The first question that I get asked is… why?
So let me start - I didn’t set out to save the animals, the environment or get healthy. I was watching videos on YouTube where people or couples would take these challenges and in one of the videos, I can’t remember which one, someone was talking about accountability.
The big A is something I’ve struggled with over the years, I haven’t been accountable for my actions, the way I’ve responded to my emotions, how I’ve managed my finances, work related things and the list goes on. It is always someone else’s issue to fix and that’s how I’ve looked at many issues with the world and to a lesser extent, myself.
So for me, this is a journey of accountability. Can I stick to something for 30 days and not falter?
What I quickly learnt was, yes. What I learnt about myself in this time, I hope, will stay with me for a long time if not a life time. I know it is only 30 days but you only need 27 to cultivate a habit, or so they say. At the time of publication and I’m still sticking with the plant based diet.
As time passed through the month and I was realising how easy it was to eat a plant based diet I started to look for other motivations and research a little more into the benefits, down sides and general chatter around a vegan diet.
Friends, family and followers were asking why I’m doing this - I explained at first about accountability and then after researching the impact of a daily meat based diet on the environment I then went on to explain about the impacts of eating meat. The environmental impact of all facets of meat production and then I got into working out how big my environmental footprint is and how I can reduce that. I just wanted to live a more ethical life. That was daunting for someone as lazy as I am, I feel like my heart is in the right place but my actions are not always.
I had turned into the people I was witnessing on the internet and people I had gone to university with. That’s not a bad thing, I’ve always had admiration for people who live alternative lifestyles or non-conformists.
So… how did I feel after week 1? Simply put, I felt great. You can almost instantaneously feel the difference. I don’t know whether this was just a placebo like effect. I jumped straight into this by doing a meal prep for the first week. I bought all the ingredients I needed, cooked up the same meals for a week to ensure I didn’t have a reason to eat anything else. I was also working night shifts and didn’t want to have any opportunity to fail during this crucial first week. The only problem I had this week was 2 days in I was pretty bored of eating the same thing.
Week 2 was different, I started to feel a little tired but I now think that was from some other external things that were happening; partied on the weekend, changed from night shifts back to days and some other stresses. I had some friends reach out in this week to suggest more meals and snacks to try and words of encouragement - a big thanks to Vanessa, Janet & Harun.
Week 3 saw me getting lazier and lazier to cook. At this point I was really over having to cook every meal and painstakingly look through the list of ingredients on the back of packets or ask the waiter if the meal had dairy, animal products etc in it. I found that this made me way more conscious of what I was consuming and how I was consuming it. I also was a little anxious about having to ask every time I sat down in front of a new menu and I didn’t want to disturb my friends at the table or the waiter more than I needed too… but then I sat there and thought about the reasons why I’m doing this and the benefits it brings and that thought passed quicker I thought.
I don’t crave meat at this point, I’m sailing through into the next week.
Week 4… the home stretch… feeling great and thinking why didn’t I do this sooner! Except for a couple of moments where I was thinking about the certain tastes of meals. You know, those comfort meals from childhood or the good times! I did cook one of my all time favourites - spaghetti bolognese, my mum’s recipe of course, but this time I had to make it vegan. I used a mince alternative, I replaced anchovy for seaweed and voila it was vegan and it still had all those familiar and warm tastes of childhood. I even managed to make a vegan fish and chips with tofu and seaweed, with vegan tartar sauce, mushy peas… the lot!
The standout from week 4 was realising how often I want to snack now… That’s not a bad thing, just need to get a list of healthy snacks so I’m not sitting around eating trash all day.
After the 30 days? Loving it! I was feeling slight frustration about the access to vegan food out and about in my area but that frustration was quickly quelled when I was on holiday as I didn’t know the area or places to go in that country, made me thankful for where I’m at now and reminded me why I’m doing this in the first place.
After 30 days I am definitely more accountable, conscious and my mental clarity and anxiety are at places I have not experienced since being a 6 year old!
I’ve now decided I’m going to set myself more 30 day challenges to push myself to achieve more and live a better life… something I for some reason didn’t think I could do.