Happy veganniversary to meeee!
I moved back to Sydney from five years in the Blue Mountains in December 2002. I was coming out of a long term relationship, I was distressed by the events and only just emerging repercussions of September 11, and I only had a few friends in Sydney.
Two of my friends invited me over to their house regularly to make dinner. They were both vegan, and one of them had harangued me for the past five years to move from vegetarianism to veganism. I had managed to avoid making that move, ignoring the animal liberation information he sent me, clinging to my cheese and eggs and yoghurt and honey. But making dinner in a vegan home, almost every Friday night, with laughter and love (and alcohol - let's not forget alcohol) and enthusiasm...that got me thinking.
Some time in March 2003, I bought two packets of haloumi, lots of fresh roma tomatoes, and fresh basil. I ate fried haloumi with sliced tomato, basil, olive oil and lemon juice for about three meals in a row. Then one night I went to sleep a vegetarian, and woke up a vegan.
There are many reasons for going vegan - ethical, environmental, health - and I can't remember that thoughts of any of them passed through my mind when I made the decision. I just knew that being vegan was the right thing for me. People ask me why I'm vegan, and I quite seriously reply "Because it's awesome!", and I mean that absolutely sincerely. I became vegan because it made me feel better than anything else had ever felt before.
I used to have arthritis, with my joints swelling painfully during winter or particularly damp or humid days. I haven't had that happen since I become vegan. I've stopped smoking, taken up a low GI diet, written and published a cookbook, run cooking classes, started working part time as a pastry chef for a vegan cafe, explored growing my own edible garden, and have grown into a desire to create food from scratch.
My veganism expresses itself mostly through food. I find food - the rituals of preparation, cooking, serving, sharing - an absorbing and positive experience, and want to share it with everyone that I can. It's a safe place to bring veganism to light, it's a great place to show the passion, inventiveness, joy and frankly awesomely tasty goodness of vegan food to others, and I believe that it helps people think differently about what and how they consume.
Six years ago, I became vegan for no reason other than it seemed like a good idea at the time. Six years on, I have grown into veganism being the definition of my experience of life, which I embrace and enjoy to the fullest.
As a celebration of my six year veganniversary, I'm going to spend the month of March exploring vegan food each and every day, and sharing that exploration with you. Some of my goals for this month:
To eat less takeaway food
To try more raw food
To try some recipes from my collection of vegan cookbooks
And to cook lots and have a great time!
I hope you can join me for this vegan meander through March! Please comment and suggest things I can try (savoury foods preferred)!!
Oh, and if you're not already, please consider going vegan for the month of March, and seeing where it takes you!