New vegan random thoughts, and thanks

Going vegan and new vegans in need of support or information.

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New vegan random thoughts, and thanks

Postby DanielS » Sun Nov 29, 2009 12:57 pm

Hi all,

I don't post here very often, but I do lurk a fair bit :P

I've noticed that the 'new vegan' section is fairly empty, so I thought I'd post some of my experiences as a relatively new vegan!

I made the decision to go vegan about 9 months ago (roughly, I can't really remember when exactly it was) and it was the best decision I've ever made. Anyway, I think I owe this forum a big thankyou, because reading it has helped me with a lot of the practical side of things, particularly being heavily into cycling.

In fact, I reckon I remember reading a post on here at some point (can't remember who by) that said something along the lines of "to all you almost-vegans, vegetarians, etc just do it, go vegan, for the animals". Funnily enough, I think reading that post played a big part in me making the commitment to go vegan, having been an 'almost-vegan' vegetarian for quite a while beforehand.

Some of my experiences/thoughts as a new vegan:

* The actual diet side of things has been easy! I dunno... I just eat normal food: fruits, vegetables, bread, pasta, rice, etc. Occasionally I'll have fake meat stuff or soy yoghurt... that sort of thing. It doesn't seem too complicated. I drink a soy milk that has b12, so I think I'm taken care of in that respect.

* Family/friends have, in general, been great. My family are fairly receptive to this sort of thing and my mum's been an on-and-off vegetarian for a while. I think I can make her come round.... she's reading my copy of "becoming vegan" atm :wink: My dad might be a bit tougher though.

* The one thing I don't think I did well at first, was giving people a clear and consistent reason for veganism. I think because it wasn't really clear in my brain at the time, I just knew it was the right thing to do. Now, when asked, I basically say something along the lines of "we don't need any of these animal products, so what moral justification do we have for producing them?".

I *still* wish that I better at pushing the vegan 'message'. There's a part of me that is very hesitant because I'm a pretty non-confrontational person, and I really wish I was better at speaking my mind when I want to. I don't know what the best way to do this is without losing friends or just alienating people.

Funny/weird/good moments:

* Being asked if I was vegan "just to be cool"!? I didn't know it was cool, but hey I'll take that!

* Actually having someone seriously tell me the whole "what about plants? aren't they a living creature too?" argument. I thought they were joking... but they were serious!

* Going to a fine dining restaurant for a work function. Checked website, nothing vegan on their menu. Hmmm. I rang in advance, told them I was vegan and asked if they could make me anything. No problem... the chef ended up making me an entree with 3 little separate "tasting" dishes, a main course, and a vegan sorbet thing for dessert - none of which were on the menu! It actually tasted really good and they seemed very happy to accommodate me. So that was a good experience.

Anyway, in conclusion, thanks veganfitness.net and goodnight!

PS: I live in the same city as ha (Harley) and have chatted to him on a few occasions at bike races. Top guy!
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Postby Alistar » Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:54 am

Hi Daniel. Good to hear your experiences etc! :) I'm also pretty non confrontational myself. I can't really think of too many reasons not to be vegan, so its quite hard to know where to start when people ask why I'm vegan! :lol:
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Postby Rochellita » Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:11 pm

I like these sorts of stories :-) Good news that you have gone and stayed vegan and lucky you that your mum is receptive to it!

I'm sure in time you'll find a way of 'pushing' veganism in some way, it took me a good few years of being vegan and feeling confident about it before I started doing any kind of activism. For me initially it was 'fluffy' and practical activism like cooking demos.

Thanks for sharing!
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Postby thestoatyone » Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:18 pm

Meant to reply to this sooner, but here goes.

Cheers for sharing dude; this has really hit a nerve with me, as it seems to mirror pretty accurately my experience of the change in lifestyle, with the possible exception of how well you were accommodated in the restaurant - I have to put up with rather more typically British customer service :?

As for not getting involved in activism, well I can identify with that. I ain't too confrontational either, but sometimes just being the change you want to see is a more powerful way of changing the world.

Cheers again for sharing, pop by more often! :D
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Postby DanielS » Tue Dec 01, 2009 2:48 am

Thanks for feedback y'all :D I will try and post around here more often...

thestoatyone wrote:Cheers for sharing dude; this has really hit a nerve with me, as it seems to mirror pretty accurately my experience of the change in lifestyle, with the possible exception of how well you were accommodated in the restaurant - I have to put up with rather more typically British customer service :?


Ah that sucks. I think this experience just stood out in my mind because it was the sort of thing that really bugged at my mind when I first went vegan - in a work/business/social sort of situation there is enough pressure without having to worry as well about justifying your veganism to others (esp when you are new to it). So the fact that it went off without a hitch and everyone was cool about it... that was kind of a big relief for me at the time.

