Turning vegan

The Why, The When, The Who, The What…and The Why — mainly The Why

The decision to try going Vegan for 6 weeks hasn’t been an easy one. With so many conflicting thoughts and influences in our lives we wanted to lay it all out so you can see what and why we’re embarking on this over the next 6 weeks. Take a few quick minutes to discover what lays ahead for us…

Why am I (Dan) doing this?

To be honest, there are a number of reasons I wanted to try this. I’ll expand and focus on each throughout the 6 weeks, but here is a brief list and an explanation why I feel it’s important:

  • Animal welfare
  • The impact on the environment
  • To discover how ‘hard’ it really is it go Vegan
  • To support my partner in her lifestyle choices
  • Have a suite of responses to objections from family and friends
  • Provoke constructive conversation
  • To show that if I can do it, anyone can do it

Animal welfare is one of the biggest reasons for me. Growing up surrounded by animals I’ve known nothing else and I started to wonder why we think of certain animals as cute and fluffy beings we love, but only think of others as our dinner. Just because we have cats and dogs as pets, why don’t we consider cows, pigs, lambs, chicken and any other array of animals as important? I’d like to delve in to this topic fairly heavily.

Global warming is no longer one of those topics that people brush aside anymore. It’s an issue that effects everyone and with the scrutiny within the media on such a wide ranging topic it’s become a talking point in households everywhere in the way that it’s affecting out planet. I’ve recently been inspired and shocked to see how much the food we eat can impact this issue. Many people don’t link Vegans and Global Warming, but I’d like to particularly research on a local scale how our diet is having an influence. It’s a contentious issue that touches each and every one of us. The most difficult part I’ll find about this, is offending industries and people that have frankly — grown some of this country in to what it is. It won’t be easy, but I simply can’t do this for 6 weeks and ignore it. I’ll be sure to tread carefully and see all sides of the argument.

I’ve been Vegetarian for a few months now and already the main thing I’ve been questioned about is ‘what do you eat?’. Even discussing the potential of doing this before we started it was one of the more common questions. So is it really THAT difficult to find something to eat when you’re Vegan? What about iron in all that meat? Where do you get your protein from? I’m keen to show just how easy it is to adopt a Vegan lifestyle. Sure, you need to make some sacrifices but there is this thing called ‘science’ where people much smarter and healthier than me have managed to just about replace any ‘normal’ food with a Vegan alternative. The food they have created is also delicious. There’s also these things called plants. Don’t know if you’ve heard of them but I’ll be going through what a plant-based diet actually looks like and the benefits of it.

Jess (AKA Mrs. Miyagi) will guide me along the next 6 weeks, showing me what it takes and helping me create meaningful conversation about the topic. As my partner, I’ve seen her values develop in to the person she is today. I couldn’t be prouder of what she has achieved and know that she has wanted to be Vegan for some time now, there was just one thing holding her back — ME. It’s my turn to support her, what she believes in and be able to show people that the world needs people just like Jess. I’m progressing in my beliefs and without people like her, the world will never progress and move forward.

If you want trigger someone to hop on their soapbox, just tell them you’re Vegan (or Vegetarian for that matter). Never before have I been subject to remarks, objections and bordering on abuse for making such a small change in my lifestyle. Never mind the people that put all other types of dangerous things in their body, they can do what they want. Want to be a bit healthier though and you will hear about it. It’d be enough to not even bother with this lifestyle but I’m going to push through it and shed some light and focus on some of the damnedest things that people say. It’s both humorous and slightly disturbing at the same time.

I’m hoping to turn some of the conversations that with people that are inquisitive (as opposed to the aforementioned abusers) in to constructive conversation on why I want to do it. I’m not here to try and change you, I’m just here to lay it all out and let you make a more educated decision on your lifestyle choices. If I help make a small change in some people’s lives, then I think the next 6 weeks is completely worthwhile.

I’m now on the other side of 30 and while I know I have a lot longer to live, I know I’m also on the border for potential health problems down the track if I don’t get them in order now. I’ve already seen that it takes much longer for fitness and health issues to change so I’m motivated to get back towards the shape I was once in. I’m not going to do it subjectively though, I’ll be doing a full medical at the start of the 6 weeks and comparing the results at the end. If none of the other value orientated reasons motivate you, then perhaps the results of a healthier body inside and out will.

What is a Vegan?

People sometimes get confused with the difference between Vegetarians, Vegans,

Pescatarians and everything in between. It’s not really that difficult, but here is an explanation from trusty Google so you’re just not relying on me:

Vegan: “A person who does not eat or use animal products”

Pretty simple right? Basically, if it’s produced from an animal you don’t use, eat or

consume it. This goes as far as clothing, sanitary and cleaning products and of course — food.

