Why be a sheep when you can be a Unicorn!?

So being vegan, home educating 4 children and working from home, I am fully aware that I am not what society calls normal.

However I test anyone to pick me out in a crowd. I also defy what ‘normal’ people see as ‘normal’ by dressing in a very average way. I shop in the average mundane shops. No exciting patchwork jumpers or pixie hoods and DM boots which those ‘normal’ people like to assume a vegan and home educator dress.

I like branded trainers, wear make up and go to the gym. All the traits of a young woman growing up in the 21st century. Except I make sure everything I wear and use is not tested on animals.

Do i fit in any stereotypical category?

Not really. I pride myself on being different. Not the same. I dress how i want to dress, I eat what I want to eat and I parent how I want to parent.

My friends are such a wide variety of mums who home educate and don’t home educate, are vegan and not vegan. Who work and don’t work (Although parenting in itself is work so of course they all work)

Who dress in what society call normal and who dress in what society like to call alternative. Some of my friends pride them selves in dressing like they are going to a festival every day. (Their own words)

And I love that! I love that we can all be so different but all get along just the same.

I have no room for judgment in my life. Be who you want to be. I am not religious but have my own beliefs….main one being “be kind to all beings no matter how small.”

When my children scream and shout and whale about over a spider I roll my eyes, stay calm and save the poor little thing from their radical reaction. Where do they get it from?!!!

So I am told on a daily basis by friends and family that I am NOT normal. Sometimes by those who also pride themselves on NOT being normal, and sometimes by people who I can tell are trying to be slightly judgmental. But I always pride myself on taking it as a compliment either way.

After all, why would I want to be a sheep when I can be a Unicorn?!

Since going vegan I have found I’m constantly under judgment from others who don’t understand. Their main point being…”But we’ve done it for thousands of years” and “most of the population do it so…”

My reply is always the same…”So why follow when you can choose for yourself? You know in your heart what is right so why be a sheep when you can be a unicorn?”

My grandparents and even my parents generation (not all of course) genuinely believe the change from eating meat to vegan will never happen so why bother trying. I like to call these people the generation of the sheep. (Which is ironic given that the majority were brought up eating them) They were brought up in a world where everyone was conditioned to doing the same thing. Factory work and going to school to be alike each other.

Our generation and my children’s generation I believe are the generation of the Unicorn! We believe in change, we can home educate and see the light for other species not just our own. We have freedom to think and speak out for what we beleive. Thanks to social media we can make change happen faster too.

But what I really can’t wait for is the generation of the Rainbow!

Our rainbow babies yet to come. My grandchildren and great grandchildren who can be brought up in a world of kindness where meat on their plates is no longer the norm. Just like smoking in restaurants is not the norm for our children yet was very much the norm in our own childhoods.

I may be living a dream, but then I’m not ‘normal’. I’m a Unicorn! A mythical creature who stands for magic and hope and dreams coming true.

So ill take not being normal over normal any day!

Will you?

X

Going from meat eater to vegan….the step by step process

It always frutrates me when i hear people say “I can’t go vegan, the fake meat isn’t meaty enough.”

As a fully fledged vegan who doesn’t like eating animal flesh and doesn’t particularly want to be reminded that a) I used to eat flesh or b) others still do eat flesh every time I sit down to eat, therefore I am more than happy for the ‘mock’ meats to not taste or feel EXACTLY like the real thing.

Just because vegan food doesn’t taste the same doesn’t mean its not as tasty. You like meat because you are accustomed to it.

Take a baby for instance. Their first taste of food is usually a puree. Which ones did your infant lap up and prefer?

Well having had 4 children myself I happen to know all of mine loved fruit purees but were never overly keen on the meat variety. But they became accustomed to the flavours as we present them with them daily. We dont tell our children not to try new foods so why do so many adults fear trying a new healthier life style? Is it really just because something tastes slightly different?

As it happens, I do get it. I WAS that adult once. So heres the process of how I changed….

When I initially decided to become vegan just over 1year ago, I too kept shouting out about wanting more meat substitutes that tasted exactly like the real thing. Yet i felt so passionately about the cause that it wasn’t enough to put me off being vegan.

Firstly i found I needed to shop around more to get good substitutes. Its all very well to try one supermarket brand of ‘fake’ meat and say “yuck Im not trying substitute meat again!” But would you do that if it was a pack of real chicken nuggets?

No. You’d make sure you didn’t buy that brand again but it wouldn’t put you off all together.

So my advice through knowlede learnt the hard way is dont give up after one fail. Yes there are some rubbish alternatives out there, and yes most of these rubbish alternatives seem to be stacked up in shops instead of some of the better ones, but dont let it put you off! Shop around, shop online and you will find ones you like.

What I noticed start to happen to myself was that after a few months of not eating the real thing, Id go back and try again with certain substitutes i’d previuosly disregarded and to my amazement I found i liked them.

I can only put this down to my own natural way my body and tastebuds adjusted to my new diet. Slowly i started to not desire foods I once couldn’t live witout and I started to realise that vegan wasn’t tasteless or too smelly or squishy or any other sense I had experienced. I was simply only very used to certain foods and changing was different. Not worse.

Now that I’ve been vegan for as long as 1 year, which lets face it is no time at all, I am now very accustomed to the vegan diet and can’t bare the idea of eating certain foods i once loved.

The hardest part was cheese and eggs for me.

I started replacing cheese in my sandwiches for marmite and I could begin to stand the smell of the vegan parmesan cheese on my pasta instead of my usual mature cheddar and although I do eat alot of vegan cheeses I haven’t yet found one i like enough for my sandwiches. But that’s ok. I prefer fresh salad these days anyway and there are some amazing cheese spreads.

Ive always loved a fry up. Bacon and eggs were a big part of that! As I said above, I am accustomed to vegan bacon and really enjoy eating it. I never feel its not good enough or tasty enough. More than that, my husband and 4 children eat it too with no fuss so it must be good. We tried egg replacers to make scrambled egg at first but then I slowly realised we dont need eggs. At first i couldn’t imagine a fry up without eggs! But then after a while I stopped liking the idea of eggs all together.

Tonight for dinner my family of 6 all sat down for a fry up. Vegan sausages and bacon…no eggs.

Do you know not one family member asked for egg. Its the natural process, they dont even realise its missing, its just not needed any more.

The journey my family have been though has facsinated me, watching each individuals perspective change slowly at their own pace. How we’ve all adjusted to a new healthier life style and now try so many new foods, textures and flavours.

My children fought it at the begining and now they embrace it. (Almost all of the time. Lets not kid ourselves)

Milk was a big issue for me at first. I tried every plant based milk going, starting with soya. “Yuck, yuck yuck.”

I stopped drinking milk and stopped having cereal. Breakfast was toast for about 4 months! Still not a reason to refuse veganism. Still not a good enough reason to fund the toture and pain inflicted on animals. So I endured my new diet doing exactly what i always tell my children to do…try and try again.

I slowly I guess forgot the taste of cows milk and when trying soya milk again in cereal one day, I found i liked it. I found it tasted “normal”. I guess drinking it in my tea all this time was just enough for me to get used to the taste without realising it. That was the start of me realising that my taste buds were begining to accpet my new diet and not only that but the realisation that all those years of being conditioned to meat and dairy could be easily undone with a bit of determination. Dairy free is not worse..just different. Different in a good way, as now if i was asked to drink cows milk, my tastebuds would not like it one bit!

So my advice to all who moan that substitutes aren’t exactly the same….give them a chance, they are not worse, you have become conditioned to eating certain foods. Lets now condition ourselves to eating healthily for us, our children, our animal friends and for our planet!

Thank you.