Since then I've had a few other similar experiences and it doesn't bug me as much. In fact, I was at a conference a few weeks ago and had a decent chat to the guy sitting next to me at dinner about veganism (who just so happened to be someone who is in charge of a lot of funding in my area...).
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Postby thestoatyone » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:30 am

I know what you mean, feeling that I'm making life difficult for people can make eating out awkward for me. Guess I just nee to HTFU and not be so wet! :D

Networking skills sound solid! 8)
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Postby Herbsman » Fri Dec 25, 2009 6:04 pm

being vegan is easy, staying vegan is the hard part for most people.

so find ways of making it easy for yourself and you shouldnt have a problem staying vegan for life.

this is more difficult than it sounds.
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Postby cafenervosa » Sun Dec 27, 2009 11:11 am

Being asked if I was vegan "just to be cool"!? I didn't know it was cool, but hey I'll take that!

LOL, I bought a sweatshirt that says: Vegan Means I'm Cooler than You.

I'm not necessarily a confrontational person, but I will speak up and speak my mind if anyone tries to give me a hard time about being vegan.
Runs with scissors...
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Postby xrodolfox » Sun Dec 27, 2009 1:26 pm

Thanks for posting, OP! Stories like this are really heartening to hear.

About the activism: once you get going with being vegan for years, you'll find your niche. And that can always change. Activism is awesome, but the only way you figure out what works is to do it often. Being confrontational isn't everyone's style, and it isn't always what is called for. If you keep showing up to activist events and meetings, and planning and activities, then you'll find what works for you, and is best for all animals.
"The worker has the right to leave his boss, but can she do it? And if she does quit him, is it in order to lead a free life; where she will have no master but herself? No, she leaves to sell herself to another employer. She's driven by the same hunger. Thus the worker's liberty is only a theoretical freedom, lacking any means of realization; an utter falsehood."
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Postby Gastroplodder » Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:37 am

Interesting post Daniel, sounds like you didn't find making the change particularly difficult which I think is really, really important to get over to people.

I'm also a relatively new vegan having made the change November 2008 after many years of being a lacto-ovo vegetarian. Please excuse me piggybacking your thread for a ramble.

I don't find the social side is much trouble (but that's maybe because I'm not sociable in the first place). My vegetarian partner has met me halfway so we always cook vegan now and in a way my decision has made one and a half vegans. I think we eat better and enjoy our food more if anything. Every now and then we enjoy a few days holiday in one of the several UK veggie/vegan B&Bs which will also do evening meals and I think it makes for a much better holiday being on the same wavelength as my hosts.

I still make a mistake once in a while and find I've brought something that isn't vegan, I don't eat it but I don't beat myself up over it either. I haven't thrown away all my woollens or leather boots etc but I am gradually replacing them with vegan friendly (very pleased with my new Ranger boots from Ethical Wares).

The first few months I suffered from various unpleasant IBS type stomach problems. I suspect the removal of animal fat from the diet meant food was going through me much quicker and I had to adapt. I imagine this could be difficult for someone surrounded by relatives looking for 'symptoms' in a vegan so if any new vegans are having similar problems I recommend you just ensure your diet is adequate and persevere. My stomach is no longer a problem and hasn't been for some months, I feel as healthy as before if not healthier. I do take a daily vitamin supplement though I'm not too sure I really need it.

I also went through periods of feeling weak but eventually realised that these coincided with a drop in weight and that I simply wasn't eating enough carbs to keep myself running and cycling. (Yes this should have been obvious but I never used to weigh myself).

I don't find the borders defining oct-lacto veggies and vegans as clear as some people. Previously as a veggie I avoided fish, flesh and fowl and only brought vegetarian cheese etc. Never though did I question whether the cheese used in a pub dish that was marked as vegetarian was really free from animal rennet, I let the V on the menu absolve me of that responsibility.

As a vegan I am more aware of the tendency for things to slip under the radar and I do try and read the ingredients etc. We grow some of our own vegetables though and I caught myself killing loads of aphids earlier this year in a (failed) attempt to rescue my broad beans. This reminded me that I am still complicit in the deaths of lots of creatures which will have been killed in the process of producing the crops I buy. So called pests are killed by organic farmers as well as traditional ones. Even while I avoid honey I buy produce that is the result of trucking hives of bees round the country causing them so much stress as to be decimating their population.

So as I say things are not clear cut to me, veganism being a place along an ethical scale rather than a separate lifestyle, and I intend to avoid getting smug!

Nik
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Postby DanielS » Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:39 am

Cool, more replies :)

Herbsman - that is sufficiently obscure but I think I know what you are saying.

xrodolfox - good advice, thanks.

Gastroplodder - go ahead and piggyback, good to read your story too! (hmmm... is piggybacking vegan? :lol: )
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