COLUMN : how i became vegan

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one of the most requested columns for sure. so here it is – my going vegan story.

as a kid i always loved animals. like all kids do i guess. that love then became an interest, i wanted to learn more and more about animals and how they thought, what they liked, how they lived. me and my dad used to sit on the porch in the summers and for hours ask each other what’s your top five jungle animals ? what’s your top five animals in the ocean ? and so on.

when my 10th birthday was coming up, i wrote vegetarian cookbook at the top of my wish list. my parents said i was too young to go vegetarian, so i said that ok next year when i’m turning 11, i’ll go vegetarian. year 11 and 12 came and my parents still weren’t ok with it. said i was still growing and they didn’t know enough about nutrition to feel comfortable with it.

when i was 12 my older brother went vegetarian. he saw some factory farm footage and that was it. my sister and mother quickly jumped on the same vegetarian train as well, but i still wasn’t allowed.

so a few weeks after i turned 13, a couple of months after my brother went veggie, i was having lunch at an italian restaurant with my granny and i had pasta carbonara. i felt grossed out by the ham pieces, and i told her that this was going to be my final meal as a meat eater. and she said fair enough, but your mom and dad won’t allow it. but i just thought, what are they going to do, force feed me meat ? so i went on a meat strike. simply refusing to eat meat. after a few days, they finally caved in.

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some years passed and at 16, one of my class mates in high school went vegan. she was a radical leftie – you know, boycotting israel, outspoken feminist, incredibly clever, and all of a sudden vegan. that was the first vegan i met and i thought man, i wish i were that cool. but she only ate like cinnamon buns, crisps and chocolate, so my first impression was that being vegan was very practically difficult and taxing. i didn’t have the motivation but made a mental note : one day.

a few years later and me and david are living in a small town in sweden, me studying to be a biologist. an animal behaviour biologist (or an ethologist) to be precise. my interest for the animal mind had never faded. what i didn’t expect was that the education was a lot more focussed on animal protection and animal welfare than i had thought. so at university i got hooked on animal rights.

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we went to all these different farms to learn how animals are kept in the animal industry. everything from dairy farms, to mink fur farms, to chicken and fish farms. and also zoos, schools, laboratories and wool sheep farms. anywhere where animals are kept for human profit, we went. and everytime we i saw one of those places, i stopped buying the product they were making. so after a few months at university, i became vegan.

i felt it so strongly – i can no longer support the industry that keep animals this way for profit. i started feeling that everytime i bought cheese, i paid the salary of the slaughterhouse worker killing the cow when she no longer produces enough milk. that i was financially supporting an industry i couldn’t stand.

that was about 8 years ago. and i have never looked back since.
i thought that going vegan was going to be hard. that it was going to be bad for my health, my social life, my tastebuds, and for my wallet. turned out none of that was true. quite the opposite in fact. go figure.
i guess that’s what they call karma.

love // jenny

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53 Comments

    • jennymustard

      thank you so much for reading honey !! i’m glad you liked it :D
      lots of love and vegan power hahah <3

  1. Your story is somehow touching. Enough to make me change my thinking. One day I will hopefully do the same. Not for myself but for animals.

    • jennymustard

      oh kamila, what a lovely comment. thank you so much for taking the time to read it ! and it makes me so happy that you’re so open minded.
      lots of love <3

  2. I enjoyed reading this a lot, your dedication to being vegan and to animals is so strong, which is so rare in this world. Such an inspiration. Love you

    • jennymustard

      you’re such an inspiration too brandi !! thank you for reading and all my love back to you <3

  3. I was looking at all your amazing recipes on Youtube, so I came to your blog, and it is equally amazing. I just wanted to tell you that you are everything I aspire to be as a vegan. Thank you for caring enough about animals and the planet to not support those cruel and unnecessary industries.

    • oh thank you mallory, how sweet you are ! i’m so happy that you like the videos and blog, that really means a lot to hear. sending lots of vegan love your way !

  4. So cool, I first found your blog through fashion (Lookbook to be precise) but only since I started following you on Insta I noticed you’re vegan! As of this year I’m 99 percent vegan (still eat some cheese ect when I go to eat at my parents or friends) and I’m really happy with this change. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 8, my mom thought I’d would only be a phase so she allowed it but boy was she wrong!

    Thanks for showing the awesomeness of veganism through your blog <3

    -X-

    • oh thank you joy for reading and for finding your way over to my blog ! i’m so glad you like it :D
      and good for you ! go vegan !! :D
      lots of love xx

  5. Thanks for sharing your story (and inspiration and recipes :D). I was a vegetarian for many years, but went vegan when I started studying biology as well, hehe^^ I found your youtube channel yesterday, and was surprised to see that I eat so many of the same things as you. Kimchi is one of my favorites! I love the minimalist lifestyle too.
    Wish you all the best<3

    • hi guro ! thank you so much :) i’m glad to hear it, kimchi is the best ever <3 and congrats on going vegan !
      love // j

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  7. I am absolutely head over heals for your blog!! It is fantastic and I only found it a few days ago, also loving the youtube videos. I have recently made the decision to become a vegan and everything you are doing is making me look forward to this lifestyle even more than I could have ever imagined. Hopefully one day soon I’ll be able to get my hands on a copy of your cook book, I live in Canada so it’s obviously not here…. yet?! Just wanted to say thank you so much, and keep it all coming!! :)

  8. Jenny,

    I love your story and thanks so much for sharing all of your knowledge, I consider it a daily blessing to learn from you.

