Long time, no blog.

2015 was busy, excellent, wonderful, life changing, extremely challenging, stressful, heartbreaking and then pretty wonderful all over again. I sure did learn a lot, and achieve a lot, in 2015.

One week into the new year and I'm feeling so excited about all of the wonderful new adventures and experiences that the future has in store.

The thing I wanted to write about tonight was my journey so far with living vegan.

I use the term loosely... let me explain.

Around this time last year I came across some information about eating animal products, and the cruelty associated with that, and it opened my eyes. It spurred me on to keep seeking information, and I have been continuing my education ever since.

My history shows that I can be a flighty person when it comes to routines concerning diet or exercise. I'll typically go through phases where I'm really into exercise, and then I won't really do anything for literally months. And same with diets - they can last a few weeks and then I fall off, then start again, or not.

So that being said, there was every chance that I'd start down this vegan path and then turn my back on it, but the amazing thing is, I haven't.

I haven't been fully vegan at any point in 2015, or even fully vegetarian. I've been gentle with myself at times because it's not been easy for me to change the habits that are ingrained in me, especially when you are literally the ONLY one among your entire circle of friends and family and colleagues who are eating this way. (The statistic is that 17% percent of people identify as vegetarian or vegan - where are you guys?!)

Anyway, throughout the whole of 2015 I've had some meat dishes here and there (I would say, 1-2 serves of red meat a month). I've had 1-2 servings of fish every week. Hardly any chicken, either - maybe once or twice a month. Dairy and egg consumption has also been hugely down. Barely any dairy milk (only splashes in tea if no other available), no yoghurt whatsoever. Some butter here and there. Cheese is tricky - I don't have a lot, but have found that hard to let go of for things like pizza and jaffels. Chocolate and treat desserts have also remained on the menu. In 2014, meat was a part of every lunch and dinner, and eggs were a part of many breakfasts. I haven't been 100% animal-free in 2015 but the change has been huge.

All in all, from January to December, I was consistent. Even though I have been far from perfect, not once did I grandly fall off any wagons or turn my back on my decision. I've always bounced right back to it immediately because I know it's the only choice.

Do I miss meat and stuff? Yes and no. It is mostly hard socially, and being the odd one out, when everyone else is getting into certain things. I don't want to eat them, yet a know they're tasty. Sometimes I eat them and then feel weak and guilty. And when I don't eat it, sometimes no one notices. Othertimes I feel sorry for myself. And often I will feel self-conscious because I suppose people think I'm trying to make a statement, but I'm not. I'm just doing what I'm doing. Sometimes you wish you still had the wool over your eyes because that would make my life so much easier! But at the end of the day, I know it's best.

It's difficult having people question you, in a way where they are kind of being aggressive. There is so much to tell, so it's hard to really give a meaningful answer without talking for 20 minutes straight. I don't want to feel like a preacher, and I'm also self conscious because I myself am not 100% vegetarian, so I feel like I don't have a right to say much.

I do miss the tastes and my favourite recipes. I suppose that's why I haven't fully "converted". I can't say at this point if I'll ever be able to commit 100%, and I say that with full knowledge that it's not healthy and unethical to eat animal products. But my hope is to continue to make changes for the better.

I don't miss meat when I'm at home, for the most part. I eat good food and I feel more energetic and less weighed down eating a plant-based diet. Sometimes when I have had red meat it tastes so oily and fatty and I just feel like I'm eating something dead with no value in it (funny that.)

Sometimes it's a struggle and I do crave meat and dairy products, and I eat them sometimes too, but I could never go back to eating how I used to.

My goal in 2016 isn't to be perfect. I know I will struggle and I know I'll eat some stuff I'd prefer not to. But I also know that I got through a whole year without losing my trajectory (without it being an effort) and I am so proud of that. So I will just continue onwards... making tweaks, building my recipe repertoire, and trying my best to be a strong and patient person.

I watched this YouTube clip tonight - it is kind of long, but I also think it covers a lot of bases and rings true.

I hope you have time to watch it.

Also, some great documentaries:

- Forks Over Knives
- Cowspiracy
- Food Inc.
- Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
- Earthlings


101 Reasons to Go Vegan
Animal Rights Speech
The Excuses Speech