My vegan life, how veganism has had an impact on my life:
• When did you decide to go vegan?
I first went vegan when I was around 16. I’d been strictly vegetarian for a couple of years at the time, but I never really ate much meat growing up anyway. For some reason, eating meat just never appealed to me. My parents are big meat-eaters and always have been. So, I was definitely exposed to meat as a kid but I remember always being very picky about which meats I would and wouldn’t eat. Furthermore, I can’t say I remember having any cravings for it. Dairy was a different story—I always ate a lot of it in all its many forms. I even abandoned my veganism in college for a few years ,partially because I wanted to fit in and partially because I succumbed to the temptation of free pizza, but eventually went back to veganism after college.
• What health benefits has it had on my life?
The short bout of vegetarianism I had in college came coupled with (I believe) eczema that wouldn’t go away, even with doctor-prescribed steroid creams. I found out after cutting dairy out the second time that, most of my skin issues are exacerbated by it and even small amounts do not sit well with me. So, my veganism has definitely positively affected my skin. I also feel like my energy levels are higher on a plant-based diet. Nowadays, I’m far less likely to feel lethargic after I eat than I did before I became a vegan. In fact, a vegan meal or a snack feel energizing for me, whereas the non-vegan meals and snacks that I used to eat would sap my energy.I also rarely suffer from stomach-aches , bloats, or any other gastrointestinal issues, which I believe is at least in part attributable to my diet. All of this is a positive feedback loop that keeps me eating vegan. I have more energy, generally feel better and generally look better when I’m eating vegan. Which, in turn keeps me eating this way.
• What other ways do I implement veganism in my life other than a plant-based diet?
My veganism has always been focused mostly on my diet, but I do opt to buy vegan products when I see them. I look for cruelty-free beauty products, I avoid buying leather, I never buy fur (even secondhand) because mostly just because I think it’s gross. Around the holidays, I’ll specify a preference for animal-friendly gifts from family. Just recently, I’ve been learning more about how plastic straws are killing ocean life. I’m a daily iced coffee addict, so I went out and bought a reusable straw and cup to cut down on my plastic waste. For me, it’s not the label of “vegan” that guides me. Yes, I consider myself a vegan. But I don’t do any of this because I have an attachment to that label. I make decisions about what I eat and what I buy based on how I feel I can best make a positive impact on the world while still serving my own health, both physically and mentally.
Sarah Purkabek’s bio:
Sarah is a student based in Los Angeles. She holds a bachelor of arts in philosophy from UCLA and is currently studying to become a physical therapist. She’s worked as a music and travel journalist writing profiles on musicians, photographers, artists, designers, and professional nomads and now spends most of her time outside of class in the yoga studio and working at a pediatric physical therapy clinic.