Tuesday 16 January 2018

Pros and Cons of Veganism After Going Vegan For a Year

pros and cons of veganism

After going vegan for a year, I am intrigued to report that so much has changed. There are so many pros and cons of veganism, and these are my own personal experiences with it. [Wondering why I've been vegan for a year? Read my vegan success story - how and why travel made me vegan]

Pros of Being Vegan

Before I start, I want to say that all of the good stuff below sounds super showey-offey. Sorry, but it is all true and whilst I'm obviously not a doctor, I know my own body better than anyone, and the side effects of being vegan are solely, or at least partially, responsible for curing my acne, IBS, painful periods, brittle hair, constant cold and hypochondria. Part of my degree involved studying medical statistics, so I'm aware that some of these things have been influenced by other external factors, and I'll try to make sure I mention the ones I'm aware of. Also, there's a high chance of over-share in this post... Soz

#1. Vegan acne treatment

why veganism is bad

One of the things that made me become vegan in the first place, was to try and improve my awful adult-acne skin. Within one week of quitting dairy, my skin felt better - no longer tight or oily. After a few weeks, my chin and nose had cleared up. After going vegan for a year I can confirm one of the biggest pros of being vegan is clearer, healthier skin.

Whilst veganism didn't clear up my skin completely, it most definitely helped improve it by at least 70%, which I took for a gigantic win because nothing else had ever even slightly improved it. (The nothing else being: getting more sun, cutting out fatty foods, exercising more, quitting make up, washing more, washing less, drinking more water, facials, popping, pretending I didn't have bad skin and of course applying: olive oil, lemon, aloe vera, peroxide, toothpaste and a whole range of over the counter products.)

Perhaps I'm lactose intolerant - apparently, around 65% of adult humans are, all I know is, if you struggle with acne, try going vegan, it helped me and I hope it helps you too. Anyway, going vegan as acne treatment makes sense - acne comes from hormones, and even if the milk you're drinking hasn't been pumped full of hormones (which it probably has), there are still the natural hormones that mummy cows give their baby cows. Plus you are what you eat - and legally, minute amounts of pus are allowed to be in cow milk. Does ingesting pus directly lead to spots?

#2. Body Odour after going vegan

cons of veganism

How quickly can I go into over-share? Vegans smell and taste better - ask my bf.

#3. Vegan Digestion

pros of being vegan

When I was at university I had the worst IBS. My stomach hurt all the time and it made me super unhappy - especially because all the doctors I saw were very quick to sweep it under the rug "we don't have a cure for that", "it's not even that bad". To be honest, my IBS mostly cleared up after I left university and started bumming my way around Australia stress-free (and of course stopped wearing clothes that were uncomfortable).

But I would still get IBS if I was stressed out, if I ate too much, if I was eating with people I didn't know that well or if I was wearing tight clothes. It's 100% stopped now I'm vegan. I personally think non-vegan diets are super bad for your digestive system. I know people like to say our ancestors ate meat, dairy and eggs, but they definitely ate it a lot less than people do nowadays. I know people also like to say that vegan diets give you the shits... but I think non-vegan diets bung you up. I'm not saying vegan shit doesn't smell... I'm just saying it smells less than others. hahahahahah.

#4. Vegan Face fat

going vegan for a year

I lost a bunch (still not all) of my chubby face chub.

#5. Vegan strength

vegan hangover food

But I'm not too fussed about looking/being fat. I'm much more into being strong. I cannot get over how much stronger I am as a vegan - my endurance is through the roof! I love boxing, and I go to a super hardcore club. After 1.5 hours, I'm exhilarated and amazed that a lot of the 'tough' guys can't keep up. And I can finally do push-ups. Yey.

#6. Vegan hair

side effects of being vegan

It's not just my muscles, my nails and hair are stronger too. I don't really care about that but like, the more pros of being vegan the better. (Plus I can pretend to be Wolverine.)

#7. Vegan periods

body odour after going vegan

Before I became vegan I had the worst, most painful period cramps - and I had heavy days for seven days, but my cycle was only 21 days (so one week on, two weeks off, instead of the usual one week on three weeks off). Now, I have zero cramps. I'll still get the odd twinge, but it's absolutely nothing compared with what I used to have. I still have heavy days, but only for the first two days instead of the whole seven. PLUSSS it's now one week on, three weeks off. Yey.

I don't really know why this is a thing, but I'll take it as another one of the pros of being vegan. There's definitely no other reason this could be happening though other than my vegan diet. I do know that periods can stop if you're malnourished... I promise I'm not malnourished haha like I said I still get periods and to me, going from agonising periods to pain-free period can never be a bad thing.

#8. I learned how to cook

pros and cons of veganism
okay, I didn't cook this

It's not all physical things either, one of the side effects of being vegan meant that I finally learnt how to cook. When I ate meat I was the world's worst cook and hated cooking. Veganism in a way forced me to learn how to cook - it taught me how to adapt recipes, and quite frankly I think vegan cooking is easier - or rather it's harder to ruin vegan meals. IMO.

