Becoming vegan wasn’t a plan of mine to make in my life but I chose to because I believed it would help my recovery with bulimia nervosa ( mental illness )
Simply, a vegan is, ‘A person who does not eat or use animal products’. There are a number of different reasons why people decide to go vegan; this may be for their health/ fitness, ethical reasons concerning animal treatment, attempting to save the environment, saving money on buying dairy and meat products and many others.
When I first heard about the vegan society I was interested in finding out what it is exactly. My friend from London is a huge vegan activist so she was the perfect person to ask my questions to!
She helped me understand the insights of becoming vegan, how you need to look after your health as you’re not intaking dairy anymore. But there are alternatives which really helped me to proceed with my journey on becoming vegan.
Some of my favourite food alternatives are;
Alpro Vanilla which is a yogurt alternative!
Vegan Mac ‘N’ Cheese.
Tofu Scrambler which is an egg alternative! Plus you can make a delicious scramble!
Vegan pepperoni - full of flavour and it’s just mouth-watering!
Going vegan in the current day is easier than ever. The number of vegans in the UK increased by 419,000 (62%) over the past 12 months and has quadrupled since 2014.
This increased demand has affected the meat-free market, with the UK launching more vegan products than any other nation in 2019 and with supermarkets and restaurants providing more vegan-friendly options than ever. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see entire aisles for dairy and meat-free alternatives in shops and restaurants are beginning to serve entirely vegan menus.
This, however, does not diminish the difficulty of transitioning from a non-vegan diet to a plant-based one: you are still faced with the same cravings for food and products that you can no longer consume. The transition from a ‘normal’ diet to veganism will take time and effort, but with enough perseverance, it can quickly become second nature and won’t feel like a chore.
But how was becoming vegan suppose to help me in my recovery? Well, I believed if I had a healthy diet then it would help me eat more. Don’t get me wrong it was hard at first and it still is but 5 years on and I’m eating! But not much but it’s a good start!
The first vegan product that I tried was ‘Cauldron Organic Tofu’. At first, I was scared about how it would taste and what the texture was like, but all that worrying was for nothing as it was one of the best things I had ever tasted! Full of flavour but also very light so it was perfect for me as I dislike my stomach feeling heavy or in other terms, full.
I started taking steps towards becoming vegan in May 2018 - though I had been a vegetarian for about 7 years prior- after learning more about the dairy industry and realising that I didn’t want to contribute to a sector that treats animals so horrifically. I didn’t become fully vegan straight away and don’t feel discouraged if the process takes you months or even years - it took me until October to go 100% vegan. It’s always the transition that is the hardest, but once you make it into a habit it takes no effort at all!
Tofu is made from dried soybeans which are then soaked in water, crushed, and boiled. There are so many recipes that you can use tofu in like;
Tofu Scramble; this is an egg scramble alternative which tastes amazing but is also pretty simple to make!
Grilled Tofu Skewers; these are grand for BBQs when you have the family around!
Crispy Baked Garlic Tofu; this is made with garlic sauce but other sauces can be used instead!
In the short time that I have been vegan, there has been a massive difference in the range, quantity and quality of vegan products. I can now walk into most any restaurant and know, with confidence, that there will be vegan options, whereas before I was always checking menus with no such luck. Furthermore, there are so many more vegan supermarket substitutes, making it so easy to pick up the vegan version of a product. I also rarely get cravings for dairy products (and never get them for meat) as I have been vegan for so long now that I don’t miss the food anymore.
Here’s some advice for going vegan:
- Always read the ingredients - it’s the worst feeling to realise you have been eating a product that isn’t vegan!
- Don’t beat yourself up if you mess up - if you find out a product you’ve eaten isn’t vegan, don’t get angry at yourself, instead use it to learn and remember it for the future.
- Don’t rush into it - becoming vegan takes time and I would recommend starting off as a vegetarian beforehand, or even scheduling 4 vegan meal days into your week to ease yourself in.
- Follow vegan blogs / instagrams / influencers etc.
- Ensure you are still getting vitamins + protein - these can be missing from a plant-based diet so eat tofu, pulses, beans, nuts etc for protein. I also take B-12 supplements as it isn’t found naturally in fruits, veggies and grains.
