant-derived foods has not drastically changed the way I cook or eat. It has, however, introduced me to new types of food (especially in the seeds- and grain-section) and new ways of combining vegetables I already used before. Also, my use of spices has definitely increased.
Long story short: It’s been good fun and I can recommend it to everyone who enjoys dealing with food.
How far in are you on your vegan journey?