On the eve of January 1st 2017 I savored my last bite of pizza topped with my looming resolution to go vegan in 2017. After many glasses of champagne, many hours of dancing, and many passes of cheesy, meaty foods; my new years eve was over, and my era of veganism had begun.
Waking up the next morning to a slight hangover and a pang of hunger, I began the prowl for a snack. The refrigerated pizza taunted me; my hand quickly moved from the cheesy flatbread to a bagged salad… My head hung in sadness as I forgoed ranch for a homemade balsamic dressing. My preparation for this first day of veganism proved insufficient. After a few microwaved bags of vegetables and bread slices, I was destitute for some REAL food. I went out to dinner and ordered my usual veggie burger- thinking it would be a safe option. After brief inquiry, however, I found the dish contained eggs and dairy, forbidden ingredients. In that moment remembered why I wanted to do this: I want to save animals, eliminate my cognitive dissonance, and, ultimately, make a positive, healthy change in my diet. These reasons carried me through that meal and my first month of veganism.
By March, I was starting to get the hang of this new “diet”. I watched Cowspiracy and Earthlings (highly recommend) and gained a new perspective on the vegan lifestyle. I began to see my food as more than a constant indulgence, but as fuel from the Earth. My own health sparked my decision, but the enduring beauty of our planet became paramount in maintaining my veganism. Although I am cheap and lazy when it comes to cooking, I discovered 5-ingredient vegan recipes, vegan potato quesadillas, Oreos, and microwave peanut noodles. I maintained a positive outlook and a full stomach.
By June, I was actually getting healthy! I traded in my diet of junky vegan choices for more fulfilling and fun options like falafel sandwiches, curries, and endless avocado toast variations. My taste preferences shifted, and I started to look forward to splurging on kale chips and kombucha. Nutritional yeast became a staple in my lifestyle, as were B12 vitamins. I switched to shopping local produce and even made wheatgrass shots! This is not to say I was a completely healthy vegan- General Tso’s Tofu, homemade pizza with loads of vegan cheese and ranch, and tater tots were also weekly staples in my diet.
By November, I was a full fledged vegan. I was knowledgeable about many different brands and even knew how to properly pronounce “Daiya”. It was now time for my first holiday season as a vegan. My Italian family usually skips a traditional turkey dinner for lasagna and eggplant parmesan. My recovering parmesan-addict self was truly being tested (this was the dark ages before I knew about vegan parmesan and the grated-void it could fill). My family had endless questions about being vegan. Where do you get your protein? How can you give up cheese? Why?? After enduring initial questioning, a lot of temptation, and masochistic accusations from my very italian grandma, I hoped everyone left the table more educated about my vegan lifestyle.
It was Christmas morning, and I made vegan chocolate chip cookies for my family. My reviews were three “these are actually goods” and zero cookies left! For Christmas, my mom gifted me an ornament personalized with “my little vegan” and the questioning lessened by Christmas dinner.
It was finally New Years Eve again.
This was the first resolution I have ever kept in my life. It was about to be 2018, and I had come so far. I decided to lead by example instead of going on long rants about animal rights and the environment, finding an exemplary route to be the most effective. I kept my resolution and stayed vegan. I’d learned too much about my body, the environment, animal intelligence, and people to ever go back. Veganism has fueled my body and personal growth to this day.
With Pure Intentions,
Angela Del Rossi