In April 2016, I made the incredible decision of transitioning to Veganism. Something other than an Instagram fad, but a lifestyle always rising in popularity, involving love, peace and contentment. And, of course, joy for all beings.
Standing out from my family, I had never been a keen meat eater. I would never opt for meat during meal times and would always feel more comfortable choosing alternative options. I believe that consciously, I always knew it was wrong for me to consume animals who simply wanted to fulfil the entirety of their lives. Thankfully, my family have always remained supportive of my choices and have never forced any kind of lifestyle upon me.
As I also struggle with Anorexia Nervosa, Veganism may be viewed as another way of restricting certain food groups or making excuses for not eating things containing animal products. Though this may be the case for other sufferers, it isn’t for me. Not every choice make is Anorexia driven. And I wish to flourish into the happy Vegan I’m destined to be, for myself and my beautiful animal companions, with the message that Veganism can be helpful for those suffering from all kinds of Eating Disorders. But as Veganism grows, so does the demand for products suitable for myself and others.
Choosing Veganism has enabled me to feel as though I have a purpose. My purpose that remained unawakened for a lengthy duration of my life. Being a voice for the voiceless and caring for animals in the same way they care for me and turn the darkest days into brighter ones. I made the decision to switch on my own, which gave me independence and a sense of free will. Veganism for me hasn’t just been about transforming my dietary choices, but about strengthening my love of animals and kindness overall and about making a positive impact in our world.
Widening my eyes and increasing my knowledge into the harsh realities of the dairy industry (Prior to becoming Vegan, I was Veggie so I was already aware of the meat industry…) had implications in my decision. Witnessing animals being forced into a torturous and heartbreakingly cruel industry, where they are constantly used and abused like machines and torn away from their traumatised mothers was something I simply couldn’t contribute to anymore. Educating myself, and realising I don’t need animal products in order to survive, changed my life and my outlook into just how unfairly animals are treated in our world.
Additionally, as I am on a pathway to a career within the animal care industry I felt it was only natural of me to become Vegan. Because caring for animals is my life and something I am highly dedicated to. If anything, it’s given me even more of a reason to fight. Animals aren’t able to speak up for themselves in an understandable way, which is why people like myself do it on their behalf.
My Anorexia has deprived me of countless things. Memories and friends have been lost, but my admiration for animals has always remained strong as a reminder of why I must fight. Being a life-long animal lover, I felt Veganism heightened the compassion I’ve always held in my heart for animals of all kinds. Transitioning to a cruelty-free lifestyle has enabled me to not only choose compassion, but to also feel increasingly compassionate (and happier!) too as I do all I can to minimise animals’ suffering with my food and lifestyle choices. Knowing my lifestyle reduces cruelty and suffering fills me with copious amounts of joy and fulfilment.
With the compassion I hold in my heart for animals, viewing them as my lifelong friends, I’ve been aiming to find the same level for myself as I work hard in my recovery pathway. Veganism isn’t a magical cure for mental illnesses and it’s vital to acknowledge that, though, it can give people a brighter outlook on life. Recently, my lovely teacher reminded me that I must care for myself in the same way I care for animals. Meaning, I mustn’t rush to give myself a hard time when I am faced with mental and physical battles day in and day out.
The life lessons we learn from animals are phenomenal and irreplaceable. From them, we can gain an increased understanding regarding love, happiness, care and compassion – all of which we struggle to apply to ourselves at times. Especially whilst going through a dark patch.
Spending my time volunteering with animals continuously insights me into the loving beings we’re blessed to have with us. And for me, Veganism will only continue to aid me in my recovery pathway from Anorexia and other mental illnesses.