Being vegan really makes me happy – for the first time ever I actually think about what ingredients to buy and how I am going to cook them. I play with flavours, make notes and improve on my dishes by the day. I have also never felt this healthy before! I urge to take a run every afternoon and I easily opt for a glass of lemongrass water instead of wine to accompany my meals. But becoming a vegan can sometimes get a little lonely… especially as an Afrikaans girl living in South Africa. My family and I are really close, but lately they have been complaining that I don’t sit around the fire stacking cheese crackers with them anymore, as I spend that time in the kitchen, blending smoothies and roasting veggies. I also have a very non-vegan boyfriend who LOVES anything meaty. He adores dining at barbeque-style restaurants that offer extra-large portions of sticky pork ribs or sharing a seafood platter before hitting the movies, which I now can’t do anymore since converting from pescatarian to vegan.
It is difficult to find the right support in a meat-eating family and friendship group. If you have a vegan friend, colleague or family member, you should count yourself extremely lucky! It saddens me when I cook a delicious, 100% vegan friendly meal or side-dish and no-one makes an effort to even taste it. There has been a few times, especially with the sweet delights like smoothies, where everyone is keen to take a bite, but it doesn’t happen often.
When you find yourself in this lonely situation, just remember why you are doing what you are doing and who you are doing it for. Each time someone pulls a funny face at your lentil and chickpea bredie, a little lamb is enjoying another day of freedom. Sounds corny, I know, but this is what strives me to carry on and not loose hope. Join veganism groups on Facebook and Instagram, interact on vegan blogs and attend vegan food workshops, book launches and animal activations. Help out at an animal shelter on a Saturday afternoon (my favourite one is Darg in Hout Bay) or treat yourself to a soya milk latte at a local coffee bar… you are bound to come across someone who share in your passion of meat-free living. Most importantly, continue to cook fresh, healthy vegan meals! Eventually your friends and family will (probably by accident) taste something that they love. Just last week I made a delicious potato salad with egg-free mayo for a braai Sebastian hosted… and the boys literally licked out the bowl. They were shocked to find it vegan, but nevertheless said they loved it. It lifted my spirits so much and inspired me to try more recipes that non-vegans will find appealing.
So don’t lose hope! You might be lonely, but you most certainly are not alone. Sending lots of love and positive vibes to all the lovely, lonely vegans out there xx