My Joyful 3-Year Veganniversary

August 2nd, 2011 - filed under: The Food » Food and Health

Yesterday I celebrated 3 years of being veg*n. It’s hard to believe that something that means so much to me, that has so completely shaped the person that I am today, that is such an integral part of how I relate to the world, has only been a part of my life for 1095 days.


On my veganniversary, I woke up in bed with my little veg*n family. I kissed my husband goodbye and sent him off to work. He commutes 10+ miles by bike every day. He is plant-strong and even as a sleep-deprived hard-working daddy, he has abundant energy and is in the best shape of his entire life. And he looks good.

On my veganniversary, I strapped my toddler onto my back and we picked our breakfast from our garden. My little penguin ate fresh strawberries with his oatmeal, and there was lots of swiss chard for the blender.

On my veganniversary, I treated myself to a decadent black forest smoothie. Farmer’s Market bing cherries and raw cacao. It was divine.

On my veganniversary, I took my son swimming in the gorgeous summer sun. My boy is tall and muscular and fiercely intelligent. And he makes quite a splash!

We met some friends there at the pool, on my veganniversary. Katie has been vegan for over 12 years, and she was the one who helped me in the beginning. Scarlett has been vegan for all of her 11 months.

They’re totally gonna get married some day.

On my veganniversary, Waits and I took the spotted furbaby on a long meandering walk around the local marsh. He, too, is becoming veg*n.

In the evening, I had a delicious dinner with my little family, and we talked about what veganism means to us. Our annual “state of the vegan” meeting, if you will.


I’ve written in the past about how my veganism is always in flux, ever evolving. It grows like I do and it will always continue to change. As it should.

Right now, today, 1096 days in, all I can say is that I am so thankful to be vegan. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude to have found this lifestyle. I feel proud and passionate and blessed to be able to live out my values of non-violence,
taken to their only logical conclusion,
in completion,
every day.

And I cherish the gifts that veganism gives back to me:

The good health and strong immune system and boundless energy that I experience, which makes me an adventurous mother, and an attentive wife, and a productive writer.

The self-awareness and mindful reflection, the inward honesty that comes from living in truth; free from cognitive dissonance. It’s harder this way, but the rewards are richer.

The openness. The compassion that reminds me to be kind to all animals, including the human ones. Including myself.

These are the lessons that I want to pass on to my son. These lessons that I still struggle with learning, myself.

These are the lessons that veganism teaches to all of us.

  • Karen Beth

    I love this so much.


    I’m vegan but I don’t know the PRECISE day that I became so. It was gradual or seemed like it. I guess it couldn’t really be but I still don’t know the day.

    What a blessing. You are an inspiration!

  • Brooke

    Happy veganniversary!

    It’s wonderful to see the joy in Waits’ face too. His big smile and happy face look just like his mama’s!

  • Jen

    What a beautiful post. I’m thankful to have found veganism too, it changes the way you see and live in the world doesn’t it? Magical.

    Happy Veganniversary!!

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    Happy Veganiversary! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post.

    Nina’s going to be seriously bummed when I tell her that Waits is betrothed to Scarlett, though! ;)

  • Minna

    This post has just inspired me to work harder to fulfill my dream of being 100% vegan and following my principles no matter what. This post is full of some weird energy that has just reached me through the computer screen straight from Portland to Tallinn. This post proves once again what an inspirational and powerful person you are and how much you can touch your readers through what you do and *how* you deliver it to us… I hope you realise that!

    So, congratulations on your 3-year-veganniversary, lady! You are so worth all the happiness in the world. Sabbe sattā sukhi hontu.

  • shell

    Beautiful. Inspiring. Powerful. Needed this. Thank you so much.

  • Stephanie

    This is such a beautiful post. Although I’m not yet at the same point in my journey, I hope to somewhere get to where you are. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

  • April

    Happy 3 years, Sayward! I love that we share a Veg*nniversary :) I celebrated 6 years yesterday!

  • Adrienne Audrey

    Congrats! A great inspiration for us all!

  • Shelby

    I could not love this post more!

  • veganlinda

    Love it!

  • Shira

    What a beautiful post. You inspire me to be more honest with myself. Your are a blessing my dear!

  • veronika

    beautifully written.
    hi. i haven’t posted before, but have been reading for a few weeks.
    i’m not fully fledged vegan yet, but have been a vegetarian for 12 years. and since we haven’t been eating any animal products for the past month, i can totally feel a difference. i know exactly what you mean about “evolving”. it’s like once you know how great you can feel… why go back? even my my brazilian husband (talk about a meat culture!) is on board :)

    anyways, just wanted to say congrats! and i’m really interested to see why you don’t eat soy or gluten (it seems). i’ve scanned some posts but haven’t seen anything addressing it. maybe i just missed something, but would generally love to hear your thoughts on this.

    thanks for putting all this time in to write! -veronika

  • Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family

    What is your recipe for the smoothie? It looks so very good.

