About a week ago before July 5th, I was so excited for my one veganniversary. I was thinking that I would treat myself to a trip to the new vegan fast food restaurant, Doomies, or bake a large chocolate cake, eat the entire thing myself and just reminisce about my year as a vegan and all the great things I have learned. What a dream. My veganniversary started of actually very plan, my breakfast looked good but didn’t taste as a mazing as that chocolate cake I had dreamed about. I spent an entire day working on school work and ate a simple meal of potatoes–super boring, like all my days.
But throughout the day, one thing that has definitely become a part of my life since adopting this lifestyle has been trying to live a healthy life both physically and mentally. I am not only feeding myself with plants and whole foods, but I am moving my body and boy has this change made me stronger. I feel more athletic, healthy and energetic. My mindset has also changed as I am focusing less on unimportant things like how I look, my food intake and what people think about me.
However with this lifestyle has come some hardship. I never really opened up much about this but one of the main reasons i chose to go vegan was because of a disordered eating habit I developed. The summer after graduating I was in one of the worst places i have ever been mentally and wanted to start university fresh, looking different. I begun a disastrous journey into losing too much weight in such a short period. Long story short, I struggled to keep the weight off, developed a bad image of myself and cried myself to sleep every single day after messing up the “new” diet i started everyday. Adopting this lifestyle and eating more abundantly, the weight came back with a revenge. I guess my body did not trust me so it just kept on piling on the pounds. This at first was difficult to handle because people preach that you can not gain weight on a high carbohydrate vegan lifestyle. Lol, what a mistake. I tried so hard to fight back and it just got worse. The hardest part for me to deal with was the fact that I was preaching to people all the health benefits of being vegan but I was gaining a lot of weight and my skin was absolutely disastrous. I became less social and shied away from people because I was so fixated on the looks I had “achieved” when i eating disorderly. Currently I am still trying to accept my new body. it is hard to look in the mirror and sometimes not recognize myself, or constantly push myself in the gym, eat well and not see a change, but I keep telling myself that all the changes I want to make should be sustainable and honestly i cannot see myself living any other way. I whole heartedly believe in the lifestyle I am living that I am not going to give it up for anything.
The food was always easy, dabbled in the raw, the raw till 4, the #justvegan movement. All of which are great for people but sometimes I like to do a little of all, but mainly whole foods.
Although it is never difficult to find an option, it is always going to be difficult to convince people around me how easy it is. My father keeps thinking that it may not be sustainable, and my friends are always thinking that they need to put in extra effort to make sure I can eat at a restaurant. Trust me, vegans can find option even at a Steak House, I know from experience. Even with the ease of eating out, there is a perception that you may judge them for eating meat. Or just the way you think about things and the different view you have in life may create very uncomfortable dinner talk, which may lead to many passive aggressive comments, side eyes and awkward silences. All of this added together can cut you short of many dinner plans and can really be an isolating factor. If more painful sometimes, is to scroll through social media and see people getting together all the time, having fun and feeling on the outside just because you think differently, eat differently, and have different priority. With that being said, this experience has been a blessing in disguise. Feeling out of touch with the people around me forced me to look to joining one of the biggest vegan communities in North America. I joined many meet-up pages, Vegan Facebook groups, and found a good number of people that share the same ideologies as me, the same passion and are so supportive. I may have just met these people but the idea of sharing so much in common with people is honestly such a blessing, especially with the tough times i have been going through. it is rather unfortunate that many of the girls at my age i see at the fruitlucks will be heading away for school but with that I have been introduced to many more people who are living in the same vicinity as me. Honestly, finding like minded people not only gives you an amazing community but also the verification that you are not alone, and that you should not give up on living like this. I will definitely expand on this topic more on another blog post. In the end, I have learned that I shouldn’t live my life to please other people but to make me happier.Trust me I have come a long way from where I started, from rock bottom under nourished, brain fogged and very depress hole and I am on my way to the top of the mountain. I still have these feeling from time to time but it is getting better. I am getting better, stronger and I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The next year and the rest of my life is going to be just like this past one, living everyday to the fullest and learning everyday. I made mistakes as a vegan, ate things that I shouldn’t have unknowingly, bought items that were not cruelty free/ vegan and learned from it. I live with these mistakes everyday to better myself and make better decisions.
Ps. i know this blog is all over the place but I feel like this reflection needs to be as raw as possible. I cant wait to see what next year has in store for me.