I am now at about three years. Three years vegan. Something that fills me with utmost pride, warmth and, well, kind of wonderment.
I can’t believe I’ve achieved it, but mostly: I can’t believe how easy it’s been.
Sometimes I find it hard to remember a time before I was a “seasoned” vegan, exactly the way I am now… barely a second thought for what to eat for breakfast! But of course I wasn’t always this content and now I notice the major differences between now and when I was adjusting.
I have had my phases. When I first went vegan I was full-scary militant… (my poor friends and family). I was traumatized, loud and wanted the entire world to go vegan with me! Although that “Hannah” is still in there somewhat, she is now much more relaxed and content. It’s a process like anything else, I suppose.
So, how do I know that I have been vegan for “too long”? (Although of course there’s no such thing!)
1) My desserts sound like something from a health retreat.
Yep, if you come for desert at mine, it is likely going to have a higher vegetable content than sugar content. Sorry peeps! Dark Chocolate Avocado Brownies anyone? Yeah, they’re made from AVOCADOS! You’d never know! Sugar Free Banana Bread, Friend? Bananas are sweet enough, right?! Who needs sugar?!
*Collective groan* It’s a wonder I have any friends left, really.
2) I’ve forgotten the answer to “So, why did you go vegan?”
I used to LOVE this question. I ached for it. I wanted anyone to ask me about veganism so I could preach and change lives and bestow wisdom upon all. Oh, how things have changed. I am not speaking for anyone else, but personally, the longer I’m vegan the less I want to talk about it. Of course, I dream that loved ones will convert or people will be interested, but really – it’s a personal life choice and I’m not interested in trying to “pitch” it anymore. When people ask “why are you vegan”, I’m just left confused. It’s been so long now, my list of knee-jerk statistics seem a long time ago.
Now my answer is just… “er… cause. Duh. Obviously”
3) I can’t walk down the refrigerator aisle at Supermarkets
Speaks for itself. I can’t remember the last time I walked down the meat or dairy sections in a supermarket; they creep me out. Occasionally I’ll buy some vegan butter, but that’s usually from a lovely, zen-like health food store. No dead animals in sight.
4) I have a sixth sense for vegan-friendly places.
I can be walking with friends down a random street and suddenly stop. Walk back. See that place, there? I bet they have vegan cake. And I tell ya what… I’m rarely wrong! Weird, huh? Vegan superpowers must be real.
5) I want to punch people that apologize for ordering meat.
Look, we wouldn’t be hanging out if I only wanted to be friends with vegans. So, please don’t look up to me after ordering chicken and say “oh, sorry…Do you mind?”
I. Don’t. Care.
Besides, why are you saying sorry to me? I’m not the one you’re chewing on….
6) I’ve dabbled in raw foods
How do you know you’ve been vegan too long? Yep, you’ve probably tried a raw food diet or a juice fast or a cleanse or all of the above. Not a bad thing! Just hilarious.
7) I no longer have any delusions my dream man will be vegan
I abandoned this fantasy WAY back. I once dreamed my future involved a Jared Leto/Tobey Maguire-esc vegan hunk who would break into factory farms with me, share all my morals, make lentil curries by night and green smoothies by day.
I no longer have this dream.
I can count on one hand how many vegan men I’ve met in the last three years and I usually do not want to date them. Just because we are both vegan, does not mean we are destined to be together ….. Perhaps I will fall in love with a meat-eater, perhaps a vegetarian, perhaps I will convert someone…..who knows?
8) Someone else being vegan isn’t the biggest deal in the entire world.
When I first went vegan, if I met ANYONE who was too, I got overly-excited and went a bit nuts. “Oh my God! I’M a vegan too! Whoa! Hey, so let’s move in together and be besties!”
Creepy, creepy, creepy, Hannah.
9) Someone saying they USED to vegan isn’t the biggest deal in the entire world.
Yes. I confess this used to make me really upset. Probably because I felt nervous and threatened, which just isn’t the case anymore. I’m at peace with my choice outside of anyone else’s experience.
10) I can’t remember the last time I watched an animal cruelty video
This will not go for everyone, by any means, but I used to watch a lot of traumatizing videos from farms to educate myself. I read lots of books, listened to all the lectures…. everything. Now, I can’t remember the last time I sat down and watched any harrowing documentaries. Of course, I like to stay educated, but I no longer have anything to prove to myself or others. I am a vegan and I don’t need to remind myself why anymore
11) The concept of leather (and fur!) baffles me.
When I walk in shops now and I see leather (fur is obvious) I do feel genuinely baffled. How can people not see this for what it is? Oh gawd… these are animals SKINS. I don’t think I was always so confused by it… I shunned it because I knew about the industries and wanted to be 100% “vegan”, but I don’t know if leather really bothered me as much as it does now. Wandering department stores is genuinely terrifying when you are bombarded with the AMOUNT of leather. It’s scary.
12) I won’t pretend food is delicious if it isn’t
I used to be so grateful when a restaurant had any kind of vegan food that I would gobble it down, smile and rave regardless of how it tasted. I would try and demonstrate for friends how EASY being vegan is. See, you can still eat out! Mmmm delicious aubergine! But then, if a friend reached over to taste I’d be like: “nooooo!” and hurl myself at them Hollywood Action Style because I knew it wasn’t actually that good.
Screw that! Vegan food can be absolutely delicious and I’m not going to be “grateful” to a place for chucking some apple into a bowl and calling it dessert. That ain’t dessert.
I’m always happy if places cater for vegans, obviously… but you can tell who has put some “love” in and who has just slapped some vegetables on a plate.
We aren’t such a tiny, weird minority anymore… please cater for us! We’re just trying to help
With each day I think about my “veganism” less and less. It’s just a part of who I am and not something I am constantly aware of or trying to prove to anyone.
For any new vegans out there, if you are going through the initial phases, just enjoy them and try not to worry. If being vegan, animal welfare or food is on your mind non-stop, please know that it will pass. People’s reactions will bother you less with time, seeing milk getting knocked over will bother you less with time and you will be able to live a normal life!
Going vegan is truly the best decision I’ve ever made. Sometimes you need to struggle a bit to get to something fantastic and it is amazing when you get to feel more confident and affirmed with time. It comes from yourself (and your amazing health), from other people making the same decision and the growing supporting research.
I feel a new peace, a new confidence and a new contentment with every new day. That’s how I know I’ve been vegan “too long” 😉