by Shannon Lintott
There are two main reasons that drove me to want to write this article: 1) I’m tired of explaining myself to people over and over again any time I eat food in front of them; and 2) I was the last person on earth who ever thought they could ever become a vegan.
People become vegans for many reasons: the taste/texture of meat, respect for animals, the way meat is processed, etc. Or, if you’re like me, the decision happened one fateful BBQ season when every time I ate meat it would come right back up (sexy, I know).
At first I just became a vegetarian (I was in denial). That worked for a month. Then I slowly tried to eat meat again only to find that no matter what I did, meat just didn’t like me and wasn’t going to be part of my life again.
Once I gave up meat entirely I started to realize that the same uncomfortable bloating, cramps, etc. that I experienced with meat started to happen more frequently with dairy. One late night bowl of ice cream later followed by a very horrible sleepless night turned me vegan forever.
For me, this was a quick and easy sign that something wasn’t right. Rather than spend hundreds of dollars to see a nutritionist, I went cold turkey – or in this case, cold tofu.
It was hard at first, I won’t lie. I really had no idea where to start. I was a meat and dairy CONSUMER! I cannot express this point enough.
If you could see the look on some of my friends and families faces when I first informed them of my new diet you would understand. I mean, I was the chick who could eat her weight in steak and bacon was not a choice, it was a religion. Don’t forget Ice cream! Oh man, I could eat a litre myself without any regrets.
If my personal way of living wasn’t enough, there are my parents. My mom grew up on a farm where meat and dairy IS life and my dad had to have meat for dinner and dairy and eggs every day because that’s how he has lived for 64 years.
Luckily there are amazing films, literature and fantastic blogs/websites for vegans across the globe. These are still invaluable to me in order to make information available when I need it and my new diet easier with every Google search.
I was also blessed to have a handful of vegetarian and vegan friends that I could call from the grocery store the first few times I went (who would’ve thought that there wasn’t just one kind of tofu!). The most important thing of all; I didn’t want to feel sick anymore.
The results: not a single belly ache, long bathroom visit or un-flu related sickness since. I’ve been going for about six months or so now and I won’t ever go back. I may get tired of explaining to people how I could give up meat, how I am still getting all my nutrients and how I am not going to die or become so skinny that I won’t be able to stand; but that is nothing compared to how comfortable I feel in my own body.
I have a brand new love of food. I can taste every tiny spice and sauce that I eat. I am eating things I never thought I would and really cannot imagine my life without all the new fruits, vegetables, nuts and ingredients that are now an every day part of my life.
I find I am more innovative and creative with my meals and they are all fantastic; cooking is fun again! If anything, I am getting more of what my body needs than I ever did before becoming vegan.
If you would have told me a year ago today that I would be a vegan I would have laughed in your face, told you where to go and cut another slice off the roast and gobble it down. Now, I am proud of being a vegan. Not because it is healthier, or makes me love food more, or stops me from having to take medicine in order to eat dinner…but because it is right for me.
If you think this is right for you I implore you to just give it a try. The more people I talk to about why I decided to become vegan, the more I realize how many people feel sick after eating and just accept it as every day life. It doesn’t have to be. If you don’t like it after a month or see no improvements concerning your general health and well being then maybe being vegan is not for you.
Also, feel free to see a doctor before hand but make sure the final choice is up to you. You won’t know until you try! I do suggest researching before hand and continue to stay up-to-date on nutrients and read articles about balanced meal choices.
After all, there is so much more to being vegan than eating tofu!
Shannon Lintott works in production at a professional theatre company in Toronto. A recent graduate of the Ryerson Performance Production BFA program, she spends her free time exploring the internet, taking photographs, reading or writing on one of her numerous and addictive websites. The majority of her time is spent watching movies and reviewing them on her movie review blog I Like (good) Movies. Follow Shannon on Twitter.