Our five year vegan anniversary
Today marks the five year anniversary that our family went vegan. Read on to find out what promoted us to go vegan, the health benefits we experienced, how my vegan pregnancy was different, starting our business and how much veganism has changed through the years.
Craig and I were long term vegetarians before going vegan. I went vegetarian when I was around 8 years old and Craig as an adult when he was around 30. On June 30th 2017 we watched the documentary “What The Health” and were blown away by the information in it. We never realised how cruel the dairy and egg industry was. We also watched James Aspey’s speech “This Speech Is Your Wake Up Call”. Watching these two things was it for us and we went vegan overnight.
The first few months were challenging
The first few months of going vegan, I must admit, were very hard mentally. Realising that we had unwillingly been supporting such cruel animal abuse in the dairy industry and egg industry was very hard to adjust to. I myself felt very angry, helpless and quite down for a couple of months after we went vegan.
During the next few months of going vegan we learnt to cook vegan food and found lots of recipes online. Finding a cheese substitute was something I was always on the lookout for. There wasn’t much around at the time but we did discover nutritional yeast which was a bit of a game changer.
Our health was improving
Well for me I lost a few kilos without trying. We were eating healthier and I will be honest I used to eat a lot of cheese as a vegetarian which wasn’t really good for the waistline. My skin cleared up and I had so much more energy and found when exercising I recovered so much better.
Craig on the other hand had amazing health changes. Craig suffers from Ankolysing Spondylitis an arthritis autoimmune disease that causes chronic pain in the back and can flare up in other joints and parts of the body. Before changing his diet Craig was on strong pain killers daily to deal with the pain Going vegetarian and eating healthier had helped a bit by completely cutting out all animal products lead to a bigger reduction in the pain and flare ups. Craig now rarely has to take any pain killers and can lift weights and run long distances, something he could only dream of doing years before. His anxiety has significantly lessened since going on the vegan diet.
Connecting with other vegans
We did feel a bit isolated going vegan as we literally did not know any other vegans at that point. We joined some online vegan groups which made us feel less alone. We connected with some other vegans at a sanctuary tour at Greener Pastures which was fantastic. We started doing animal activism and attending vegan events. It was so good to meet other like minded people and also meet some other families with vegan kids at these events. It made us feel slightly less hopeless doing activism as were able to bring awareness to the atrocities the animals live everyday.
Fast forward to 2019 and I fell pregnancy with our third baby. My pregnancy was so must easier than the other two ( I was vegetarian with the two other pregnancies). I felt fitter and I have to say amazing through the whole pregnancy. I still had aches and pains but very minimal sickness and her birth was the easiest and I bounced back to myself quickly. My mental health was a lot better as I suffered a lot with anxiety with the other two pregnancies. Can I put that down to veganism? I cannot say for sure but I like to think it had a lot to do with it.
We decided we wanted to help others
In 2020 we started our business – Five Vegans. We really wanted to help others to find vegan alternatives. There was a growing number of new vegan products and we wanted to be able to provide somewhere for others to get products that we knew we were looking for. ( Side note discovering the Vego bar when we first went vegan was a bit of a game changer). The amazing people we connected with and still connect with each week just blows our mind. We love chatting to other vegans online and at markets and events. We have met the lovliest people. Knowing we can provide vegan and eco friendly products while helping animal charities is a dream for us.
Reflection on the last five years
Fast forward to now 2022 and our family is thriving on a plant based diet. We feel great. We are just mind blown at all the vegan products that are coming out each and every week. Back when we went vegan five years ago there was not a lot of variety in vegan alternatives. We are so pleased at how fast it has changed and continues to change. It is an exciting time to be a vegan and it makes us hopeful that things will change for the animals and the planet.
We would love to hear your vegan stories. How long have you been vegan/plant based and what prompted the change?