Countless vegan who I follow constantly talk about the great benefits of being vegan. I've experienced may of them, but I'll admit Veganism is not just some happy place where nothing terrible happens or that you will feel completely happy and satisfied with your life from this point on.
That's just not how it works, especially at the start. So since I've been vegan for a few months now, what are the real good and bad parts of going vegan?
Benefits of being vegan:
1- Clear Conscience
This is the most obvious one. It's not secret that I and every other vegan would feel uneasy about the process it takes to get animal products onto our dinner plates. That's usually the number 1 reason for most vegans to make the switch. And I'm no different.
Now it feel so much better about the food I eat, products I buy and the brands I support. Many people may still eat and use animal products and they seem to want to stay blind to the reality of what it is, but i feel better knowing i'm not contributing (or at least contributing less) to the process it requires to get us these products.
Funny how people say vegans have too many restrictions but how many of those people actually change up every single meal everyday? We all know the person who's had the same brekkie everyday for years or the guy who insists on fish and chips every single time you eat out.
Yeah, there are more options on the menu as a non-vegan, but how many people take advantage of that? I'll admit, even before i was a vegan i had the bad habit of ordering the same thing at a restaurant just cause i knew i liked it.
No one says you have to get creative with food once you're a vegan, but many of us do. Acai bowls, nana ice cream, pancakes, chia pudding, overnight oats, rice and pumpkin, beancurd - just some of the things i've had for brekkie since becoming vegan. Though now I stick to nana ice cream or dark chok PB and chia seeds on toast (my ultimate favourites) It's not as limited as people claim.
That's just brekkie too. Since making the switch I've found even more amazing meals on my plate.
3-Less Junk and Crap Food
Going vegan means you kind of "accidentally" cut out all kinds of foods that aren't the best for you anyway. No more deep fried chicken skin or mozzarella sticks. I finally feel fine not eating ice cream or cakes or tarts and cream pies. No nutella (the amount of sugar in one serve. No thanks). All of these foods, though I once loved, i'm now turned off by them because they support a disgusting industry and aren't healthy for me in the slightest way.
4- EAT MORE
Not everyone likes this, but i do. I really do. I have managed to increase the amount of food i eat without getting more body fat, getting sick, feeling bloated or really going through anything negative. Of course, this doesn't mean sitting around having oreos or pudding all day! Eat more healthy whole foods (high carb and low fat! YAY!)
I don't sit around worrying if i had too much for lunch and should have a smaller dinner or go "if i have this slice of cake i shouldn't have so much rice with dinner" these weren't common thoughts before but i did have them whenever i ate out or we had something to celebrate. I just never found myself completely enjoying food when I normally should have because i was a little afraid of the outcome.
Now I don't worry as much. If I wanted a vegan cupcake, I don't stress about what that means for dinner. And if i want a second serve, I just have it. It may seem like we exaggerate and i'm sure some people do. But being able to enjoy my meals and eat more if I wanted to is a huge plus!
5- Questions, questions, questions.
This is another good and bad point. When people are genuinely curious, want to know why, want to understand veganism, i love answering questions no matter how silly it may sound. I was once in their position so everyone who wants to learn should get to learn about it.
1- Not everyone will understand, or want to understand
Family, friends, colleagues, restaurant employees, really about anyone you have in your life. Some people will understand and be supportive. Some won't care at all and that's fine. But the ones I hate are the ones who just want to give you a hard time for no reason. The ones who try to "tempt you", who are rude and disrespectful and the ones who refuse to understand what veganism stands for. And not to mention family is sometimes the worst - trying to sneak animal products into your food! You can't always make them go away, so you have to be prepared that some people will want to give you a hard time.
2- Vegan does not automatically mean healthy
Though veganism has many health benefits, it doesn't automatically make you completely healthy. There's tons of unhealthy vegan food, vegan junk food (OREOS!), sugar, oils, fat, it can all be vegan and you still need to be careful with that. It's not like we're all sitting around having vegan puddings and sorbet 24/7.
After all, helping the animals and the environment is great, but don't hurt your health in the process.
3- Food Choices When Eating Out
Not every restaurant is vegan friendly. And some still don't have vegetarian or vegan options. This is where we need to get creative. Obviously when you can choose, just avoid places that don't have a vegan option. But I for one would never turn down an invite to dinner or a party just because they don't have vegan food just for me. Don't be a pain to your friends and family. So plan ahead. Look up menus, call the restaurant and find out if they can do something for you, or even just order a few vegan friendly appetizers and have that instead.
4- You see the world very differently
This may not apply to everyone who goes vegan, but it happened to me even before i decided to be completely vegan.
Suddenly that ice cream store with a smiling cow in the logo looks absolutely disgusting. Leather jackets scream murder in your head. Watching people eat steaks may turn you off. It happens. It's tough, but even if something makes you feel disgusted or turns you off, you'll learn to deal with it. The world is not going to automatically change for you, so you will learn to manage the best you can. This does't mean preaching to everyone who's having an ice cream or a chicken sandwich. It means knowing you're doing the best you can now that you know better, and if someone asks, you'll be as kind as you can about it so hopefully they learn better too.
5- Relationships May Change.
This is a very extreme and hopefully rare case. But it does happen. Sometimes people think you're crazy for being vegan - like my family did. Sometimes they will end up fighting over it with you - like mine did at the start. They might try to change your mind (and that's okay - it's normal, just like how you will wanna change their mind) if this happens it will definitely be tough, but don't be the one to push them away.
Sometimes you just need to let things settle and everyone becomes accepting - like my family now is. But on the off chance this doesn't end, i always think it's better to try to have a calm discussion about why you're vegan and why you believe it's the best thing for you (and them too)
And if they still want to be rude, mean, bring you down or insult you, then why keep such terrible, negative people in your life unless you absolutely have to?
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