The Journey: Part 1
I don’t really remember the day, to be honest, the specific day that I stopped eating meat. It was more of a slow process of eating less of it & a whole lot more frozen broccoli than I care to admit.
All of a sudden, I realised it had been MONTHS since I had eaten any meat. I kind of accidentally became a vegetarian & felt like a new woman. But to say I was nervous to tell anybody about my new lifestyle change, would be a MASSIVE understatement. I knew the stigma. Hell, I had possibly added to the problem many times throughout my life, with poorly timed jokes at the expense of someone else.
The Saturday afternoon that I had been dreading for months finally reared its ugly head… A family braai. It was time. Time to break the news to my VERY Afrikaans family that, “no, I will pass on the boerewors today, Oom. How about a fried mushroom instead?” Shock & horror followed this, as predicted & there was a moment of silence for the loss of a comrade. I scoffed down that rubbery mushroom & got the heck out of there before they had the chance to ask me, “but where will you get your protein?”
Although the braai was not nearly as difficult as I thought it might be, the judgement & scandal behind my choices extended past my family. Strangers felt the need to let me know why meat is a necessary part of my diet, their favourite argument being… “If we’re not meant to eat meat then why do we have canine teeth?”
The Journey: Part 2
My living hell was only perpetuated when I took the next step of becoming vegan. A no-brainer for me, but more of a NO-BRAIN to those around me. It was an easy transition, my only regret? Not doing it sooner.
I was living in the mountains of the Drakensberg at the time, doing yoga in the veld & eating tomatoes straight from the freaking earth, man. I was some kind of hippy, minus the leg hair (mostly.) I was always the odd one out. The black sheep, or rather the black BeyondMeat patty.
For the most part, being vegan in the Berg was a breeze. I got a few quizzical looks at coffee shops when I asked for non-dairy milk. Huh? Like… Goat milk? Uh. Never mind, I’ll just have still water. It was actually during that time that I learnt how to drink black coffee & pretend like it didn’t taste like sadness. I only cried in the shower a few times. WINNING!
But everything changed when I moved back to the city. Jozi, baba. You beaut! I found a community here, a community of like-minded people. A place where I could vent about the RIDICULOUS price of vegan yoghurt & not have someone roll their eyes straight back into their skull. I so appreciate that in a friend. If you’re looking for a starting point, I would highly suggest you check out my fellow veggie compatriot Caley’s blog, for all the inspiration you could ever hope for, honey!
Vegan Job Opportunities
At the same time, I realised that within this beautiful community of amazing people, there are a plethora of other factions. Societies within society & they’re out for blood. Human-blood, of course. They would not appreciate that joke!
I’ve affectionately named these groups; The Vegan Police, The Plastic Police, The Palm Sugar Police, The Gluten Police & The SAPS. Well, the last one is only on this list ‘cause I’m pretty salty about my lack of vegan wine in the cupboard, but that’s a whole other story.
These groups work tirelessly to ensure that you’re happy, but never TOO happy. Like your mother-in-law on a good day.
Enjoy that oat milk latte, Claire. But it better be in a paper cup! Oh, I hope you didn’t add any refined sugar to that? Is that coffee fair-trade? Are you going to recycle that cup or do you just hate sea turtles?
All I can say is that I am so happy that during a global pandemic, during this Coronacoaster, these cops have jobs & that they’re able to work from home! LUCKY! I just hope they’re being paid for their ‘ESSENTIAL’ services to the vegan community.
My wish is that this blog spot somewhere on the interweb inspires you. Inspires you to try a Fry’s Chicken Nugget without dry-heaving. Even if you chase it with a mouthful of fatty biltong. I’m not here to anybody; I’m just here for a good time not a long time, uhh. I mean, I’m here for the animals.
Eat food. Not too much, mostly plants.
“The most damaging phrase in language is; we have always done it this way.” Grace Hopper
While you’re here, check out some of my recent recipes with WellBe:
Until next time…