If you follow my site avidly you probably noticed I was MIA all of July. [If not, it’s awkward cause I thought you and all the bots that follow my site cared enough to notice but whatever.] Anyway, July was basically what the choir ladies rebuke in church exclaiming “the devil is a liar”, basically…
It’s officially week 13 of my transition to a full plant-based/ vegan diet. However, much has changed since my last update back in week 4. First of all, I no longer want to pursue prescribing to the title ‘vegan’ anymore because I’m not sure I can live up to the lifestyle expectations of being a vegan. Here’s why, almond milk is expensive, and realistically, I can only buy it sometimes. Sure, soy or rice milk is more reasonably priced, but still more expensive than cow’s milk. All of July I continued buying cow’s milk every now and then, until I saw a picture of a cow with the caption “not your mama, not your milk.” Shook things back into perspective so it’s been a week since I last bought cow’s milk. However, besides the actual milk in my coffee or tea, I still love chocolate chip cookies and a girl is still to find vegan chocolate chip cookies, or alternatively, I have to start baking. Either way, I just feel like a fraud if I still claim the pursuit of pure veganism, so now I am more comfortable with just being ‘plant-based’.
Then there’s the case of giving up leather. FML. It’s a whole thing. So my interest in a plant-based diet lead to a high awareness of minimalism and zero waste. With minimalism, I watched a few YouTubers talk about decluttering and going minimal for various reasons, one that really stuck with me is conscious buying. How many times have you walked into a store with the intention of buying one thing you need but leave with five other things you just liked but actually don’t need or have use for. I think many of us have experienced this, especially when the store has a sale of some kind. Anyway, I started downsizing everything I own, selling heels I know I’ll never wear and donating clothes I haven’t worn in months, some years. Later, I came across a couple videos that spoke about how conscious buying, clothing wise, goes hand-in-hand with buying high quality. So although most minimalists who are also zero waste encourage buying from thrift/ charity stores, other minimalists encourage you invest in long lasting clothing items so you have no need to buy that same piece for x number of years to come. An example being, buying a leather jacket or leather shoes that will last you years, versus whatever other material that might only last a few months and you need to replace it again. This is where my conflict with previously wanting to be vegan and embarking on minimalism heightened. What’s a girl to do? I know very little about fashion and material so if there are better/ long-lasting materials I can look at investing into, please share with me. I think Africa might still be a long way from accessible durable vegan clothing, but again, if I am wrong, I’m open to being educated.
The way veganism led to minimalism, minimalism led to zero waste. How conscious are you about the amount of waste you produce as one single human in this world? As soon as I started playing attention to the amount of waste I produce in just one week, I started implementing ways to reduce. The easiest and biggest was cutting out plastic bags. Instead, I purchased reusable carrier bags made from recycled plastic, which I keep in the car for whenever I need to do my groceries. And if I’m being honest, the reason I keep one carrier bag in the car is cause the first couple weeks of implementing this, I had to do an unplanned grocery run, I hadn’t packed the bag and ended up having to carry loose items to my car over two trips, which in retrospect was also pretty dumb as one of my mates pointed out, because I could’ve just used the basket. Oh Cleo… Anyway, after that experience I always keep one bag in the car just incase. I also became conscious of how items I buy are packaged, needless to say, buying in bulk helps a lot in reducing waste. And again, where I can, I avoid plastic packaging like the plague. One major thing I cannot wait to be rid of waste-wise is my daughter’s disposable diapers. They are so much waste! Luckily, potty training has started off on a good note and I rate by the end of the year, she wont be needing diapers at all, God willing.
But back to the tension of pursuing veganism. When I decided to start the transition, a few vegan YouTubers did warn on relapses, meat cravings and so on and so forth. I was so hyped in the first month that I didn’t think it was a real thing. However, there were two instances where I was invited out to events without any vegan options. In those two instances, I reverted to what was available because hunger was a real thing. On the upside, I realised that regardless of the event title and purpose, regardless of weather I’m asked or not, I should always stipulate that I eat a plant-based diet and ask if I can be accommodated, if not, eat at home baby girl, eat at home or pack your own food if need be.
Although July was a rough month for veganism, or rather plant-based diet, I have realigned myself with the values and morals that brought me to this stage in the first place. Again, I harbour no judgement for those who continue to consume meat, however, for me, animals are friends not food. So for as long as I have access to plant-based meals, I will always opt for that instead of meat/animal. On the upside, the roughness of July fortunately led me to a conscious understanding and embracing of minimalism and zero waste. It’s pretty baffling to think of how I used to live and how I still need to make improvements, not just for the sake of doing what I see now as making more sense than ridiculous abundance of things; but also for the environment. Plant-based diet paired with conscious buying will ultimately lead to zero waste. It’s a fool-proof plan.
Are you vegan/ plant-based, minimal [or frugal for some], or exercising zero waste? When did you decide to make the lifestyle change? What are some of the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them? Tell me all about your experience by commenting below, I want to know all the details.