A journey to veganism

   Shortly after settling down in the Big Apple, I developed a weird skin reaction. Seeing many different specialists, it was apparently linked to my poor diet that included meat. I was already considering myself as a low meat-eater but was still eating a burger from time to time! To understand why my skin reaction was linked to
my animal product consumption, I did a deep dive into the meat industry and learned that this industry was injecting antibiotics to animals and had terrible health impacts. I decided to stop eating meat at this point, and one month later my skin was back to normal. I was relieved and became excited to learn more about animal product industries.I wish I had known earlier the impact of animal product consumption on animal welfare, the planet, and my health.


   Who gives you the option to try vegan food for the first time? When do you learn about a vegan lifestyle? Unfortunately, unless you seek out this information, or are lucky enough to have a vegan in your life, these things may never happen. I had to reset my food habits as well as my lifestyle.

 

   Back in May 2019, I adopted a fully plant-based diet. I was already aware of the animal products industries' drastic consequences watching amazing documentaries such as Cowspiracy, What the Health, Dominion. Unfortunately, nobody had ever told me about the amazing effect of being vegan. When most of us consider changing our habits, we tend to see the restrictions of such changes. “I will have to stop eating cheese, fish, butter…”, instead of visualizing the amazing new opportunities that a change brings to your life. To quit smoking is tough, but after a period of time, you will begin to feel the many positive impacts it has on you. It’s the same with veganism.


   No one had ever told me how amazing the vegan lifestyle was until I met my first vegan friend through the She for She network. Naturally, I met more and more vegan people in the City who inspired me and showed me the way. If they can do it, why couldn’t I? All beings, meaning every single animal, not just cats and dogs. It’s hard to describe how much joy being vegan can bring, it’s an intense and powerful positive change. I feel now that I am more grounded, more connected to wildlife and every being

   After realizing you aren’t restricting your food options then you also discover how amazingly tasty the food is. I used to say I could never live without cheese (I’m French!), but here I am loving the vegan life! We [I tend not to take all the credit when I’m cooking? There is very often someone close by to help me!] blow people’s minds when we cook. It’s actually super easy. You can find cruelty free butter and cheese in every store now in the City and it’s spreading all over the world. We can find more and more products with almost similar tastes and textures matching the harmless ethic, which have not been tested on animals or using animal lives. The idea is to explore the diversity of nature. Chickpeas are my best ally. Did you know you could make whipped egg whites with chickpea juice (called Aquafaba). I used to love Nutella when I was a child, today I’m eating a vegan chocolate spread with no palm oil. So not only, I eat cruelty-free but also have a much better impact on the environment.


   Embracing the vegan values changed my cooking skills. I’m more aware of the products, and their journey to come to my plate.

 I don’t buy packaged fruits, or packaged vegetables anymore. I’m respectful of all ingredients. Being vegan is not only about food, it’s about a more respectful lifestyle for everyone.

 

The food aspect is, indeed, a huge part of it. 3 times a day I decide to be part of the world I want to live in. I feel more connected, more aware of my surroundings.


   The day you become vegan you will become also aligned with your human, environmental values. We all dream of a better world. A future more mindful of everyone. Veganism helps us move toward this direction.

   There is no other way. We cannot claim we want this world to be better without changing our daily habits and way of life. We eat on average 3 meals a day. When preparing those meals we can choose to be harmless, to not cause pain and live a healthy and mindful life.

   Every day we make decisions. Every day you can decide to live the way we all dream about. A more sustainable, less violent world, not only for ourselves but for all beings.

   And guess what it’s possible everywhere, I’m currently on a cross country trip from NYC to SF and found amazing vegan meals. I’m being hosted by people and would go grocery shopping and prepare them dinner or lunch, and all of them are being impressed by the taste of the food. This dad even stole the tempeh piece out of his son’s plate! So it’s that easy, just go grab your amazing ingredients and make something tasty and cruelty free for everyone to enjoy.


   What does the vegan world look like? A less violent world, a non-harming one, not only for animals but also for all beings. Respecting the value of life forces you to find alternatives to the mainstream solutions, cultivate your uniqueness, your joy, own less, and be present. I like to think that the evolution of humankind is a moral one, a non-violent one.

Maybe finding, all together, our common soul. We are one.

Playlist while adpating this article for Julie

Fool for you – Snah Aalegra “I love you time and time again” #UnconditionalLove
Cosmic Caribbean Cruise by Cosmic gardens – (available on Soundcloud) #plantpower
Un Solo Mundo by Maya Burns #ourplanet
Natural Blues - Moby #activism
Documentaries - Cowspiracy and The Game Changers. I highly recommend these 2 amazing documentaries.

—Elsa Lagache
Instagram: @Healmyplanet
Website: www.healmyplanet.com