#9. I started eating out more

why veganism is bad

Whilst simultaneously cooking more at home, I found myself eating out more too... (so to clarify, before we would eat almost always at home, but it would be like sandwiches or shitty pasta, nothing special.) Anyway,  travel as a vegan quite a bit, but BV (before vegan), I wouldn't always eat out in a new country - it depended on how expensive eating out was, or rather, how good I thought the correlation of price and quality was - aka if it was expensive but divine I'd go for it, if it was expensive and not worth it, I wouldn't.

Since I became vegan, I always eat out in a new country, at least twice - I want to actively support vegan restaurants and cafes. Plus I'm always curious to try new vegan meals and cuisines because, quite frankly, if you've had beef in Australia, you've had beef in Hungary too, it's the same sht - but vegan food is different in each different restaurant.

#10. I didn't get food poisoning as a vegan

cons of veganism

In correlation with eating out, the first time I went to South East Asia (as a meat and dairy eater) I got food poisoning a lot - once really badly, and the rest of the time just "my tummy wasn't 100% right". The second time I went to South East Asia (this time as a vegan), I didn't get sick - not once. Not even "my tummy feels slightly off". Well, it could be that I was just more aware of where to eat/ not eat the second time?? - Trust me, I really wasn't, if anything the first time around I was way more cautious.

I will be 100% fair though and say this - yes you can get super bad food poisoning from undercooked meat and eggs in South East Asia, but you can also get super bad food poisoning from unwashed salad and reheated rice... So who knows. Maybe one of the side effects of being vegan is that my stomach is stronger, maybe it was already stronger from having been there in the past.

Cons of Veganism

I could honestly go on about the pros of being vegan forever (hence this website), I'm sure there are loads I've missed out - if you're vegan, please let me know your pros of being vegan so I can write them in if they apply to me too ;) But it's not all sunshine and rainbows over here in vegan-land, there are of course some cons of veganism, and I'm going to go into them now:

#1. Vegan Alcohol

pros of being vegan

As a vegan, my alcohol tolerance is lower than ever - as anyone who has ever met me will tell you - it couldn't get much lower. But hey, at least I can go out for cheap. So... do vegans get worse hangovers? Yeah, I found that my hangovers are worse as a vegan. I used to be able to drink and just feel kind of cosy-ill the next day - like I wouldn't be running marathons, but I'd have a great time eating fatty foods and watching shit films. Now I feel so sick the next day, and sometimes even the day after too!! Boohoo, poor me. Despite my friends insisting I need a full (meaty) English to cure a hangover, it might not be vegan related, my newfound hangover weakness might just be because I'm getting old. Waaa.

Vegan hangover food: incidentally, one of the reasons why veganism is bad is definitely not being able to have traditional (British) hangover food. Like full English breakfast, steak and kidney pie, etc etc. 
After going vegan for a year, and after a lot of extensive research (just for you!) I finally have the vegan hangover food cure(s):

being vegan for a year

Bristol vegan full English breakfast: roast veg, vegan sausages, tomato, mushroom, hash-browns, baked beans.

vegan hangover food

London vegan full English breakfast: tomato, avocado, baked beans, vegan sausage, hash-browns, mushrooms, toast

side effects of being vegan

Homemade vegan full English breakfast: toast, baked beans, mushrooms, tomato, avocado, chips.

body odour after going vegan

Cheltenham vegan full English breakfast: toast, almond butter, spinach, tomatoes, vegan sausages, hash-browns, mushrooms. I actually made a cooking video where I'm preparing just this kind of food:

#2. I get fewer colds as a vegan

pros and cons of veganism

How is that a negative, Laura? Well speaking of 'cosy-ill', I was always a sucker for secretly enjoying having a cold - you get to have a duvet day and watch more shitty films, what's not to love?! Since becoming a vegan I think I've had one cold - I flew Dubai to Bulgaria (flights are always a great place to pick up colds), spent the night in a cold airport, and then flew Bulgaria to Budapest... so yea. I blame WizzAir for that one. Before I was vegan I used to get at least six colds a year.

#3. Vegan food is more expensive... or is it?!?

why veganism is bad

Okay I need to do a whole blog post about this, ostensibly I think vegan food is cheaper than non-vegan food, but it depends what you're buying - if you go for fruit, veg, rice, potatoes, lentils, tofu (in most countries), then your weekly shop will be way cheaper than Mr and Mrs beef, pork and cheese. Similarly, in a restaurant that's mainly meat-centric, with the odd vegan or vegetarian-that-can-be-turned-into-vegan option, the vegan option will always be cheaper...

BUT there is this annoying trend of start-ups that think vegan food is a commodity and thus they can charge more for it - lots of vegan restaurants are expensive. Personally, I don't mind because I think the quality is better, and I want to support veganism. But when there aren't many places for you to eat, and the only ones that you can eat at are more expensive... I get that that's annoying.

