Prior to becoming vegan I had been following Joey Carbstrong for about two years, I watched all of his arguments with interest but I still never made that switch. But the more I watched the more it started to resonate with me, it was a slow burn.
I started eating less meat throughout 2018 and 2019 and I also switched to plant milk in 2017. But I still heard myself utter the same excuses that every other non-vegan says to Joey on his outreach videos… even with all that I still never woke up. I distinctly remember using the argument, but bacon though (I hate myself now!!!) and I can’t give up cheese, it tastes too good… I used many more, all vegans have heard them all before, I wasn’t saying anything revolutionary!
Because of following Joey for so long, I knew all of the films I should watch – Dominion, Earthlings, Cowspiracy and Land of Hope and Glory… but I knew that once I watched these I wouldn’t be able to ignore any longer the pain and suffering I caused due to my desire for taste.
Fast forward to November 2019, I watched Game Changers. I had already been following Dr Michael Gregor for a while and also had his book How Not to Die, so some of the film wasn’t new to me, the How Not to Die book had been part of my motivation for cutting back on the meat I ate for the previous two years, but I had always found it difficult to stick to 100%.
Watching Game Changers really struck a chord with me, health wise it is a very powerful film, by the end of the film I was thinking I was going to switch to a plant based diet 80% of the time and 20% whatever I wanted. This was my approach in planning my new diet for the next couple of days… then the weekend arrived…and I started having second thoughts (in a good way!), I thought why only 80:20.. why not 100%.
So I sat down that Saturday afternoon and I found Dominion and Earthlings online, I watched them back to back, four heartbreaking hours. I cried almost start to finish through Earthlings – the crash test head injury test on a live primate broke me.. it still breaks me. Once you witness the terrible injustices we cause to animals you cannot forget it – you also cannot go on paying for it to happen.
The rest of the weekend, I watched Conspiracy and Land of Hope and Glory, it was an eye opening weekend! I went into work on the Monday and told everyone I was going vegan. I didn’t go fully vegan overnight, I spent the next few days using up any meat in my freezer, there wasn’t much, same with the cheese, butter and eggs. This took me in to December, I spent the first three weeks of December, researching exactly what being vegan meant – the hidden ingredients I needed to look for and also the clothing, beauty products, footwear changes etc – basically I did the crash course into being vegan throughout that month and I had a deadline to have fully transitioned by – this was going to be the 1 January 2020 – I’d signed up to Veganuary.
People at work and friends had taken the piss saying if the footage I had seen was so awful why didn’t I switch overnight, to be honest, I just wanted to get it right, I’m an all or nothing kind of person, and I wanted a deadline day for the switch to happen – by that point I wanted to have fully learned everything I needed to know….also I was due to have Christmas Dinner at my sister’s house – my sister is very easily upset and can sulk for years, I honestly didn’t want the drama of telling her I wasn’t going to be eating her dinner!
As it happened, I ate the Christmas dinner at her house, the subject of my switch to veganism obviously came up that evening, we had a huge debate that turned into a bit of a row.. followed by her telling me that I couldn’t stay for Boxing Day as everything in her house had been smothered in some form of animal product (yes, she can be that childish!).. so first thing Boxing Day morning, I popped round to my parents and told them I was going home as I couldn’t be bothered with the arguments about the fact there was nothing for me to eat (yes, she even said that all her vegetables were unsuitable etc etc)….. I had one meal that day – a takeaway pizza from the services on the M1 followed by my mums mince pies, that she had packed for me, when I got home… the next day – the 27th December I was vegan.
I’ve never looked back. It is also a little amusing that I remember stating that I would just be vegan, I wasn’t going to be actively vegan. I didn’t see myself trying to turn any of my friends and family…or anyone else for that matter… oh how that changed – practically from the word go!