How veganism made me realise who I was

3rd July- the events that happened on this day would be great memoir to be titled as ‘how vegan life made me understand who I was.’ Because of the fascinating popularity of veganism and that there is always some news or spoofs about vegans, I wanted to see for myself what it is to be a vegan. I read one or two vegan blogs and few recipes and the foods to avoid, the alternatives to items like milk and cheese. The interesting observation I made, was that vegan and meats recipe had only one difference. 

Meat recipe has ingredients and cooking methods. Vegan recipe is just ingredients.

I don’t watch discovery channel, I eat them. So to enter the greens, non-meaty, non-heaty, dairy-free world is a life-changing, life-threatening and gravity-defying decision that I’ve ever made in my life.

In addition, there are 3 other reasons why I decided to go vegan.

No 1) I have exactly $23 left this week.

No 2) They say ‘Do something that scares you’

No 3) This is holiday-period which means as a stay-at-home-netflix-viewer, and probably the most convenient time to be one, I should fully maximise this opportunity to explore my inner-self and be on a ‘clean food policy’

Take small steps. So I decided to be a vegan for just 5 days starting from 3rd July. 2 days ago, I went vegan grocery shopping which basically meant walking down the health food row in Coles, an area that I have never been to. It had all sorts of biscuits, chocolates, cheese, milk that proudly screamed ‘for vegan’ or ‘vegan special’. Lots of fruits, vegan chocolate biscuit, milk that was not milk, soy milk, lasagne sheets were purchased.

Already feeling like a vegan carrying these items, I was embracing the fact that I was about to empower my soul with something magnificent. I remember reading this line somewhere, “Eating vegan just feels right for me and when something feels right you just have to keep doing it, right?” Came home and ate the last two pieces of delicious milk-chocolate biscuit, drank the last few ounces of milk that was real milk, hid the ikan bilis container away, locked food network channel, I did all that I should do to embark on my soul-warming, mind-calming vegan journey the next day.

3rd July , 10 am

Had my first vegan breakfast meal- Soy milk, banana, watermelon and avocado. It was like a Meghan to my Harry. Everything looked and felt perfect.  I felt the vitamins buzzing through my veins. I could feel the energy from the food. My soul was strengthening. Strong is the new sexy!

3rd July, 2pm

Nuts, more soy milk, vegan chocolate biscuit. There was a new spiritual light inside. More like a fan. A sleep-inducing fan. Because by 3pm, I felt so sleepy. Not that kind of exhausted or hunger-sleep, but more like a comfortable inviting sleep. Usually I don’t take afternoon naps. However, the cool weather and the spiritual fan inside me made me float towards the bed. Had the best afternoon nap!

3rd July, 5.30pm

Sun sets here by 5pm. When I woke up, it was completely dark. Suddenly, I felt that I was missing something in life. I read that transitioning into a vegan life usually takes time and thought that since it was my first day, it was just the initial withdrawal symptoms of not having ‘real’ food. I felt hungry and nauseous at the same time. Like you know the feeling of dancing and drinking till 4am, and when you step out of the club, you either crave for macdonalds or nasi goreng!

Hunger pangs were gradually crawling and moving towards all internal organs. The thought of not eating meat for the next 5 days started to grow into me, some sort of unexplainable sadness started rising like the water bill. Sorrow, despair and devastation engulfed me. I consoled myself by reminding that it was probably the hunger that made me overthink. So I ditched those thoughts and moved on to making lasagne. Searched an amazing microwave recipe- lasagne in a mug. It looked easy, simple and nutritious. Yes nutritious! Nutritious, me the vegan da! For a moment, the happy mood kicked in once again, not knowing that it would be short-lived too.

As I was preparing the ingredients, I felt depressed again. The moods were fluctuating like a teenager’s raging hormones. Every time I wanted to forget about eating meat, the thought came back to me stronger. This is love or what, da? 

I finished cutting the vegetables, took out the lasagne sheet, sliced the vegan tofu, added the grated vegan cheese and placed it in the vegan microwave oven.

When you don’t put your heart and soul into anything especially into that mug, only shit happens. The supposedly-vegan lasagne meal turned out to be a perfect choice for trainee archaeologists to hone their practical skills at a dig site. I literally had to break the internal parts of the lasagne rock. Gave up after 30 seconds. It was a mess, everything was a mess, I felt like a failure, I was frustrated, I felt hopeless.

Why did I even think that I can survive for the next 5 days? 

The lack of meat/dairy product-consumption weakened every cell in my body.  The longlife food made me realise a life-long lesson. In the last 10 hours, instead of truly accepting and be contended with what I had, I chose to look out for the things that I didn't have.

And that’s exactly how we lead miserable lives. That’s the reason why I wasn’t be genuinely happy with what I had. It might have worked for others, but not for me. 

Will definitely apply this lesson to the other parts of my life. But not to my food habits.

Making a swift end to veganism, I truly understand what true love is. What true love can do to us- when you miss them, you feel hungry and nauseous.

Be who you are. Eat what you love.

And where is my hidden ikan bilis container?

(Ps: Ran to Nandos to order the biggest meal on the menu. Left with a single digit amount in my wallet. But got back my love, my life)