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Wednesday 15 February 2023

Ve-Curious - Why Did I Stop Being Vegan?

A few years ago, my little sister dared me to do Veganuary with her (Link to the Secret Vegan post here ). I’d always been ve-curious so I took her up on the challenge and it turned into almost 3 years meat and dairy free. During that time, I learned to cook without using animal products, phased out the leather goods I’d been used to using and got more of an understanding of how the animals we rely on are being used – and abused.

I was vegan to a degree; I didn’t eat animal products but I found the lines were blurred … and where do you draw them? For instance, here’s horsehair in the bricks and mortar as standard in our homes. What about listening to the music of violins made with catgut strings (actually sheep intestines not cats!)? Figs pollinated by wasps … which then died? Plus half of my work kit was leather, the belts, boots, woollen clothes. It wasn’t quite as simple as it had seemed initially. And I made a pact with myself after the first couple of months to avoid any vegan communities online … far from being supportive of people trying their best, they were judgemental and hypocritical. I certainly didn’t dare post on any. I'm sure there must have been lovely ones around, but I didn't find any.
I was always quite open about doing it for myself. I wanted to feel better and I wanted to perform better in my sports and if less animals were harmed so much the better.
I did feel like I was eating better too. I made a lot of dhal and learned to cook some really great curries and stews. Banana and peanut butter was – and still is! – amazing! I bulk cooked and brought my food into work, freshly cooked and prepared, It was all looking good, tasting good and I was feeling great!

And it was working.… until 2020 and lockdown came, I was still working but was unable to eat inside food places due to the lockdown rules. I was unable to pack lunches as I was in and out of vehilces all day so the only option was a McDonalds takeout or something packaged and full of preservatives from a petrol station. Neither was ideal, McDs managed to give me a chicken wrap instead of a veggie wrap a couple of times and petrol stations seemed to have just the one vegan option – falafel sandwich. I guess as less and less people were buying the sandwiches due to the working at home rules, it wasn’t in their interest to add another vegan option… but there are only so many falafel sandwiches you can eat in one day.
Don’t get me wrong I like falafel. Particularly with a dip . But it’s not something that works particularly well between 2 dry slices of bread. Certainly not for days and days in a row. It was miles away from the fresh and non-processed ideals I'd started with.
And I snapped. I decided that I couldn’t manage any more falafel sandwiches. I was going to be vegetarian for a bit. There were only really 2 foods that I had really missed during the 3 years; cheese and ice cream. And I embraced the cheese sandwich life. Life became much easier. And slowly I’ve slipped back into eating everything else. I gave up poking among the sandwiches at aid stations and just grabbed what I needed. I didn’t stress if my salad had chicken or prawns in.

I am sad for my ethics and ideals but the reason that I had become vegan was to improve how I felt and cut down on the processed food and eating falafel sandwiches out of a petrol station day after day just wasn’t working for me. 
I think food is an emotive subject, particularly where our food comes from and making food choices is a really personal thing. I'm glad I managed 3 years and I at the time I was sad that I couldn't continue but I think it was an interesting journey and one that I've taken some lessons from. One, to be mindful of where my food comes from and two, processed is almost never the better option. 

And I haven't really eaten falafel since.


  1. I overdosed on falafel too when I was veggie, can’t eat it anymore!!

    1. Falafel overload!! I guess at least we didn’t go off apples or something nice!! :)