At the start of the year, my wife and I decided to try the vegan lifestyle. She has completely done it and I have as much as I can. Before we decided to go this route, I was pretty much a vegetarian anyway. I guess I need to clarify the difference for you because sometimes this is still a little blurry to me at times. While “being a vegan” does change your diet it isn’t necessarily a diet. Being a vegetarian is pretty much a diet where you abstain from eating meat.
So what have I learned about being a vegan?
- Being a vegan isn’t just a diet, it is a choice for a lifestyle. It’s not about losing weight. It’s about abstaining from the use of animal products. A vegan lifestyle prevents a tremendous amount of animal slaughter and suffering. It offers a potent way to shrink our environmental footprint, especially in regard to climate change. And a well-planned vegan diet can fuel the highest levels of fitness, while reducing our risk of various chronic diseases. Yes, most of the attention is on food but it extends beyond that which is why I say I’m about 99% vegan.
- For certain, menu choices are strictly limited. You can’t simply go to Cracker Barrel or Burger King without having to narrow down your choices. Meals are a lot more planned now than they were before; however, I can tell you that I haven’t gone to bed hungry and I haven’t lost a ton of weight. To me, vegan is more about thinking about the ridiculous use of animals. I had to ask the question: Why are we drinking cow’s milk? Who came up with this idea? When you really think about this, it really doesn’t make much sense.
- People think you’re silly for being vegan. Yep, we’ve gotten those looks and eye rolls when asking if something is vegan or not. Hey, everyone has something or their own purpose but it’s funny how some don’t respect your choices.
- Food can still be good. I have made veggie patties, biscuits, sauces and other food that taste just as good as the non-vegan versions. For sure it takes more work but it’s not all about eating tofu.
- You can still have junk food! Believe it or not, it isn’t just hippie food. There are actually some good junk food even for vegans.
I say that I’m 99% vegan because I still slip on a slice of cheese when the vegan option isn’t available for me. I also still buy leather products or other animals products. I do try to be mindful of it but sometimes it isn’t as feasible sometimes. If I find myself stuck at a restaurant without vegan options, I try to customize it as much as possible.
I honestly thought it was going to be a lot more trouble when we first started this but, while it does take more thought and planning, it hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be. There are actually vegan substitutes out there if you look for them.
I can’t tell you I’m an expert on this vegan stuff but I’m learning. It’s not all about nuts and berries. I have had to retrain my thinking, especially about the food. I was already having issues with meat. Pork and beef was causing me digestive issues anyway so eliminating them wasn’t much of a stretch. Chicken was the difficult thing for me because that was a common food for me. I was also getting quite grossed out with eggs so that wasn’t so difficult to drop either. I mean, really, when you think about what you’re eating here, it grosses you out.
When you tell someone you are vegan, they act like you’re in some sort of cult or far-out religious group. Well, there are some things far worse out there. Yes, I’m attending the Church of Vegan now. Don’t be a hater. I don’t hate on you for scrambling those eggs, drinking your dairy milk or frying that bacon.
I am by far no expert on vegan. If you want learn more about this vegan stuff, go to vegan.com to read more.