One year into my vegan journey, many of you have asked me about the changes. Have I lost weight? Do I feel healthier? What is different?
Disappointingly, the answers are no, no and nothing really. I would love to be able to tell you that I feel so much lighter (physically and from a conscience point of view), that my health has greatly improved and that my skin has a rosy glow that comes from the inside, but I would be lying if I did.
Each and every of the blogs I had visited before jumping head first on the vegan train had promised at least one major improvement to one’s life after omitting animal products: from sweating less to sweat becoming basically smell-free to perfect skin, from drastically upped energy levels to improved sleep, weight loss and having a lighter conscience.
However, I was able to detect exactly zero of those changes in myself: My skin hasn’t changed (I’m not “positively glowing” or anything) and my weight doesn’t seem to have gone down (if so, then rather because I’ve been working out 3 times a week). My level of energy has stayed the same despite my higher iron levels and I still don’t sleep as well as I would like to. Bummer!
After completing my first vegan month last year, I was ambivalent as to how to proceed. Did I want to live on a restricted* diet even though my body obviously didn’t care what it got fed as long as it did get fed? Would a clear conscience outweigh the additional effort it requires?
This was only my initial frustration though. Of course I did continue and why not? I had not planned on losing any weight, my skin had never given me issues and I had never been especially sweaty or smelly to begin with. Therefore, these things only bugged me for a short time – until I came to and realised how much less negative impact I suddenly had on the environment. How many animals had been allowed to live, how much less waste I’d produced and how those figures would multiply over the course of the rest of my life.
Becoming vegan was first and foremost a decision of the head, not the heart. However, my heart soon caught up and now head and heart agree that the decision was and is right. While I still cannot find it categorically wrong to eat animals (self-raised/ -caught/ -slaughtered), I cannot imagine myself ever eating meat, fish or shellfish again. From my subjective point of view, consuming milk (as in the mother’s milk of another species, beyond childhood) and products made out of it, is disgusting. On eggs I don’t have a final opinion but at the moment also cannot think of ever eating any again.
How far in are you? Do you feel any different than you used to? I’d love to hear your experiences!
*I’m using the word “restricted” as in “not eating everything one may put on my plate” – like I did before. It does not imply that I would like to do that. Because I could, if I would.