- Try out vegan substitutes- see the list above!
- Create vegan meal plans - it can be overwhelming at first, so create some meal plans that you know you like.
Even though changing to a vegan diet was hard it was so beneficial for my health too as I could once again enjoy food as I used to as a child. Growing up with an eating disorder was hard to battle, fighting those thoughts inside your head restricting yourself from food.
Also having a family who loves their food and is also meat-eaters, it was a big challenge! But it was so worth it! My family support my decision on going vegan and they even sometimes try some of the veggie dishes I prepare!
- Nadia and Mel
It’s important for everyone to have their voices heard, to have their opinions feel that they are valid. No matter how old you are, how tall or small you are. YOU ARE VALID! So, why should skin colour be any different? We are all human beings and we are on this earth to survive and share our creativity with other humans. We should not be judging other people who are EXACTLY like us, just a different skin colour that is all.
BLM does matter and people who are affected by the racism that is going on right now in the world, you do MATTER!
The Black Lives Matter movement fights against police brutality and the freedom, liberation and justice of Black people who are victims of racism. It was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayson Martin’s murderer. There has been a rise in Black Lives Matter campaigns and protests against the murder of an unarmed black man named George Floyd and it is so important that not only do we become anti-racist by actively campaigning, but also by educating ourselves.
Unfortunately, for a lot of people, Black history and social injustice is something they have been ignorant of their whole life. I believe one of the reasons for this is the ignorance of the education system. Of course, schools make an effort to educate students during Black History Month, but this is not enough. We must, therefore, educate ourselves rather than relying on a corrupt system to add Black history, racism and Black authors. It is so frustrating that in schools in the UK, we learn from books written mostly by white male authors. While we can sign petitions and mention this to the heads of education, we shouldn’t wait for these changes to be made. Instead of relying on the hope that one day the education system will change, we must learn about Black history and the experiences of Black people ourselves.
So, here we have provided some websites and suggestions to help educate yourself in learning more about BLM. These choices are picked by ourselves as we found them helpful but also very educational!
Here’s a list of books you may want to read:
Young adult novels by black authors:
A thread on twitter- books by black feminists
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
Binding Chaos: Mass Collaboration on a Global Scale
Join the movement here: https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/
Please remember that educating yourself is only a part of becoming anti-racist and by doing so, you will be able to use your freedom of speech more powerfully. Sign petitions, donate money, join protests and speak up against racist family members and friends!
We hope you have found this article useful and don’t forget that if you’re happy to share your own experiences about this topic, we welcome guest writers to do so! It’s so important that your voice is heard and writing an article could be that first step. Thank you for reading this!
-Mel and Nicole
Mackenzie in bold black.
Hannah in blue italics.
Pride is a safe and joy-filled space until the protesters show up and ruin the positive atmosphere. I knew pride protesters existed, but the fact that they ACTUALLY existed freaked me out.
This reminds me of going to the Gender and Sexuality Association at my college. It is also I place I know is safe and free from people's judgement. Having a community where there is acceptance like that is really important for LGBT people's welfare. This is the kind of community the church is meant to be for everyone and I am really sorry that so many churches have failed in providing that for so many years because of prejudice.
One of my pet peeves is when someone ruins a positive atmosphere. When at pride, it is a very positive atmosphere, until the protesters show up. They think everyone there needs to be saved, and they pity us.
If they look down on LGBT+ people that is arrogant and is disgusting to God.
No one is going to hell for being gay. And no one is going to heaven for being straight. That would be terribly unjust. But God is just.
God's justice means that everyone needs saving; the people in pews or Parliament or Pride. All of us have turned away from our Creator who deserves all honour and praise to serve our own selfish desires. All of us run to everything other than Him to find satisfaction and love when He is the only one who can really satisfy our hearts. We all look for the acceptance of other people and scorn His words about us. We all deserve to be separated from God forever as the natural conclusion of our actions. There is nothing good apart from Him so this is a terrible thing. Nothing we do could ever make us worthy to stand in His presence. He is perfect and we are hopelessly flawed.