ANYWAY all that aside, my weekly food is definitely more expensive, but it's not really because it's vegan. It's more expensive because when I went vegan, I then started thinking about all the other shit I was putting in my body that wasn't serving it - like pesticides, and I started shopping organically where possible. Now that's definitely more expensive.

But like, if you're not going to pay a little bit more to not be poisoned, where are your priorities? I think your health should be your top concern. But that's just me. Being vegan definitely doesn't mean you have to be organic and being vegan doesn't have to mean your food costs more.

#4. Being vegan can make you more 'woke'

Following from above and thinking about organic food, I'm now way more into 'issues' - it's true what they say about opening Pandora's box. Suddenly I'm not just thinking about whether it hurt an animal to create it, I'm checking for palm oil, I want it to be organic, I'm trying to avoid plastic, blah blah blah. This isn't necessarily a reason why veganism is bad, I'm just saying it's well annoying. Things were so much easier when I didn't give af. Oh to be so young and naive.

#5. Everyone becomes a doctor

Veganism has almost cured my hypochondriasis, almost, I will have the occasional relapse and find something 'wrong' but when I tell my mum, my dad or my best friend they will always find a way to link it back to the cons of veganism. It makes it hard to share if you actually think something is wrong. Like I'm kind of stubborn, I'd rather die of lack of protein than admit I'm wrong...

And it's not just the stuff I mention, they constantly bring me stuff I should be thinking about, like "are you getting enough omega 3" which is something they never did when I was a meat-eating student living off pizza, vodka and weed. Lol. But I know they do it from a place of love, and it is important to think about your health as a vegan (just like it's important to think about your health when you're not a vegan). Read more: are vegans unhealthy?

Why Veganism Is Bad

The cons of veganism aren't too bad, but there are a couple of things that have been down-right ugly to being vegan. This is why veganism is bad:

#1. I've lost friends

cons of veganism

So, whilst most of my friends/family have been downright troopers about my 'transition' - especially considering I have no chill and probably didn't handle the whole thing in the best way (I'm conscious that I'm now very much a stereotypical asshole vegan). But yea, most people ran with it or even jumped on board.

But not all people, I lost two really good friends because we could no longer see eye-to-eye about things. I think ultimately they thought I judged them for not being vegan, which at the time wasn't true at all when I first became vegan I didn't judge anyone for not being vegan.

I feel bad about the way I handled things and sad we're not friends anymore- BUT, and this is a big but, I am far from taking the entire blame. They pulled two really big horrible stunts on me and my boyf, including: trying to trick us into eating a cheese salad, and, letting us order a pasta in a restaurant that they knew came with meat. Uncool.

I've had other people say they don't feel like they're allowed to eat meat in front of me, or insist that they respect me for my food choices (which is then followed by a nice big awkward pause, where they wait for me to reply that I respect them for theirs. I'm not going to lie babes, stop trying to get me to make you feel better). It's not that I don't respect people who aren't vegan, it's just to me, logically, "I respect you for being vegan ergo you should respect me for not being vegan" doesn't make any sense. Anyway, losing friends isn't cool, but you've got to ask - if you lose friends over what you eat (or don't eat), where they really true friends in the first place?

#2. Vegan conscience

pros of being vegan

Following on sort of from my 'being more woke' point, dealing with my conscience was horrible. As much as I want people to become vegan, I don't wish the realisation of what you did on anyone. I used to think that the main reason why veganism is bad is that it was a form of brainwashing, but now I think it's the other way around, we're brought up thinking eating and torturing animals is normal, and when we face it, it feels so shit. I cried for like three days when I finally faced how many pigs I'd eaten and how many animals I'd 'inadvertently' harmed. I honestly think that meat and dairy products should come with a little sticker, like cigarettes do, showing you the damage you're doing to your body, or rather their bodies, by purchasing that crap.

#3. Vegan nightmares + all the meat & dairy you've never tried

Continuing on from conscience, I get nightmares about slaughterhouses, zoos and dairy farms. It's not cool, again something I'd never wish on anyone, and again ignorance is blissful. I also just realised I'll never eat an oyster. Man, I always wanted to try oysters... now I never will. Sad times. hahaha

Wrap Up: the Pros and Cons of Veganism After a Year

going vegan for a year

Thank you for reading this entire ramble about the pros and cons of veganism (in my opinion). If you're vegan, let me know in the comments below what you think the pros and cons of veganism are. If you're wanting to become vegan and need a few sharp pushes in that direction, please message me any time. I love pushing. I'm a pusher. A really good push for me, was watching Earthlings - here's our reaction video:

P.S.: Travel also had a big impact on my going vegan - I have written a blogpost about it here. Also, if you're interested in an app designed for vegans & wanna support the vegan movement and us, veganvstravel as well, use this link plz to download Abillionveg. When registering, please use our referral code: TRAVELLINGWEASELS. If you wanna know why we think this is a great app, read here.

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