Hi 🙂 I'm Sophie and this is My Vegan Story.
I went vegan August 9th 2014. Although it wasn't a straight road for me to veganism, I've never looked back and it's most likely the best thing I've done for myself health wise and continue doing for the animals and the planet.
I've been vegan for nearly 2 years now, before that I was ovo-pescatarian for about a year and before that 100% vegetarian (no eggs) for 7 years, so it's been a little back and forth for me.
So, how did I get here? At the ripe age of 38 one day I was enjoying my wonderful lunch of avocado toast with tomatoes, when a casual comment from my husband stopped me dead in my tracks:
"You do know that cows have to be pregnant in order to produce milk, right?"
I don't think I've ever felt so sad and so utterly stupid in my entire life. I regard myself as a clever person who gets how things work, and yet that milk was nothing more than a female cow lactating had somehow completely eluded me. I felt stupid like never before and was left there with the beginnings of a broken heart, which would get much worse as time would show.
I wish I could say that was the moment when I decided to go vegan, but it would take a few more months before I finally decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle. After that comment I started to go off dairy products without really trying. I suddenly didn't feel like having cheese anymore, the month after that I didn't want yogurt with my fruit for breakfast and another month after that and I decided that was it, I was going vegan.
After I made the decision of going vegan, that same evening I watched an Australian debate on YouTube called 'Should everyone go vegan' which made me even more sure in my decision. Right after the debate I watched 'The Earthlings' which was the nail on the coffin and from then on, there was no going back for me.
I haven't read any books on veganism, but I did watch any documentary I could get hold off in the beginning. I also discovered many wonderful vegans on YouTube making videos all in their signature style, so I didn't feel all alone in my journey and knew that there were many people like me, who had not only changed their beliefs and life, but had taken up the fight for animal justice.
My husband, who isn't vegan or even vegetarian, is extremely supportive of me and my decision to become vegan. We did initially have a few discussions about it. I suppose he wanted to understand why I would want to change my life in such a 'drastic' way, and from my side I've done my best to patiently explain to him what my reasons are. Because of his support and understanding, I know that one day he too will make the switch as well. He once said a few days before I went vegan:
"You're not even eating cheese and yogurt anymore, it's just a little milk for your tea and coffee and that much is ok. It won't harm you". I looked at him and said:
"It's not for me, it's for the cows".
The cows are the reason that I went vegan. All the other reasons like the unjust treatment of animals, what we're doing to our planet and improving my health, all that came later.
I did benefit health wise as well after becoming vegan. Over time my overall energy and stamina has improved, my hair is so much better than before, but the best thing of all my asthma, which I had for more than 30 years and all doctors told me wasn't curable, disappeared just 2 days after I quit the dairy - talk about instant karma 😉
The transition to veganism wasn't a difficult one. I grew up with tons of Indian vegetarian food, which I know today was vegan as my parents never cooked in ghee. I love cooking and eating simple and healthy homemade food, and have restaurant food on occasion, so food wise it's never been difficult. I have a lot of cuisines and dishes which I love but my favorite food is Potato Wedges. I think potatoes are my all time favorite and my ultimate comfort food 🙂
When I went vegetarian, I always knew that if I ever gave up dairy for whatever reason, I would become vegan without even trying. Maybe veganism has always been there somewhere in my subconscious mind, and that explains this thought that would pop up in my head now and then.
I realized early on that being vegan wasn't being vegetarian without the dairy and honey, but it was in fact in many ways changing my life. I also realized in horror all the leather accessories I had in my closet, wool and silk clothing and worst of all animal products in my makeup.
I decided that it would be impossible to change everything in one day, so I would get rid of these products with time. The only thing I didn't wait with was my chapstick and lipgloss. I went about 4 months without lipgloss and I'll be honest, it wasn't easy for me but I was determined not to give in and waited until I found a vegan product I could use.
I would say that people new to this lifestyle, it's important for them to take one day at a time and get as much information as they can. Figure out what to eat, which is the most important thing in the beginning as it's something we do everyday several times a day. Look at online recipes, there are tons of them and you'll definitely find something of your taste. Read articles, books, watch documentaries like: The Earthlings, Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, Cowspiracy, Seaspiracy. These are only a handful to watch, there are so many more.
I think for me being vegan isn't about perfection, but about doing my best everyday. It's about love, compassion and accepting the fact that it took me 38 years before I opened up my eyes, to what's really going on in the meat and dairy industry and other people will also take time before they start making a change towards a kinder and more compassionate lifestyle.
So, even though it's difficult in social gatherings or at work at times, to listen to what someone is going to eat and drink, or the new bag they're dying to buy, it's important to be positive and not to get angry with them. I like to pick my battles, because I know that way is more effective and generally just lead with a positive example of how a healthy life looks like.
I know I've inspired a lot of people around me towards veganism and a healthier lifestyle, including heavy meat eating bodybuilding types, by just showing and not preaching, and I suppose this is my way of vegan activism.
I use Facebook, Twitter and my biggest social platform is Instagram where I post food photos and food-for-thought anecdotes and of course I have my weekly food blog The Hungry Mongoose where I unleash creations from my kitchen and tell what I've been up to lately 🙂
I think my hope for the future is the same as why I'll always be vegan - what's the alternative? I know this is the right way to live and just like I wouldn't kill a human being and eat them I wouldn't do it to an animal either. Once you recognize the life in another living being, the same you carry within yourself, it's impossible to take that away from them either by your own hands or through the hands of others.
I know it's a long uphill battle and there's so much more to be done, but the power of social media is not only inspiring but empowering as well. Here I am in Denmark telling my story to thousands of people around the world, and this wouldn't have been possible without social media. The fact that there are thousands of people on this planet doing the same thing like myself everyday tirelessly with our common goal of spreading the vegan message, gives me hope for a kinder, more peaceful and compassionate future and that's truly inspirational.
Where YOU Can Connect With Sophie Kate...
Her Website... TheHungryMongoose.com