But God isn't only Just. He is also kind and merciful and loving. You were right when you told the protesters that God loves everyone. He loved the world so much that he came down into it to die on a cross. He came into our broken world and experienced it as a human called Jesus. The all-powerful one let Himself be tortured to death for us. He took the punishment that was rightfully ours. We can exchange our death sentence for His unconditional acceptance. That is real love.
I've tried chasing feelings and the love of people but it is nothing like His love. He knows my every secret thought and hidden motive. Every aspect of messed up me is inescapably under His eye. Yet He loves me so much that none of that matters anymore. He clothes me in His perfection and remembers my past no more. I don't need to try to be good enough for Him. I'm not. But He is good enough for the both of us. It doesn't depend on me, so suddenly my failures are irrelevant.
This is the love that has healed my self hate.
The love that every good thing you've had is a tiny foretaste of.
I agree with your statement, I don't believe God could ever hate people. If he did hate people, that would be a hypocritical thing to do.
God doesn't break queer people's hearts, homophobia breaks our hearts.
Absolutely. God loves queer people. Homophobia from religious people has caused me a lot of pain too and it was a big cause of my mental health issues. God didn't want that but often people mis-represent Him. The things people were saying were breaking my heart so alone in my room I cried to the God I had known to be there for me before. I read the Bible for myself. Desperate for the truth, not just the "follow your heart" philosophy I saw at school which didn't seem to be making anyone really happy. If that book really did condemn me like some people said then I and God would be dead to each other. I could run around trying to distract myself from the emptiness inside by busying myself with meaningless things until death ended my misery. But instead I found a God who loves me so much he delt with everything between us. He called me to life.
I found a God who could be experienced. Who hears and answers my prayers. Who I am to have the constant caring ear of God to hear my cries?
I found Good News for me, the gospel in those ancient words whose truth is as unchanging as God. Good News because I knew I needed hope and meaning and worth. Which He gave me for free. Good News because I was desperate for love and acceptance and His was complete. Good News because I needed saving from myself.
But I know this won't be good news to everyone who reads this. Like those protesters, some people will call this negativity and hate.
It's not good news if you don't think you need saving. It's not good news if you'd rather pick and mix to get a comfortable idea of God which lets you do exactly as you please. It's not good news if you'd rather feel good now than find the Truth.
The gospel is offensive. But it isn't homophobic. It doesn't discriminate when it calls us all sinners and offers us all hope.
So this is my plea. Seek God. Chase Him with all you've got and you won't regret a moment of it. Ask Him to show you what He's like, trusting His abundant kindness to answer. And read the Bible. Start with John and then read the other three eye witness accounts of Jesus' life. See if you don't fall in love.
I can't really say much here, I'm not and most likely never will be religious. I go to church once a year, on Christmas Eve and as a 4-5 year old, I went to a Lutheran school. In my life I've been to Church about 20 times. I do like the concept of a religious gathering, with (hopefully) positivity and music (the Churches I went to have sing-alongs). Listening to what they say, I don't really believe in the Bible itself, and that could be because I never paid close attention when I did go to Church, but I do believe it is because I am too aware and I have too much of a guard up when it comes to hate and hypocritical ways some Churches can run on. Homophobic religions are the main reason for many LGBT+ people to become athiests or against religion all together.
I can only speak for Christianity. But yes, I know homophobia within the church has caused a lot of queer people to stay away from religion because they feel judged and rejected. This breaks my heart.
My God is not homophobic or transphobic. He loves us enough to save whoever accepts Him as Saviour.
It is interesting to me how you say 'my God', I believe that means that you portray him differently than other religious people. I do agree with you when you say God isn't homophobic or transphobic, because to me, God created everyone different so he could test people, and see how everyone would react to different things based on his Bible.
I use the expression 'my God' because He is the God who I know from personal experience. But yes it is also to be distinct from some religious people whose idea of God is different.
Thanks, Mackenzie for discussing with me. If readers would like to continue the conversation you can comment below or message either of us. (Remember to be respectful and sensitive)
Thank you, Hannah for coming up with this article concept, and being very open about your opinions.
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