Vegan MoFo Day 2 – My Vegan and Gluten Free Origins Story

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Welcome to day 2 of Vegan MoFo 2013! As you may be aware, September is Vegan Month of Food and I’m taking part with my a-z of gluten free veganism. Before we start on our alphabetical journey I’d like to give you the chance to get to know me a little better by giving you the story of how I became vegan and gluten free.

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Me at my high school prom (16 years old)

I’ve been vegan for two years now and gluten free for one. I began my transition at 14 years old by giving up meat and becoming a pescetarian. As a child I hated meat and would only eat chicken or heavily processed meats like sausages, burgers and pies. I hated both the flavour and texture of meat in its true form. I’ve always been an animal lover too so it was a combination of things that led me to pescetarianism. The reasons I didn’t give up fish were mainly to do with misconceptions about the lack of food choices available to vegetarians, both from me and my parents. I therefore lived on a diet of tuna, salmon, Quorn and Linda McCartney for the rest of my high school years. I finally gave up fish while I was in college after a pretty nasty food poisoning incident at a chip shop in Llandudno that was just the push I needed to go full vegetarian. Apart from a short period of time while I was at university, I have been vegetarian ever since.

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Me at 17 years old

I was always very sceptical of veganism. I thought it was too extreme and I didn’t understand the problems with drinking milk, eating eggs and wearing wool. I was definitely the type of vegetarian that lived off cheese and eggs and so the idea of giving up those types of food filled me with dread. When I was around 16 years old I had a lot of stomach problems and went on an elimination diet to find out if certain foods could be causing the pain. I tried giving up every type of food group apart from dairy and gluten as these two seemed the hardest. Eventually I gave up dairy and immediately felt much better. Although I still had no idea about the moral implications of eating dairy, I had no choice but to cut it out of my diet. Once I’d given it up I spent a lot of time researching the dairy industry and now understand why vegans choose to avoid being any part of it. This was a huge step towards me becoming vegan as I already didn’t like honey.

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18 years old at Whitby Abbey

The only thing left in my diet that prevented me from being vegan was eggs. Throughout my time as a vegetarian I’ve always felt that eating eggs was not quite right. I adored eating them scrambled, boiled or fried and I was guilty of eating eggs that were not free range because they were cheaper. As time went on I became more and more uneasy about it and I began eating free range eggs only. Eventually when I was 20 years old I bit the bullet and cut them from my diet completely for a week to see whether I’d survive. I became completely vegan and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

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20 years old in Llandudno

Last year I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance which was a big blow to my diet. It surprised me how many foods I ate that contained gluten and it has taken me a long time to change my diet for the better. Supermarkets are now extremely helpful if you are avoiding gluten as most of them have a huge free from section. However, most gluten free baked goods contain egg or milk. For a while I ate a few different brands of gluten free bread which contained egg as I had no idea how to cut bread out of my life. It took a lot for me to give up bread completely for a while and I was at a loose end when it came to breakfast or lunch. It was one of the best things I did to help me cope with my new diet though as it forced me to explore other options. I have now reintroduced small amounts of bread into my diet. I eat DS Ciabattas or B Free Wraps which are both vegan and gluten free. These are a treat and convenience food for me as I now try to focus on a mostly whole foods diet which does wonders for my health. I have recently been diagnosed just on my symptoms as a coeliac which is an allergy rather than an intolerance which has made me even more determined to stick to an entirely gluten free diet.

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Me last month at WOMAD Music Festival

My journey to gluten free veganism has been a long and, at times, difficult one but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I feel healthier than I ever have done and the variety of food I eat has increased more than I could ever imagine. Once you cut out the bad foods it opens a whole world of alternatives to you and makes eating an exciting and fulfilling experience again. I now feel that I am making a difference with my vegan diet and I would never go back to eating meat, fish, dairy or eggs. Gluten free has also made me feel amazing. My advice if you are giving up gluten is to think about what you can eat rather than what you can’t. Use the opportunity to research foods you’ve never tried before and look at it as a positive change to your diet. Above all, do your research. There are so many blogs, books and societies out there which can help.

If you have any questions about gluten free veganism don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Later this week I’ll be doing an FAQ and answering some of the questions that are often asked by people looking into vegan, gluten free diets so please get in touch!

                            .                                                                                        .                                                                                        .

How did you become vegan or gluten free?

Are you at the start of your journey?

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13 thoughts on “Vegan MoFo Day 2 – My Vegan and Gluten Free Origins Story

  1. Thanks for sharing your becoming vegan story! I’ve been vegan for, um, 7 1/2 years next week and before that I was veggie for a few years. It took me finding out that the cheese in pesto had animal rennet in it to push me over to the vegan side. I’d already been leaning that way for about a year or so for animal rights reasons so I just needed that extra push!

  2. Lovely to get to know you, I was vegetarian for errrrr 25 years before turning vegan January 1st 2013! It wasn’t a massive step as I didn’t drink milk, eat eggs, honey or yoghurt. But I was addicted to cheese. I suffered with lots of headaches and as soon as I became vegan the headaches stopped! I haven’t looked back since.

  3. I´m vegan and glutenfree and happier than ever 🙂 especially now with the vegan MoFo 🙂 And I always say: When you have to limit what you´re used to, you compensate by learning more about things that you´re not used to. It can be quite interesting because you find new foods and cooking techniques, etc.

  4. what a nice post. I love seeing the changing color of your hair from year to year!
    I went vegetarian at age 14, but I never even heard about veganism until many years later, when I was probably 26 or so. I made friends with two people at my job who were vegans, and within about a year, I was vegan too. Like you said, I didn’t know about the unethical issues behind dairy and eggs, but once I learned, there was no going back. Now, I’ve been vegan for over 13 years. woooooot! I love it so much, because it feels so right for my heart and my conscience.

  5. I love your outlook on the opportunities that being gluten free has opened up…what you are allowed to have! It’s such a downer when people ignore that part.

    I actually made the switch to a vegan diet backwards of the way most people do. I gave up the eggs and the cheese first. I was diagnosed with allergies to gluten, soy, dairy and egg and a sensitivity to honey which I never liked much either. After playing around with them for a little while and getting sicker, I cut them out completely. Months later, after a severe bacterial infection, a stay in the hospital, and numerous rounds of antibiotics, I decided to do an experiment in cutting out meat. At the time, I just wanted to give my digestive track a chance to replenish while not having to work as hard to process the meat. That was on September 9, 2007 – 6 years ago next week! I’ve never had another bite. Besides the fact that I just felt better, it was like that decision took the dairy/egg allergy out of the allergy realm and made them my choice. It was emotionally very freeing. And the online gluten free/vegan community has been growing and super helpful! I’m not completely vegan lifestyle wise, but lean that way a lot more than I used to.

  6. Pingback: Vegan MoFo Round Up! | Vegan Beckles

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