‘Veganism’ has been around for a long time but with the rise of new media it’s been easier for people to connect with one another and provide resources on the matter. Check out the Google trends for the search term ‘Vegan’ below.

Over the past 5 years it’s doubled in the amount of searches. What I also found interesting was the countries that are most likely search for the term Vegan — Australia sits 2nd only behind the USA.

Given our population comparison it appears that us Aussies are willing to challenge what we’ve been taught and known for so long.

How did I come to this decision?

It actually came to me sporadically one day and after a discussion around how I’m finding the questioning, critique and analysis of my current Vegetarian diet overwhelming. I don’t understand how something so simple, so less impactful can be met with such inquisitiveness and almost disdain from many close friends and family. I realised that I needed to be better educated about why I had chose to go Vegetarian. So to make it even easier, I decided to create an armour around the next step — being Vegan. A toolbox, if you will of discussion topics, reasoning, answers and replies to some of the most curly questions I faced every day. It was making me uncomfortable and I want to show people, that decisions like this are actually completely normal.

Why do it in the public?

Why not? I don’t expect this to reach much further than my parents, family and a couple of close friends BUT if the occasional person stumbles across it and is not sure about the decision to go Vegan, I’d like to be able to provide a case study on what to expect and what it’s like to go through it.

Plus, my profession deals with the public facing persona of businesses so it was only normal that I test the things I know on a project like this.

The other side of the argument is “I don’t care if you’re Vegan, just don’t shove it down my throat” (believe me, we’ve already got these comments). My answer to them is, I’m not here to convince you and try to change you. I’m here for the reasons I believe (see ‘Why am I doing this’) are important and to open up the lines of conversations that DO want to know more about this type of lifestyle. I want them to be able to make an educated decision on the good, bad, ugly and everything else in between.

I’m your test-dummy Vegan.

What do we know about being Vegan?

Probably easiest if we split this section…

Dan: Other than what it restricts you to consuming, not a great deal. I’m not sure how hard it is on a day to day basis and what challenges Vegans face every day. That’s why we’re doing this.

I know that it’s becoming an increasingly popular lifestyle choice and that there are plenty of resources out there for Vegans so I’m looking forward to exploring them.

Jess: Going Vegan is one of the best choices you can make for not only your own health but for the planet. All of the research that I’ve read has led me to one conclusion — we need to decrease our meat and dairy consumption to slow down of the warming of our planet.

I know being a vegan isn’t easy. I used to be sceptical of the whole thing too (man, many moons ago). But to me, being a vegan means living your life in the best way possible without harming yourself or any other being in the process.

We don’t have a huge network of people that live a similar lifestyle. We can count on the one hand people that we know are Vegans. We’re looking forward to introducing you to them along the way and having a discussion around how they handle being Vegan.

How will we measure our success?

Whether we can maintain a vegan diet and lifestyle for the 6 weeks.

Of course it’s not that simple, but that’s the basis of this project. We’re looking forward to challenges along the way and how we deal with them. Overcoming personal adversities and maintain personal relationships with others is what we think, will be the biggest challenge for us.

There will also be a much more measured approach to the differences over the 6 weeks. We’ll undergo a thorough medical test at the beginning of the 6 weeks so we can compare the changes in our body at the end of the 6 weeks.

What will we publish along the way?

Given our professions mean we spend most of the day on Social Media, you can guarantee this will be no different. We’ll be posting updates in the form of videos, blog posts and podcasts throughout the 6 weeks. We recommend subscribing to our list so you can get our weekly snapshot of the best bits. Here are some key links for you to find us

How can you get involved?

Other than showing a little encouragement along the way and interacting with us online, we’d love to hear from you. What you think? What questions you have? What you would like to see more of? WHY DOES THE WORLD HATE VEGANS? We have an idea of what we’re going to publish along the way but if you would like to see more or less of something then don’t be afraid to shout out.

We’d also love to hear from other Vegans along the way. What tips do you have? What resources have you found best? Can you give us any tips on what to expect? How long does it usually take to milk an almond?

Here is where you can contact us:

Email — contact@reluctantvegan.com.au

What do we do at the end of the 6 weeks?

Good question! For starters, we won’t be heading to the nearest Korean BBQ and munching down on some ribs and steak. We were already Vegetarians so at minimum we’ll still maintain that diet.

We’d obviously like to get to a point where we are comfortable at still being Vegans and we just continue as we have been for the past 6 weeks.

We honestly don’t know how hard it will be and what decision we’ll come to at the end.

Join us to find out…