I’m a dietary vegan. I don’t eat animal products and try to avoid them in other areas of my life.
There are several reasons why people go vegan. The first that most people think of when thinking about vegans is usually “for the animals.” Another is for environmental reasons. Others are for dietary reasons, allergies, digestion, etc. or health, high cholesterol, reduction in risk of certain cancers and so on. The main reasons for me are environmental and health.
My personal journey to eating vegan, becoming plant-based as the current term is, started in 1994. I was living with my parents whilst looking for a proper job (I was working as a temp in a local factory at the time). I became fed up of eating meat. I’d been struggling with turkey for a few years, which was putting me off chicken too. My mum cooked the traditional meat and two veg dinners, except for Friday which was fish and two veg but I had been used to having a variety of meals, including vegetarian and seafood when I cooked for myself. One day I stopped eating all meat. I still ate fish, so I became a pescatarian. At the time I had a friend who was vegetarian and another friend who was vegan.
After moving out of my parents’ house and moving in with a friend as we set up business together, I was able to experiment a bit more. It was then I started converting cake recipes to vegan, to cater for my vegan friend. Shortly after that, I started going out with one of her friends, another vegan, so my diet became more vegan. We lived together for quite a few years, even after we had split up as a couple, so my diet remained mainly vegan. The main reason I didn’t become completely vegan was that I was in the TA and the Army didn’t cater for vegans, only vegetarians.
My diet stayed as pescetarian for a long while, although I started to go off white fish and limited dark fish and other seafood as it kicked off gout attacks. Eventually, in 2016, I went vegetarian to stop fish triggering the gout. The following year, having had a medical checkup, it was revealed that my cholesterol was fairly high. As I had been eating a fair amount of dairy and egg products, I realised that I would have to stop eating them in order to lower the cholesterol. On my next checkup, after I went vegan, it was found that my cholesterol level had indeed dropped.
As I mentioned at the start of this, I am a dietary vegan. I still drink beer which may or may not have been fined with isinglass and I still wear leather boots after having tried vegan ones. For some this makes me not a “proper” vegan. Even so, for many years, back to the 90s, I have bought toiletries and makeup which hasn’t been made from or tested on animals and I do look at labels on many products to filter out animal friendly products.