Tales of a vegan runner

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“Oh my word… are you VEGAN??!!”

That question always get’s me. I imagine that, if one were to encounter the Flying Spaghetti Monster, they would ask for confirmation of identity in the same, shocked and uncomfortable manner.

“Oh my word… are you the THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER??!!”

Obviously there is not much difference between vegans and the The Flying Spaghetti Monster. We are both really weird creatures that are not of this world. Right? Truth is, vegans are not strange, alien creatures determined to destroy your burger (and happiness) by sprinkling a healthy dose of guilt over your conscience. We are just normal people who happen to believe in a cause.

It is not my job to convince you that we are good guys, or that you must give up meat and dairy. I just wanted to share my personal story in an effort to answer the very simple question… “WHY are you VEGAN??!!”

Four legged brat

When I was a kid I wanted to be a horse. So I did what any self respecting child would do. I started running around on all fours. Teachers were concerned, my parents were concerned and other children were scared.

There was talk about perhaps sending me to a school that could cater to my special needs- but in my tiny mind it made sense. I loved animals so much and just wanted to relate to them. It was kind of hard to communicate this through a series of neighs so, unfortunately, I went misunderstood for years.

After much prompting I started to walk on two legs again but my childlike obsession with animals continued. Shelves were filled with animal toys that were taken to school and confiscated by teachers who wanted to interrupt playtime with learning (so selfish). I was in trouble more often than not for living in a dream world filled with awesome ponies and puppies instead of paiyng attention to maths.

Save the animals

3While I was figuring it all out (was I a horse? was I human?) I decided to also stop eating meat and adopt a plant based diet. I was about 16 at the time. The heartache and guilt of knowing that the creatures I loved so much were being killed to be on my plate was overwhelming and I haven’t looked back since.

Later, that decision was solidly cemented when I started working as an inspector at an animal welfare organisation. The job really opened my eyes to the cruelty of the meat and dairy industry, as well as all the other incidences of animal cruelty common in our country. There were things I saw that can never be erased and, although I had to eventually change jobs because it all became too much, it firmed my resolve to do what I could to help those that cannot speak for themselves. Switching to a plant based diet and vegan lifestyle was the most proactive and logical step for me.

Food for thought

2Going vegetarian, or vegan, is a very personal choice but it is also a really exciting journey that I would encourage everyone to explore. The decision to cut out meat and dairy features numerous health and environmental benefits.  You also get to save thousands of little guys who would not otherwise have a shot at a decent life, which is always great!

The wonderful thing about living the lifestyle in this day and age is that there are so many fantastic recipes and products out there that taste delicious, making this lifestyle so easy to stick to. Personally, I absolutely love the Fry’s brand, which features strongly in my diet to provide necessary protein for sustenance during a hard training week. I also respect what they stand for and that they are actively involved in the community (the Fry’s Yoga Club is a perfect example).

Take the step

Someone once said to me that adopting a plant based diet and vegan living is a process. You can’t just jump into the deep end and eliminate everything all at once. You can start by making small changes and working towards adopting a fully began lifestyle. I really do believe that every little bit counts and, if you have been toying with the idea, then it is definitely something worth further investigating.

A great way to get started is to take the 30 Day Vegan Pledge, which helps you out with simple steps while you investigate and learn more about the benefits of a plant-based diet and vegan living. If that is too much, there is the meat free monday campaign, which is a simple way to start making a difference in the world.

Resources

There is so much information and support out there that make the transition easy and painless. There are still misconceptions out there and, creating a well balanced and healthy plant based diet, can go a long way in saving the animals, the environment and boosting your health. For more information check out the following links

1South African Vegan Society

Vegan Society

Frys Family Food

Conscious Cafe

Chilliplum

Make the Connection

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