Sunday, February 08, 2015

VEGANUARY: IT'S A WRAP!

Dear gorgeous person you!

If you're visiting my blog for the first time, welcome - if you're not then thanks v much for coming back :)

As you may know, I worked on a video series called #JoyDoesVeganuary - all of which you can watch here. Although very successful with thousands of views especially on Facebook, unfortunately the series has now ended as Veganuary was only for the month of January. So here I am, trying to take a moment to reflect on my time doing Veganuary.

I heard about Veganuary for the first time on Twitter in December 2014 when I was doing my 22-day vegan challenge. Before this time, I had never considered being vegan and all of a sudden, it was taking over my life - almost overnight. I was enjoying it so much, I decided to do Veganuary as well but I did not just want to do it on the down-low, I wanted to spread the word too. Hence the quick-thinking part of me thought to tweet founder  Matthew Glover who was so kind to tweet back. I emailed him and got the most lovely email from Marketing Manager Clea Grady - we quickly scheduled a phone call and ended up speaking for the best part of an hour.

Clea and I clicked - not just in terms of the idea for the video series I was proposing but also as individuals. She listened keenly and her enthusiasm for Veganuary shone right through. I was very surprised to learn that Clea herself only became vegan less than a year ago after she tried veganuary for the first time in 2014. I could see why she got me and my idea and it seemed that's exactly what Veganuary were looking for - someone who had never been a vegan before, trying it out for the first time - this is their exact audience.

Veganuary are not looking to preach to people about how guilty they should feel because they eat meat or how they think omnivores are contributing to animal cruelty - veganuary are simply saying "Try being vegan in January and we'll support you through it" and that's it. They have an amazing website with a wealth of resources such as recipes, all the health benefits as well as recommendations of places to eat near you. They also have an amazing facebook group where people are ridiculously welcoming and extremely supportive of each other. Everyday people very actively post their foods, recipes and words of encouragement for others. It's fantastic - you ask one question about vegan cheese and in a minute you get about 20 people respond with a lot more than what you need.

Back to Clea and I - from the very first phone call, through to the making of our video series, she was one amazing lady - so supportive, so open to ideas, so involved and ridiculously enthusiastic about being vegan, yet I never for once felt an ounce of judgement or prejudice towards me not being fully vegan. She even gave me my own veganuary profile here.

Despite a whole month and a half of almost daily emails, phone calls and the occasional failed skype calls (megalols), I met Clea for the first time at the veganuary wrap party - check us both out in the 3rd pic down - a memory that I will forever cherish. She was just as I imagined - full of life and simply amazing. I also met Jane Land and Matthew Glover - both a couple and the founders of Veganuary (both on the left in the first picture down with my fellow presenter Anneka Svenska standing next to me).

I obviously knew that my vegan journey was necessary for me and definitely worth it,  but having met all three of these guys at the wrap party, it felt like the last piece fell into place. I can't quite describe what I mean by that in words but you could perhaps imagine what I mean. If you're going to try going vegan, I seriously recommend having the support network that Veganuary provides, or similar.


Although I felt sad that veganuary has come to an end, I had an amazing time at the wrap party hosted at Tibits - a newly found fav vegan & vegetarian restaurant in Heddon Street, London.  Since the end of Veganuary, I have continued my vegan journey but only about 90% of what I what is vegan - you'd be surprised that 8 out of that 10% is actually chocolate (containing dairy) and only 2% is meat lol. It's not that I haven't been able to get vegan chocolate but I have to go to a big superstore to get it (There's one 2mins away from home but instead I just get chocolate on the go every time I get petrol because I'm LAZY!!!!!). 

You may ask why only about 2% of what I eat is meat but I've now found that my body can't digest meat anymore. When I eat it, I feel so heavy, constipated (sorry - TMI) and just last night, I hit a new low - several hours of acid reflux after eating jerk chicken! I have no idea why considering I have always been a meat-eater all of my life. Why after only 2months of being off animal products is my body is now saying no???

As damning as it feels to go through the physical reaction my body has towards meat these days, I'm actually secretly happy because I have learnt so much about the treatment of animals since researching and interacting with vegans - not just from an animal cruelty perspective but also from a "what quality of packaged shit am I putting in my body" type of perspective - with all due respect to the beautiful animals that are harmed on a daily basis.

I have a lot of questions that need answering - both from a vegan and non-vegan point of view. Is it (un)natural to eat meat? Will stop eating animal products actually make a difference to animal cruelty? Does eating meat mean that we aren't compassionate? Why is the animal product industry especially dairy and meat very top secret? Is it mean to kill animals? Is it okay to at least give them a good life and just kill them anyway? Argghhh so many questions in my head!!!!!! In all of this, I have learnt so much about myself and how much of a conscious eater I could be.

Despite veganuary being over, my vegan journey goes on. I'm now looking to start a new video series about vegan food but exploring it primarily from a health perspective. I am looking for a sponsor for these videos so if you by any chance know any companies who will be willing to sponsor some of my videos, please let me know.

Lots of Love
J
xo xo 

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