  • Sayward

    Thank you all so much for the kind words. I’m glad this post touched so many of you! And it means a lot to me to know that I might play a little part in helping people to become more mindful in their food choices. That is the best feedback I can get, EVER! So yay! Once again, you guys make my day. =)

    @ Rachel – Not exact, but something like:

    1 cup liquid (I used homemade kombucha, alt milk would also be good)
    1 cup ice cubes
    1 frozen banana, broken up
    1 cup pitted fresh cherries
    1 *heaping* (heap it because you deserve it!) tbsp raw cacao
    stevia or other sweetener to taste

    optional (I added these):
    huge handful of greens
    protein powder
    green powder

  • Selina

    Wow, I love this post! So powerful.
    I, too, am so grateful to have ‘discovered’ the vegan lifestyle path…it just feels right, and I love that feeling! :)
    Congrats on three years!

  • Julie

    I come to your blog from time to time when I am needing some vegan love. This is my absolute favorite entry yet! You have brightened my day!
    Now I wish that I had kept track of the exact day that I went vegan so that I can have a Veganniversary too, I guess that I’ll have to make one up!

  • Sayward

    @ veronika – Soy and gluten, yup yup. I actually do eat both of them, but *very* rarely. (funny, the post right after this one, my latest WIAW, has me eating both soy and gluten! but you’re right, it’s the first time in a loooong time that they’ve appeared on the blog). My reasons for limiting each are different.

    With gluten, it’s not actually the *gluten* that I limit. I totally eat seitan, which is pure wheat protein (gluten). But I don’t eat bread, and I mostly don’t eat pasta (occasionally rice or quinoa pasta) and I definitely definitely don’t eat baked goods! It’s not a gluten thing so much as a blood sugar thing. I had actually eliminated most grains completely for a while, but I’ve worked to heal my gut and improve my digestion and I handle grains a lot better now. For the most part I can eat cooked quinoa, raw sprouted buckwheat, and a few others, without getting a blood sugar spike. But, say, if I have oatmeal first thing in the morning? No way. I’d be wrecked for the whole day. That’s just my physiology. So you’ll notice I don’t do refined carbohydrates at all, and I don’t do white rice, things like that. But take the protein out (the gluten) and I’m all over it! It’s funny considering everybody is all about gluten-free these days.

    The other thing is that Waits reacts to wheat. He can eat other glutinous grains, like rye and stuff, but wheat gives him a big bum rash. So you don’t see a lot of it around for that reason, too. Although Damian is a total bread-head and would probably live on ciabatta dipped in olive oil, if he could. =)

    Soy . . . that one’s complicated, but basically I’m uncomfortable with processed soy, and genetically modified soy (which is ALL non-organic soy, and probably even the organic has been compromised), and how soy isolates are in EVERYTHING, from bread to peanut butter to omni subs to everything else in the world. Especially being vegan, it’s really really easy to consume a LOT of soy if you’re not mindful about it.

    There’s a lot of crap information out there about the “dangers of soy” and I don’t really buy into the hype. However, anything that is so incredibly processed, and is such a big part of the diet, is going to make me uncomfortable. That’s why I say to be mindful of the soy consumption – basically, choose the non-soy option whenever you can (like almond or coconut milk, seitan over tofu, daiya over soy cheese, etc), so that you don’t have to worry about it when there *isn’t* a choice. Like, in the latest WIAW post, I was totally fine with that soy latte because I was in a tiny town and was just stoked to find a dairy free iced latte, period! And since otherwise I eat almost no soy in my day-to-day, I didn’t even have to think twice about it.

    But the one thing, for me personally, that concerns me most about soy is the goitrogenic effect. My mother had a thyroid disorder, and soy is linked (undeniably) to thyroid disruption. So for me, it’s just a “better safe than sorry” choice to avoid soy as much as possible. Damian has no family history of thyroid issues and so he eats a lot more tofu than I do, and I don’t worry about him. It just depends on your own physiology and history, but if anyone has hyper or hypo thyroidism in the family, I’d definitely say to watch the soy intake.

    Whew! That was a long-winded answer! =D

  • veronika

    thanks a lot for the thoughtful response!

  • Happy Days

    Sayward you are so beautiful, you make me love vegans!!