Just being from a Bengali family was enough for me to make the path to be a vegan complicated. It’s not hard being vegan, but, it’s hard to make others understand why you are vegan even if the country you are living in has 30% vegan rate.
Although 30% of the India eats vegan products, I guarantee you that most of them ain’t a real vegan. I am not blaming anyone but it’s funny how most of the population think milk is vegan-friendly in a country where the literacy rate is 75% (Seriously?!).
Back to Bengal, almost every Bengali believes that they can’t survive without fish. If you are a Bengali, fish dishes are must for you otherwise you die (as a Bengali). One can just imagine how hard it is to explain why you don’t like eating fish even though you are from a typical Bengali family.
Everyone in my family, excluding me and my brother, eats fish. But I had to make it anyhow, and here’s my journey this far:
The time I didn’t know why I am eating: This is the stage that every person has to start with. all the food habits we have in the first place are taught by our elders. We eat what the feed, without knowing why they or we eat that. So, I ate everything. I didn’t like the taste of fishes so I better avoided it, but, I ate everything else non-veg cooked in our house. I ate eggs, mutton, and milk products (Chicken isn’t allowed in our house for some religious reason).
The aggressive omnivore stage: I was forever skinny, I didn’t know if it was malnutrition or genetic reason (My mother was natural skinny too) but I had to always hear that the reason I am skinny because I didn’t eat fish (Bengalis, remember?). It was frustrating and I was frustrated. That’s why I started eating without thinking. I ate everything tagged food near my hand. Chicken, fish, and everything. That stage lasted about 19 months.
The sudden quit: One beautiful morning in the month of April’15, I woke up and choose to go vegan. Yeah, it was out of the blue. I just decided. Maybe unconsciously I didn’t like the taste or I was bored. But I did it. I could not go full vegan overnight (No-one should, Mainly if you live with a family that depends on non-veg dishes.), so, I started replacing one by one from my diet. First fishes (obviously!), then meat, chicken, eggs and then milk.
Waking up and finding reasons: I went vegan just because I hated non-vegan foods. But, hate is a temporary feeling. I needed some real reasons. I started learning about the path. I found like-minded people on the internet, read books, watched documentaries like “Earthlings”. The more I learned about the disturbing side effects of animal product industries the more I became aware of the damage the more angry I got on meat-eaters.
The aggressive vegan stage: This is a stage many vegans can relate to. Blaming everyone to stop eating meat, talking mean to make others feel guilty “they kill it and sell it because you eat it.” Trying to make the whole population vegan ASAP. And in the end feeling helpless because the opposites outnumber you.
Calming down and taking actions: It took me time to learn that teaching why not to do is far more effective than what not to do. And that changed everything for me. I stopped focusing on people who get offended for me being a vegan and gave my full energy to the people who were curious about my choice. Now I know how to deal with any anti-vegan and can hold my ground with facts, logics, and common sense.
At present: Few days ago, my father asked me a question that if my acting alone will create any effect in the industry? I nodded ‘yes’, cause I trust the path I chose even if it’s out of race and religion, I know there are people around the world who cares and acts alone. That’s why I got to blogging. It’s a huge community. I get massive inspiration from others and try to inspire by being an example.
I really love the life as a vegan, every bit of it. I love reading and learning about the path and more I learn more I find reasons to stay vegan.
And now, I want to encourage you to write a blog post about your journey on veganism and link that in the comment section. It will be inspirational for me to learn about your perspective.
Stay awesome, stay vegan!
p.s. I am actually not that skinny anymore. I learned what BMR was.