Coming from an Italian Australian background, my childhood was full of BBQs and pizza days, filled with meat. I became vegetarian when I was around 12 years old. We didn’t have any vegetarians in the family (I’m not sure that my some of my relatives really grasped what a vegetarian was). I always hated the taste of meat, so it was pretty easy to cut it out of my diet.
Life as a veggie
I grew up enduring more than enough ‘you don’t make friends with salad’ jokes at school, but most of my friends were really supportive of my choices. Being vegetarian over ten years ago, my options were pretty limited and that meant that I didn’t always make the best diet choices (hot chips, anyone?) By the time I got to uni, vegetarianism was almost considered ‘cool’. Thankfully, there were more vegetarian options in most places you went by this point as well.
I was lucky that my parents supported my choice when I was so young. Many of my friends at school said to me that if they suddenly ‘went home a vegetarian’ their parents wouldn’t have made them anything else, so I do consider myself very lucky. Mum and Dad always cooked me amazing bean alternatives and I enjoyed cooking and creating my own food from a young age too. So a big virtual hug and thank you to my awesome parents.
But how do you live without cheese?
After being vegetarian for years and learning more and more about the production of meat and these effects – on individuals and the environment – it was a no brainer that I make the switch to being vegan. For me, it boiled down to three key aspects: ethics, environment, and health.
There’s no denying that vegetarianism is a huge step in improving your health and the environment. For some reason, it’s a lot easier for most people to fathom going vegetarian than it is for them to entertain the idea of going vegan. I promise, as someone who has done both, veganism isn’t as extreme as you might think.
As with my vegetarianism, my family have always been supportive of my vegan adventure.
I’m vegan for three main reasons:
- For animals: I love animals and I don’t want my choices to impact negatively on the lives of others.
- For the environment – Our diets are having an immense affect on the planet. It’s unbelievable what meat production is doing to the environment, and how so many people are overlooking it.
- For myself – Meat and dairy wreaks havoc on your insides and I don’t want to put those kinds of products into my body. I feel so much better for it and am making the best diet choices of my life (even compared to when I was vegetarian!).
How do I feel now?
This is what a vegan looks like.
I feel amazing. Honestly, better than ever before, I just wish that I had done this sooner.
I’m not missing out on anything being vegan, in fact, I think much more about the impact the food that I consume has on my body and the wider environment (and still get to eat vegan friendly pizza and chocolate!).