  9. Thank you so much for this post.
    I am following you on lookbook for a loooong time, but I found out you’re vegan just a couple of weeks ago. I love your instagram pictures, they are so inspiring. And I hope I will go 100% vegan, because now I often eat sweets, sometimes I eat cheese, you know, milk chocolate and pizza… But I always check if my cosmetics are not tested on animals, I don’t buy leather or wool (sometimes however, I buy wool sweaters in second hand stores), I try to keep my meals vegan. And I encourage my boyfriend to do the same.
    I decided to go vegetarian because of curiosity, how it is to not to eat meat for a month, then I found out it’s pretty easy and fun, so I started to learn more and more about animals, their behavior, how they are kept in food industry… this makes me feel sick but I do hope more and more people feel the same and that they will change their lifes and habits.
    You’re doing a great work, Jenny.
    I wish you all the best <3

    • oh thank you so much for sticking with me for this long :D
      happy to hear that you’re on the road to a more vegan life. hope this blog can inspire you some :)
      lots of love <3

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your story once again, Jenny! I’ve been watching the Q&A video already and I was impatient to learn more about how you turned vegan. :)
    You’re totally inspiring, and a really understand you and you’re Kale. <3
    We find so many wonderful thing in the nature.

    Cheers and have an happy holiday!

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  12. I just found your blog and your YouTube channel. I wondered if your cookbook comes in English?

    • jennymustard

      hey jamie, thank you so much for checking in :)
      my book is only available in swedish atm i’m afraid..! sorry ! xx

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  17. You have one of the most unique and inherently impassioned “going-vegan” stories I’ve ever come across!! And so much that I can relate to – loving animals more than anything as a child, feeling repulsed by their abuse, going vegetarian young (or trying), familial resistance, ethology (though I’m going through English literature – interesting that biology took such a heavy stance on animal rights! Wonderful, though!).

    You’re such a happy and encouraging vegan! Watching your videos had a heavy and much needed positive impact on me this week. Thank you for the joy that you evoke <3

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  20. I can say I’ve been almost vegetarian all of my life. As a kid i didn’t like meat and could not drink milk. My habits never changed. I do love chese and eggs though (I always try to buy from small farmers that treat animals well; my grandfather was a farmer too and animals lived a good life), so it’s not so easy. Also i have quite a few intolerances to fruits, nuts and some veggies (veggies make most of my diet anyway). But, as you wrote, one day… I have a dog and a cat, and i love animals :)

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  28. I’ve only given up on meat about one year ago and in the last couple of months I stopped eating eggs as I started finding them disgusting… I have continued eating some cheese though, starting today I will no longer eat cheese either! thank you for sharing with us your inspiring story!

  29. I am vegan for only a few weeks yet.
    My only Question is: What should I do with all my Leather shoes? I mean, the mistake is already done by buying it. I did it when I was vegetarian (For 6 years) and I was never that into this 100 %-Thing so far.
    I’m talking about Boots like Doctor Martens (3 Pairs), a pair of Vagabonds and a pear of White Asics Sneakers which was a present from my boyfriend.
    I feel like it would be such a waste to just through them away, though I’m in conflict with myself wearing them, It’s only about the shoes, no other pieces of clothes.
    What do you think?

    • It’s awesome that you want to live the vegan lifestyle. Gary Yourovsky (The Best Speech You’ll Ever Hear, it’s on YouTube) covers this well. He points out that he chose to give his away, but that the harm is done so some people prefer to wear them out. Your use of the word conflict resonated with me – I have often felt – and still feel when I don’t thoroughly check something – that way.

  30. i’m sixteen years old, i’m a vegetarian and i really want to be a biologist and vegan too.
    since i was a little girl i wanted to be a veterinarian, then i wanted to study zoology and well… now i want to study biology, and is practically the same! because it involves animals and life. everything that i really love.
    i’ve always cared and loved animals, and it’s really sad how humans think they are less. i really want to change that.

    oh, and i loved your story. i love the minimalist lifestyle! so simple.

    where did you study? what university?

    thank you for sharing your story!

    and sorry if i said something wrong haha, english is not my first language and i’m still learning.

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  36. A wonderful vegan story! I only just found your YouTube channel today and, as soon as I saw you were vegan, I quickly subscribed. I have been vegan (for the animals) for 18 months now, after being pescetarian since 2006. I am also making changes and leaning towards minimalism as I want to have a more simple life. I look forward to browsing your channel and blog.

    Have a great week,
    Serena from Australia :)

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