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This is what its really like to be vegan

Other | Monday 9th October 2017 | Rose

I had a conversation with Gabrielle, a vegan who talked us through her perspective of everything that come along with the lifestyle change. Turns out, it all seems pretty chill, even saying herself that she feels more mentally clear and that it was much easier than she thought it would be. For animals, health and the environment, veganism certainly seems worth a try!

Would you like to introduce yourself?

My names Gabrielle Carr, I recently moved cross country out to Washington in the US and as of right now I have been unemployed for a couple of months, but it’s been kinda nice like, you know, not working full time any more kind of figuring out like what I wanna do for myself, and seeing if I can find a way to incorporate my own ethics and passions into that. What I’m trying to figure out right now is a way to put all of that together. Cos it would be really nice to like, make that my work.

Yeah that would be, I definitely agree with that. How long have you been vegan?

It is... about 2 years.

Could you say why you’re vegan, and the most important reason for you to be vegan?

Um well I hadn’t quite noticed it right away, that answers kinda changed over time. When i first went vegan it was mostly... the way that i put it in order was environment, animals and then health. But over time that’s changed, to where the ethics of it have really really become important to me. Kind of placing animals at the top of the list and it’s been kinda weird seeing that change over time. I always like had felt you know that it was wrong what was happening but it hadn’t quite like sunk in even after going vegan, for a little while.

Were you vegetarian first?

Um yep for I wanna say it was about 4, 5 months. It was a pretty quick transition between the two.

Yeah, I think once you start finding out things, which you do when you’re turning vegetarian, its persuasive to go the full way. How does being vegan make you feel? Both health-wise and mentally?

You know I definitely think if I wouldn't have had vegetarian there in the middle then I probably would have felt it like a lot stronger, the difference, without that buffer. But I definitely I wanna say that I feel a bit more mentally clear. I definitely, I lost weight, over time and I feel better about that - I was getting a little chunky [laughing]. No I just kind of overall feel better and I don't know if that’s because I feel like my conscience feels better or...no definitely, just overall, I do feel better.

What are the good things about being vegan as well as that, like the advantages you’ve found?

I think a lot of people focus on the negatives, like it’s hard to go out and eat or its hard to find things at the grocery store, but I think over time once you start to practice a lot more it gets a lot easier and it’s things that you don’t even think about. But the advantages I have to say, it gives me the advantage to eat a lot healthier, and I get to experiment a lot more, like I really love to cook and bake and I get to experiment with that so much more trying to figure out you know like new styles in order to incorporate veganism into that. I definitely had a few hiccups with baking when I first started. But it’s gotten a lot better over time.

What’s the biggest difficulty for you as well, not to dwell on the negatives, but from your perspective?

I think the biggest difficulty actually for both my husband and I has been going and visiting family while doing it cos there's always kind of that awkward bit. Because a lot of his family farms for example. And so having that and you know, our ethics viewpoint on it… it creates a bit of an awkward situation. We always manage to get past that and ignore it but it definitely, it’s still kinda there.

Yeah its a tolerance thing, understanding each other's ways and accepting them.

Yeah, cos they’re family, and you don’t want that awkwardness.

And I think it’s important to respect other people's views, if they’re not going to be on board with what you think its not like they’re horrible people.

Exactly.

Is it easier than you thought it was going to be? What were you thinking before you decided to turn veggie and then vegan, what was the thought process?

Well it was actually his idea to go vegetarian, and then a few months in I remember sitting on the couch and i was thinking about veganism and it kind of just like clicked in my head that ok there's alternatives for each of these things that i enjoy that I would be giving up if I went vegan. And just like as soon as i made that connection, i was like why not go the whole 9 yards? Why just sit right here? And so, I went and talked to him and then we kind of just made the leap and it was definitely a lot easier than we thought it was going to be.

Well that’s good! Could you tell an example of what you eat in a day; breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks, whatever, just some ideas of anything that you’d recommend?

Um, I’m not a big breakfast person. He always has a bowl of cereal in the morning. But then i guess yesterday for an example i made a big batch of vegan cheese and refried beans and we made bean and cheese quesadillas and we’ll make cucumber salads… we really like having fresh veggies and fruit in the house, and so there’s always something like that to grab. Yeah we don’t eat out very often, it’s usually stuff that I’ll whip up, so we save a lot of money that way.

I feel the same with getting more experimental with food as I’ve changed my diet because you realise that you can do things with food that you wouldn’t have thought of before. What about wider ethics like buying clothes and cosmetics and things. How’s your experience been with that side of things?

