I’m two months into being a vegan and I feel a mixture of surprise and confusion. Surely two months is long enough to start feeling the affects this new lifestyle has on my body; the good and the bad. But for some reason there are only positives. I have more energy than ever, I feel incredibly clean, I never feel disgusting or sluggish after a meal, and I just feel so good. In essence, I have never looked or felt this great in my entire life. I never thought I’d say this but I think vegans are onto something here. This lifestyle is only doing me good at the moment.
Okay yes, there are two sides to every story. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. But even the sunshine and rainbows aren’t that bad. In fact, they’re pretty bearable. It sucks to see your friends eat milk chocolate or ice cream in front of you while they make the “ohhh man this food is so tasty” noise, or to go to a restaurant and sometimes only be able to order a salad or pasta if you’re really lucky. Plus meat and animal products will always be the cheapest food in this country and almond milk is almost thrice the price of regular milk. It sucks and this lifestyle is definitely not cheap but I have tonnes of support from all the people in my life and it’s truly wonderful. I am eternally grateful to my parents for allowing me to do this without even questioning or doubting me despite it being heavy on the pocket. People are always so accommodating and incredibly open minded and intrigued by my decision to do this and respect me for being able to follow through with being vegan, especially in a country like Namibia where meat is a staple ingredient in basically everything. I could not ask for a better response from the people in my life.
As all vegans do at some point in their lives, I watched the documentary, “Earthlings”. If you don’t know what it is about it’s basically a documentary exposing the truth behind the food, cosmetic, fashion and pet owning industries in terms of their treatment towards animals. It’s an incredibly graphic film, be warned, but it is extremely eye opening and educational. Plus it’s narrated by Joaquin Phoenix and he’s a pretty cool guy, and a vegan. I would recommend “Earthlings” to anyone who’s ever wondered what really goes on behind the scenes. It will help you understand why some people choose to become vegan.
After watching “Earthlings” I realised that being vegan is more than just what you eat. It includes basically every other aspect of how you handle your body and how you live your life. Being vegan also includes boycotting any clothing made with any part of an animal, which basically means no leather, wool, fur or silk. That means one can only wear cotton or synthetic material. To be vegan also means to not buy any cosmetic products that are tested on animals (almost all major cosmetic companies are tested on animals. It’s actually quite deep) or that contain ingredients derived from an animal. Since discovering that I figured that if I’m going to be a vegan for a year I’m going to do it properly.
With that, for the second month of my journey, I used up all my “cruelty full” beauty products and cosmetics and once they were all done I would only buy cruelty free products. Additionally, I will not buy any piece of clothing, including shoes, made from an animal. To be honest, I deeply underestimated the ability for this country to provide specialised cruelty free cosmetics because to be brutally honest, it’s hard to find specialised anything in this country. With that in mind I had already mentally prepared myself for the possible reality that I might have to make my own body lotion, body wash, deodorant, perfume and toothpaste. However, by the grace of the vegan gods, Dis-Chem came through and I managed to find a tonne of vegan/cruelty-free cosmetics. The only things I couldn’t find were deodorant, perfume and although I could find toothpaste I was not and am not willing to buy vegan, cruelty-free toothpaste that is almost five times the price of ordinary toothpaste. I mean yeah, this vegan lifestyle ain’t cheap but that’s a bit absurd. Thankfully, having already mentally prepared myself for the event that I might need to make my own cosmetics I have already found recipes on how to make deodorant and toothpaste so I will be fully prepared when my normal products finish.
Like I said, I haven’t experienced any physical drawbacks from this experiment yet. From the way I look and feel I can understand why one would want to be vegan for the health benefits because you do feel much better. Additionally, I do not think I’ve been suffering from any nutrient deficiencies or health problems. But, we are yet to find out whether that changes overtime. Socially, being vegan can be difficult. Finding food to eat at restaurants will always be a struggle and more often than not, you end up eating a side of chips or a salad. People do make fun of you and make jokes about being a vegan that is true, but it’s humorous and I laugh with them because a joke is a joke and jokes are funny. Being a vegan is unusual and incredibly unpopular in Namibia and with that comes its own set challenges but I love a good challenge so I’m completely okay with it. People are accepting and very interested in what this is all about and willing to learn about being vegan with me and through me and I find that the loveliest and most rewarding part of my journey. I seem to be inspiring some people to consider being vegan or at the least, vegetarian and I love it. I did not expect to do that and that was in no way my initial intention for going vegan but it’s a lovely consequence and it brings joy to my heart. All in all, I’m having a fantastic time and I cannot wait to see what happens over the next few months.