Guest Post #3. Plantfed Luke's journey from Meathead to Plantfed (part 1)
"Sometimes, people transition from being veggie to veganism, but I didn’t so I had gone from every meal containing some form of meat/animal product to none, which is no easy feat!"
Hello all! My name is Luke (@Plantfedluke on the Instagram) and I feel very honoured to be featured on the blog to describe my vegan journey to date, which hopefully is relatively interesting!
So, I transitioned to a vegan lifestyle back in April/May 2015 whilst coming to the end of my 1st year at university. While quite unorthodox, the way it all came about was quite typical for me. Although I did enjoy the occasional partying and socialising that university brought, I spent many afternoons wasting my time when I should have been doing ‘extra reading’ (lucky me that first year didn’t count). On one of these afternoon procrastinations, I was browsing Netflix when I stumbled across a documentary called ‘Fat, Sick and nearly Dead’ so I decided to give it a watch, drawn in by the dramatic title. In short, people on the documentary are severely overweight and use green juices and fruit juices as a method of retaining health. This seemed to trigger something in me. I had gathered an interest in ‘health’ in the two years previous, having always struggled with weight management I had become a student of self-guided learning via the internet to improve my fortunes.
Following this, I watched numerous other documentaries such as ‘Food Matters’, ‘Hungry for Change’ , ‘Forks over Knives’ and 'Cowspiracy'. Very quickly, I had opened a world of plant based nutrition, which was the polar opposite of the diet I was consuming. At the time, I was consuming over 200g of animal protein per day. I kid you not. A standard day for me encompassed: scrambled egg with porridge for breakfast, tinned tuna with vinegar (rancid) and a salad, and grilled chicken/turkey/mince with minimal rice and sometimes some greens. Also, the whey protein shakes and protein lattes, just couldn’t live without my protein!!! I also got heavily hooked on diet coke, as a stimulant to compensate for my lack of carbohydrates. My phobia of carbs was awful, and on reflection I have no idea how I managed to function for most of that year.
So roughly around the beginning of April, after educating myself to a certain extent, I then went onto Youtube to do a bit of extra searching. This led me to the point of no return: Gary Yourofsky’s greatest speech ever. This changed it all for me. The way in which he so bluntly portrays the information and reality of animal agriculture really struck with me, and I watched the whole video because I needed to know the truth. Following this, I very quickly cut out almost all animal products I was eating.
Now I think everyone who transitions over has similar worries and difficulties. How much more expensive will my shopping be? Will I always be hungry? Won’t all the carbs make me fat? And where will I get my beloved protein!? Now some of these are valid concerns at first, and I definitely had concerns on the last two points. However, for me, I had two other issues that I encountered.
1) I had no access to cooking facilities.
2) I was studying a sports coaching course, surrounded by 18-21 year old football fans.
Now the first one was very frustrating, but luckily, I was weeks away from finishing my first year so it wasn’t a horrendous situation. I ate a lot of fruit in this time, and tried my best to navigate around eating the provided dinners our university gave us. I must stress and confess I wasn’t 100% vegan in this time, as the situation made it very difficult, although I will not bore you with all the details.
The second issue, however, I found a lot more difficult to face. I was in your stereotypical ‘jock’ environment. I don’t like to pigeon hole groups because it’s overly simplistic, but my course was the epitome of a lad environment. Furthermore, I don’t even think that there was another vegetarian at my university, so it was a bit of an uphill struggle, I didn’t have much in the way of social support from peers. So, I decided to keep my new lifestyle quiet, as I didn’t want the jibes and awful banter that would ensue if I started prancing around shouting about It all. Not the time or place, for sure!
Summer! In short, but in essence there were 3 things that helped in the beginning:
1) Time – after finishing my first year I had the time to learn about things such as rinsing beans before you cook them (those who surround you will appreciate this) and general stuff like how to pair foods together to make proper meals. Sometimes, people transition from being veggie to veganism, but I didn’t so I had gone from every meal containing some form of meat/animal product to none, which is no easy feat!
2) Youtube – in the main, but all forms of social media were super helpful. In the early days watching WIEIAD (What I eat in a day) videos were really useful to gain an understanding of what sort of meals I could make and how people prepared these meals. It also gave me an indirect support system, where by you could relate to people all over the world, knowing that although you may not have any real-life vegan friends you could always relate to people online which I think can be helpful for some people.
3) Family – my mum was very supportive and understanding of my decision, as I knew she would be! She had her concerns at first, but I assured her I researched it thoroughly and it was a decision I wanted to make. Over time she began to enjoy my creations and is always buying me vegan treats she stumbles across. Also, she does not label herself but she no longer eats meat and consumes dairy in minimal doses, so I’m hoping that I’ll have her full converted in the future!
Now, the journey has not been straight forward since my transition to veganism. However, I’m sure your eyes are tiring after all that reading, so you’ll have to wait till the next instalment to see how the journey has developed, with a big difference between the 1st and 2nd year of my vegan lifestyle. Ciao for now peeps!
You can follow Plantfedluke on Instagram and YouTube (I've whacked a cheeky video down below). Bob over and say hi! I urge you to check out some of his YouTube videos as he's vlogged in Vancouver and has some more tips on how to go vegan! See you soon for part two! Definitely Vegan x