See, this is what’s so right and yet so annoyingly wrong about social media–information can be disseminated to millions of people in a matter of seconds. Literally. That’s great when it comes to informing people about breaking news or getting folks involved in social justice campaigns–you know, important stuff. But it also means that trends have become more prevalent and short-lived than ever before. All it takes is a tweet or IG post from a couple people with a bunch of followers and within a week…everyone I know is either vegan or talking sh*t about all the new vegans.
It all started with a documentary. You know the one–it was ALL OVER YOUR TIMELINE about 3 months ago. It’s called “What the Health?” and it was released on Netflix in March of this year. I don’t recall hearing about it, though, until some time in late June/early July. It was a simple enough post–something like, “If you haven’t seen the documentary ‘What the Health,’ you should check it out.”
Oh, okay. Cool. Let me jot that down.
But within about a week of seeing that one post, it felt like EVERYONE was talking about that film. What’s more, everyone was happily jumping on the vegan bandwagon. I’m talking full on: New lifestyle who dis? captions, posting food pics multiple times a day, keeping tally on their timelines, (6 days vegan! #Herbivore #VeganGlow #PlantGang), extolling the benefits of their new-found healthy lifestyle, hugging deer in the forest, adopting baby cows.
…okay, maybe not those last two, but the sh*t was bananas.
And here’s the kicker…I GOT IN ON IT TOO! #PlotTwist
I will say it wasn’t just the documentary that motivated the shift for me. I had seen other food industry docs before, most of which encouraged a plant-based diet. Sure, I learned some new information from What the Health, but what really did it for me was my trip to South Africa–an experience so monumental and extraordinary, I have not been able to find the adequate words to describe it. As wonderful as my trip was, I did have some difficulty with the cuisine.
Couple FFG Fun Facts–
- I haven’t eaten red meat since 2004.
- I don’t eat most seafood. (I’ll eat a fried whiting sammich when I’m back in the south or maybe a California roll here or there. Oh, and fried calamri–but rings only! No tentacles! ‘Cause…gross. Basically, I’ll eat seafood that’s so covered by other stuff, you can’t actually taste the seafood.) I just don’t like it. Makes me nauseous.
- I have had a pretty low dairy intake for about 8 years now. Some cheese, but pretty much no other milk-based products.
- I have never eaten pork. I was raised that way from birth and have no desire as an adult.
- And I’ve cut out gluten by about 85%.
All this to say, I have a somewhat limited diet. Living in Los Angeles, that’s no problem. This is the mecca of dietary options. Whatever you want or don’t want to eat–it’s handled. Avocado instead of cheese? Cool. Almond milk in your coffee? Of course. Cashew milk ice cream? Ailse 11.
But see, I was in Johannesburg, not Los Angeles. Take the following exchange for example:
Me: Could I please get a small coffee?
Waiter: Sure. What kind of milk would you like?
Me: Oooh, what kinds do you have?
Waiter: Hot or cold.
Real talk, I consumed more dairy in the 10 days I was traveling than I had in the entire year prior. Even the spinach was creamed. The entrees were largely seafood, pork, beef, and some chicken. And there was always…ALWAYS bread. Biscuits, donuts, rolls, pancakes, waffles, toast, muffins, danish…DAMMIT MAN!!
The food wasn’t bad, mind you. It was just challenging for someone with my chosen dietary restrictions. By the time I got on the plane to come home, I was sick as a dog–congestion galore, sore throat, exhausted, death warmed up.
It wasn’t pretty. That’s why I decided to try a plant-based diet. I needed a full nutritional reset, and I sure as hell didn’t want to see ANYTHING that came from a cow’s utter! Nothing!
Thing is, I didn’t really tell anyone what I was doing. There were a couple reasons:
1) I was not committing to veganism for the rest of my life. It was just a cleanse of sorts–an experiment to see how my body would respond.
2) I didn’t need anybody judging me when I decided I wanted a piece of fried chicken in a few weeks.
But clearly, most people wanted to share and that’s cool. That’s what social media is for, right? Sharing your life with the world…kind of…well, the good parts anyway. (Come on now, let’s be real.)
But I’ve noticed that I’m not seeing people touting their veganism as much these days. As quickly as it became all the rage–it’s faded into oblivion. What happened?! Are all the new-wave vegans still vegan or nah? Did you try it? Liked/hated? Were you one of the hostile meat-eaters making fun of the new vegans? (For real, why are y’all so mad? Sheesh.)
Do tell: Where did you fall on the New-Fangle Vegan scale?
As for me, I’m 12 weeks into this plant-based lifestyle. (Yep, still on it.) I feel pretty good, lost a few pounds, and haven’t felt deprived for the most part. I will admit, it’s getting harder, not easier. I’m running out of new meal ideas and still miss cheese from the depths of my soul, but I’m hanging in there. No promises…but we’ll see. And for the record, I’m still not claiming the ‘vegan’ label. I feel like that has to be earned. It’s a lifestyle choice that requires real commitment, and I admire anyone who has the will to stick with it for a more than a couple months. Herbivores ain’t no punks! They might be the strongest of us all. #Respect
Former Fat Girl….Gone.