The Vegan Struggle !
Living a vegan lifestyle is the best choice about my life I've ever made. Being vegan is something that I choose for myself as being conscious of my health, the animals and the environment. But as good as it is for my body and my health, it is a really challenging experience when you have to avoid buying and consuming foods containing animal ingredients.
I remember the first couple of times I went shopping as a newly vegan. It was so strange to change my diet excluding the majority of the food I was used to. Shopping in the store where I was last week and every other week before, buying almost the same stuff every time, and then being in that same place but recognizing myself as vegan, was the strangest, loneliest and the scariest feeling. For a moment (but a really prolonged one), I felt like I am not part of this society and even from this world. I was walking through the aisles of the store and was like "I cannot eat this... I cannot eat that.... This one contains milk...That one has eggs in it... Why you put milk/eggs in that?! " and so on, you can get the idea. I started seeing the world in a totally different way and I was amazed when I realized how long my life has depended on non vegan products.
Having different diet than the one accepted as "normal" is hard enough on its own, but what makes it even harder are the reactions of the people in your life (ie colleagues, friends etc) to your new lifestyle. So many times I have felt like an outsider and the strangest person ever, being in social situation where I had to talk about being vegan, why I had made that decision, what I eat instead of animal products and could I make an exception just that time. As I have been vegan for more than 5 years, I can conclude that explaining and defending myself and my choice, being different, have been and still are the hardest part of veganism for me.
Luckily, we live in high-technology age with cheap and accessible Internet. If it was not for some YouTube channels, Facebook pages and vegan blogs, for sure I would not have lasted even a week as vegan. Internet was my main source of information, recipes, ideas and the most important- support, inspiration and feeling part of something big as veganism and the ideals behind it.
At the end of the day what really matters is how I feel. No matter how often I am in situations when I act almost like a crazy person reading the menu in a restaurant for 20 minutes and trying to find the one and only vegan dish and, at the end, ordering just an orange juice... I feel great as a vegan. It is not only a lifestyle, it is a mission, a full-time job as a lawyer of your health and all voiceless animals and the nature. It is more important than somebody's opinion or funny comment about you and how fruits and veggies have feelings too. As Gandhi said : "Be the change you want to see in the world" and it is exactly what being vegan is. Veganism is love- to love the animals not kill and eat them, to love your body and give it the best - being healthy and energetic, to be passionate about living in a cruelty free world and to spread the love and the idea. My vegan diet for sure changed my life. It was a long process of finding my way through veganism but now I am different and it is a good different. My health is better, my body feels great, I feel alive and with a clean mind. The world is a different place for me now. I opened my eyes for so many things. I am better person now and I learned to love myself.
In conclusion, I am so happy that I made this choice and that being vegan now is not only my life but also my career and the reason to wake up in the morning with a smile. Try it!