SO I have this friend, who decided to become a vegan, and did she dull on about it. She was like a club hammer driving in a fence post.
She banged on and on about documentaries I simply must watch, which exposed milk for the hormone laden, cow pus it is. As for honey, why would anyone want bee vomit?
She was all for me swapping my dog for its intellectually superior farmyard-friend, the pig.
She was not only a vegan for ethical reasons; she was also very keen on the health benefits.
She raved about how much better she felt, how much prettier, wittier and bright she was now that she’d ditched the dairy.
The more she read, the more she spouted, and I was a sitting duck for her campaigning.
I have rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. I wish I’d never told her.
“Dairy is so bad for your auto-immune condition. It makes it so much worse.
I beg you to stop the self-torture” she’d implore, clutching her Peace and Parsnips – Vegan Cooking for Everyone book to her chest (which was firmer since becoming a vegan).
She started bringing me non-dairy alternatives. “I bet you won’t be able to tell the difference,” she trilled, “and I promise you will start to feel better than you have ever felt before.”
Initially I only tried the stuff so I could annoy her by childishly spitting it back out before drinking a pint of milk to cleanse my palate.
She made me feel bad about my lifestyle choices and so I wanted to disparage her morally motivated minority. I did not want to watch the documentaries.
I wanted to watch Breaking Bad.
I did not want to know about all that was inside yoghurt.
I just wanted to eat it and be happy. I could not imagine a life without Dairy Milk.
I was sure that no soy replacement or dark chocolate alternative would ever make me change my mind.
I was wrong – and within a week of not supping on cow pus, my skin looked ten years younger.
It was plumper, while the rest of me was slimmer.
I said I did not feel any better. I said her raw vegan cocao squares tasted like compost.
In the wise words of Dr Seuss, “I said and said and said those words, I said them, but I lied them.” I felt bloody marvellous.
My feet did not have any habitual morning stiffness.
My energy levels evened out and I lost the mid-afternoon slump that made school pick-up even more hideous.
I could run faster, pedal harder and lift higher.
All on the power of plants.
My inflammation levels were at their lowest. People started to compliment me on my shiny hair and teeth. A builder whistled at me when I walked past.
This has not happened for ten years.
Within two weeks of ‘going vegan’, I felt like a different person.
I was gutted. I didn’t want veganism to work. It’s annoying, time-consuming and impossible to eat out anywhere unless you live in central Brighton.
Worse though, like a drug addict misses his crack-pipe, I miss that sweet Devil in disguise, dairy.
If only Elvis knew what he was really singing about. He might have saved himself in time…
“Halloumi, is it me your looking for?” cheese sings to me as I walk down the food aisle.
Like a virgin in the red light district in Amsterdam, I keep my gaze firmly on my shoes (non-leather soled) and avoid contact with sexy looking Activia pots. I’m scared of the frenzy that might ensue if I don’t.
For I have learned that if I fall off my ‘vagon’ I will only be filled with guilt and self-loathing afterwards. If veganism was a religion, it would be a Catholic.
To quote a Henry King poem: ‘By sad experience, I have found, that her perfection is my wound.’ He is clearly talking about being a vegan. It’s the perfect diet. When I eat lean and green and raw before four, I feel fantastic.
I have become that person who takes photos of her meals and feels the need to share them with the world via Instagram with hash tags proclaiming #powerofplants #greenmachine #nofilter #vegan
I wish I’d had the strength to say no to veganism. I’m losing friends. They have seen the change in me and are not happy. I am contagious and they don’t want me near.
So don’t do it people. Learn from my awful experience. Stay away from dairy alternatives. It’s nothing but bloody hassle.
Have a McFlurry and enjoy life.