I eat therefore I am: My slow transition to veganism

Written by Valérie Pichet

Benjamin Franklin once said that his “refusing to eat flesh” occasioned trouble for him and that he “was frequently chid for [his] singularity.”* He also adds that he “made […] greater progress from that greater clearness of head and quicker apprehension which usually attend temperance in eating and drinking” still speaking of vegetarianism. It was in the 1700s.

300 years have passed, and this topic is even hotter. What taboo should there be when it comes to food? I don’t wish to start a debate, but still, would you agree that one’s diet is one’s personal decision and not a social issue?

I didn’t hit my head when I decided to eliminate animal products from my diet. I simply became more aware of the world that’s surrounding me. I thought it would be interesting to share with you not only my transition process towards veganism but also the reasons why it all started.

However, I want to specify that it is not my intention to promote the lifestyle or to try and convince anyone to get into it. I only wish to share with you this grand decision that literally changed my life. I am not exaggerating.

MY TRANSITION, REACTIONS AND MY QUEST FOR INFORMATION

It all began in March 2018. I had always been the one that loved animals, the one that wanted to save them all. Even back then, the idea of becoming vegan spoke to me. As I was having financial issues, I began looking for ways to save money on Pinterest. I found multiple articles picturing the perfect budget-friendly pantry staples.

There was mention of legumes as a meat substitute, homemade plant-based milk, and tofu. That’s when it clicked. Tofu is for vegetarians… I would become a vegetarian.

Back then, I was ill-informed on the topic, and I still remember my mother and grandmother’s reaction when I told them like “how on earth are you going to get enough proteins!?”. And my quest for information became more serious. As I am very fond of challenges, I wanted to show them that it was possible to feed oneself very simply, without animal products.

SEEING FOOD DIFFERENTLY

I didn’t stop everything all at once. It would be the worst thing to do.

First, I stopped eating meat replacing it with tofu and legumes.

Then I stopped cow milk to replace it with soy milk.

In June 2019, more than a year after I began my transition, I stopped eating fish and shellfish.

If I can be honest with you, I never thought I would become completely vegan… As I am addicted to cheese! However, after watching Earthling, Cowspiracy, and the Game Changer, I found myself looking at my food consumption from a different angle. In the beginning, my motivations were based on economical advantages and animal rights. But one thing leading to another, I noticed this was not the end of it. Environment and health also played their part. Stepping back after over a year’s worth of efforts, I realized it hadn’t been so hard to eliminate animal products from my diet. Adding to that, the fact that I lost weight and was healthier made me feel even better physically and mentally.

On November 1st of this year, I finally took the last big step into veganism. Then again, I let myself grow accustomed slowly but surely to the lifestyle, learning at the same time. My goal is to become a vegan on January 1st of 2020 officially.

LEARNING TO EMBRACE THIS SINGULARITY

What I am about to say may seem strange, but I morally feel better. I feel entirely connected to my values. It is exactly the point I wanted to abord today. The objective isn’t to do what everybody else does, but to do what you feel is right for you. To become vegan is just an example. What’s most important is to always think about what we could do better for ourselves.

I come from an omnivorous family. I’ve had boyfriends who would only eat meat, and now I’ve surrounded myself with people sharing the same values as I. I don’t feel a gap between my family and me because we’re eating different meals. On the contrary, I feel even more deeply connected to my own roots.

If you’ve been desperately trying to fit in a mould, I just meant to tell you that you don’t need to.

Be who you are, be the person you wish to be, and you will be the best version of yourself.

Do like Benjamin Franklin and embrace your own singularity!

*https://www.vrg.org/history/benjamin_franklin.htm

This post was translated from French to English by:

Sophie Dumais
My name is Sophie, a passionate language learner, and a full-time dog mom. Long walks, soothing cups of tea, Japanese learning and the search for beauty are my everyday life. Slowly but surely is how I do things, contemplating the peaceful ways of time and the enchanting notion of living the moment.

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