Why I’m Not Vegan Anymore

“Aren’t you supposed to be vegan?”

I get asked this question often. People generally get confused as to my status on the whole vegan debate because I sometimes eat dairy, now, but still get referred to as “bloody vegan” (and, yes, that joke gets old), and still believe in the vegan lifestyle. People laugh when I say I’m “vegan-ish”, as though that’s not a real thing, as though eating cheese twice a week means I should give up my efforts entirely. When I ask them what they’re doing to contribute, they laugh and say “I don’t care about animals”. Keep your goddamned nose out of it, then.

I was a completely devoted vegan for about a year. I really enjoyed it, too. I felt as though I had a little more purpose about me, and enjoyed learning how to make and cook new things. I was studying part-time and working about thirty hours a week, so I just about had space in my schedule for these things. It worked well for me.

Things changed when exam season came around and I was promoted at work. Life just seemed to take off all at once, and I was left with little time to cook and clean, never mind time for the little things like my blog. Now, I’m in my third year at uni (the equivalent of second year for somebody studying full-time), and I work up to fifth hours per week. Not only have my working hours increased, but the amount of work I do in those hours has also increased, leaving me exhausted at the end of each shift. When I get home and need something quick before bed, it’s so much easier to throw in a cheese toastie, than have to figure out some hearty vegan alternative. In addition to this, cheese can sit in your fridge for a week or two before going stale, whereas tofu, for example, goes off in a couple of days. When you only have the money and time for one food shop every week or two, this isn’t ideal.

I could go on with more examples, but what I’m trying to say is that veganism is difficult to fit around my lifestyle. Anything is difficult to fit around my lifestyle – I’m a busy bee, as you can tell from my sporadic uploading of content recently. I simply found myself not eating, because there was no vegan food around, which would make me more tired, which would make me even less inclined to cook proper meals. It was a vicious cycle and I was spiralling downwards, quickly.

Over Easter, my dad invited me out for lunch with him and my grandad before work. As it was Easter Sunday we could get booked in anywhere that would cater to my requirements, and not wanting to disappoint my family I agreed to eat a vegetarian meal somewhere else. I had a hearty bean and halloumi salad, then went about my day. The difference a full meal made to the amount of energy I had at work was astounding! It was only then that I realised how tired and malnourished I was – just one meal had completely changed how I felt.

And that was when I realised I needed a change. Just something small, to give me a kick up the arse. I didn’t want to go vegetarian, so made a compromise with myself: I eat dairy two days a week. They’re usually on the weekend, but if I need to, I swap out the days. I still use soy or almond milk, and I still use dairy-free marge. I will still never buy leather, and I’m still in the process of turning my beauty collection vegan and cruelty free – the only difference is, if I need to buy some quorn to get the protein I need, or if I need a quick fix in the form of a cheese and onion sandwich, I will. Because I need to look after myself, too.

Thanks for reading,

K x

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