Well I haven’t worn a tonne of makeup since I was… I wanna say like 17. So that hasn’t been too hard for me it’s mostly just moisturiser and mascara and I’m ready to go. So finding cruelty free products for just a few key items hasn’t been too difficult for me. And i also enjoy shopping online so that makes it a lot easier. But clothes, clothes can be a bit more difficult when I’m shopping for him. Socks for example, trying to find socks that don’t have wool in them, and we like to go hiking so trying to find like hiking boots that are not made of leather. But we are able to find sites online that cater specifically to vegans, where if you’re having a really hard time finding a product, it’ll be there. One of the more difficult things that I've tried to find has been a vegan antiperspirant. There’s a tonne of deodorants out there, but trying to find an antiperspirant, that one was difficult for me. I did manage to find one on amazon and it was a year and a half into being vegan! Deodorant got me by though.

Thats interesting yeah, its the little things that you wouldn't think about before going vegan.

I guess this is a different situation to if your husband wasn't vegan, but I think some people see it more of a temporary thing. So would you ever revert back to a different diet?

I don’t see myself ever doing that. I’ve actually thought about that question a lot recently and I just, I don’t think I could bring myself to do it, if i even wanted to. Once you develop a passion for the ethics of it, it’s really hard to turn back on that.

And what was the fasting that you were saying you did?

On Tuesday, I believe, Tuesday the second? Or was Monday the second? On the second of October, this past week it was world day for farmed animals, and they were holding a worldwide pledge to fast, and also events were going on everywhere and basically it was a stand in solidarity with farmed animals. The fast specifically for those on the way to slaughter because while they’re in these trucks they’ll be without food or water for you know, upwards of 24 hours. So the fast was kind of, live a day in their shoes, so to speak.

What would you say to somebody who maybe isn’t so knowledgeable to the reasons why people are vegan?

I guess if you search for something online, I mean like pull up reasons to be vegan and there will be 3 main ones. There will be health there will be the environment and there will be animal ethics and definitely when you get down into the ethics of it some people will turn vegan for that reason even if they don’t even like animals. When you see the footage of what goes on, its really, its hard to look at. I find it really difficult, even now to see some of that and think about like how I used to eat. So I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s such a big, I mean is shocking to see, but I think its one of the big things that turns people, so I think that’s why.

Did you watch any documentaries that you thought were good? Like lots of people talk about Cowspiracy?

Yep I enjoyed Cowspiracy when I first went vegan, that was pretty cool to watch and that was actually one of the reasons why my main focus at the time was on the environment. I also watched Earthlings. It was hard to find a copy of that anywhere but YouTube. But that one was also very very strong cos that one you know, was a look inside. I did enjoy What the Health that came out recently. But my advice with that one is take it with a grain of salt because a lot of people are quick to jump on some of the claims that they make but when you do further research into it you see that some of the shock claims are true but you know, they are true in a different sense than you may be thinking.

Also I was having quite an interesting discussion with some meat-eating friends of mine about lab meat, and I read an article where some vegans had commented that lab meat wasn’t vegan because it interrupts animals because they have to be used for experiments, even though they may be cruelty-minimum experiments it’s still interfering with animals. Do you have any views on that? Would you eat lab meat if that came to supermarkets or restaurants?

I definitely don't think I would. And I think if anything it would still be hard for me to separate the connection that I see now. And then to on top of that, you know like not having eaten meat for so long, it would probably still really upset my digestive system. So i think you know for those reasons, trying to make the disconnect between what it used to be and what it will be would be difficult. but I definitely don’t look down on anyone that decides they would try that instead. I mean if you think of it with the way that it’s disrupting animals now because of tests and experiments, many many many of the products that we use today have already been tested on animals, sometimes in the past and so if you’re gonna go with that logic i mean you kinda have to apply it everywhere else. And at some point in the future they’re not going to be disrupting animals any more in order to make this lab meat. So if you wanna wait until down the line when they’re not doing it any more then alright! I won’t knock anyone for it but I probably won’t try it myself.

I think that also when you adapt your diet to be a vegan diet as it is now without those kind of options out there, then you get used to it and there isn’t the need to go back. It’s maybe more for an environmentally conscious person who likes meat, so it’s a different type of thing.

Yep exactly, and that’s why I say I’m not going to knock anyone for it. Everyone goes vegan for different reasons and especially if someone was gonna go vegan for health reasons I don’t know if this lab meat will be made any differently where it’s not going to be a carcinogen [laughing], but I mean if it’s not then hey! I’m all for it. As long as we’re not messing up the animals any more then I’m okay with that!

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