I have been wanting to write about quitting veganism for a very long time. So I have finally sit down after ironically quitting my job to talk about how I quit being vegan at Christmas 2018. April this year would have marked the 5 year anniversary of when I went vegan. Alas I did not make it to that milestone because I am quitting veganism.
After nearly 5 years and a constant battle with my inner monologue about whether veganism was right for me came to abrupt end. On Boxing Day at a family barbecue, the smell of sausages grilling just tweaked something in my mind and I was like these smell so good. My best friend and cousin Chris simply nudged me and said “have one, I won’t judge you”. So I did, I had a bite of the sausage and it tasted so good.
Admittedly I had distanced myself from the vegan community for about 6 months or so as I was really not connecting with the vibe. For a movement that is about good, I felt that it was creating a lot of negativity in my life. I have to admit that I was part of the problem. If I was being absolutely honest I’d turned into a very vocal vegan activist. To the point that I’d create a vegan persona online and amassed 80,000 followers on a Facebook page. This was basically the beginning of the end of me quitting veganism.
It seems weird now when I reflect on it. The person who was pissed off the most wasn’t other vegans. It was my wife who was so angry that I’d put her through hell about it all. Having moved away from it has been a massive positive for our relationship. I guess I have the problem of over commitment and a need to justify to the rest of the world. Although this ended about mid way last year. Not just with veganism but just in general. I don’t know what it really was. But I made a dramatic move in my life to move away from negativity and judgement. Unfortunately, veganism is prone to such ways.
How do I feel about quitting veganism?
I feel like a bit of an idiot to be honest with you by quitting veganism. I think of some of the things I used to say and the the messages I used to spread. I’d realised how full on I got in my own little persona. Although in my ‘normal’ world I was not preachy. Just in my online world. I guess it was some weird kind of escape and a place to not be me. A place where people thought what I was doing was ‘cool’ but in the end it was just a wave of judgement and negativity.
One thing I can’t stand is hypocrisy, but alas here I was being the most hypocritical person I knew. Hindsight is a funny thing but alas I reconcile with the fact that this was a thing of the past. People still are surprised that I am no longer vegan. But it did allow me to learn a lot about a group of people who believe they are doing good. In all honesty they are. The awareness they are bringing to the plight of animals in agriculture is well needed work. The campaign is is great hand hands even if I and many have been quitting veganism.
Do I feel bad about quitting veganism?
Not at all. I obviously am much aware what animals go through in slaughterhouses to get on my plate and have made peace with that. There are things which may not be right but are societal norms and eating meat is one of them. Do I think that the process could be better? Hell yeah! The way animals are treated in factory farming and slaughterhouses is terrible. I do hope that in time people will make the change and push for animal welfare to be a thing that is adopted by the majority.
I do really look forward to the moment when lab grown meat is the norm. I have ZERO issue with mass produced cultivated meats. I do believe it will be the future. We are only at the embryonic stage of this innovation but in time, it will become more affordable and mainstream. I’d happily invest in a business that was gunning for this innovation. I know it would be an investment that would have great returns over the next couple of decades.
Why I went vegan?
This is as honest as I can get about why I went vegan. The truth is I was going through a hard time in life. I had lost a friend, I had lost my job and I was in a place of vulnerability. One day I decided I would watch this documentary called Earthlings. I was rocked to the core by what I had witnessed and it changed me. It provided a perspective I had never had before and decided from that point I would try veganism.
I was not doing it for my health. I was doing because I thought it was the right thing to do. I guess as you stop consuming the information in regards to veganism and stepping away from it all, it allows you to gain some perspective. Did I think I would be vegan forever. Maybe. Not too sure. I did know that I always missed the tasted of meat and was always craving it. I tried lots of mock meats and cheeses and most of them were terrible.
Was it inevitable that I would stop being vegan. My wife would say yes. But I think if I have done anything it’s helped her at least be a little more conscious of her food and what we eat. They say ignorance is bliss and there couldn’t be anymore wiser words. Do I sometimes wish I had never seen that documentary. All the time. I am glad that I experienced it for as long as I did. It is a learning in life I will never ever get to experience again.
Do I recommend veganism?
Hell yeah. If you want to think about more than your own taste buds and make positive change, definitely. For some I understand that it can be a boon for weight loss and overall health. For me it didn’t quite work out.
Were to from here after quitting veganism?
Just go on living my life as I once did. I think my wife is super happy that we don’t have to worry about vegan options. I like just going over to peoples homes and them not having to worry about it. It makes my life so much easier from that point of view.
I know that vegans will read this and think “you were never vegan”. That’s ok I don’t really care what people think about me to be honest. They will most likely say mean things as well. But again this is just a testament to why I didn’t want to be part of this label anymore.
In general I have tried to steer away from boxing myself into any labels or cultures. All I know is that I want to achieve great things in life and removing most of the negativity around it was the best thing I could do for my own sanity. I am absolutely comfortable with my decision and happy to move on to the future.
Benefits to veganism:
- For once was thinking about others, in this case animals.
- Apparently I reduced my carbon footprint to zero for a stage in my life. Where I consumed no animal products, used renewable energy and 99% of the time walked or rode my bike.
Negatives to veganism:
- Stigmatised by the general population. I’ve never experienced hate from people just for choosing not to cause harm. Was weird.
- My body is not very friendly to carbs and such my diet ended up being heavy in refined carbs and beans. I actually put on weight as a vegan.
- Food choices are limited. While still abundant. In comparison to the ‘normal’ diet it was at times real hard. Bowl of chips became a staple.
- I did feel surrounded by a world of negativity. Both the culture of vegans were to an extent annoying and catty. Plus the constant thought of the suffering of animals was just awful.