Two days after I returned from my meat-and-cheese-filled trip to Mexico, I quit eating animal products. The timing was perfect, and I was ready for a fresh start. While I had always had an inkling towards a vegan lifestyle, a few documentaries really convinced me to finally make the jump. While some people recommend slowly weening off of animal products, I quit animal products cold
turkey tofurkey. After one month, I learned a lot that I’m excited to share with y’all!
Replacement products can be really terrible.
I tried replacement hot dogs, and I couldn’t even finish it. I tried vegan cheese, both shredded Daiya and cheese slices, but I couldn’t do it. It just tasted so wrong. The only decent replacement product I tried was olive oil buttery spread. I think this worked in place of butter because butter is so processed anyway that a different processed oil was okay!
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend replacement products and I don’t plan on trying more. I know some people recommend replacement products to ease a vegan transition, but I just don’t like them! Plus, part of my decisions to eat a vegan diet was based on being healthier. Eating processed foods filled with chemicals in an attempt to replicate a meaty flavor just doesn’t seem right.
Eating out is different, but not impossible.
I had been eating vegan for about two weeks when my entire family went to a barbecue restaurant. They had a very limited side dish menu–even the green beans were cooked in lard! I ended up eating almost an entire loaf of dry bread for my dinner. Nutritionally, a terrible meal. However, that’s the absolute worst time I’ve had eating out.
Lots of restaurants do have vegan side options or even main menu items that simply come vegan! Lots of items are easy to tweak simply by removing something and even adding something else! For example, I eat bean burritos without cheese plus lettuce at Taco Bell. I get a burrito bowl without chicken from Chili’s. Dry breadsticks and regular pasta from Fazoli’s. AND GUESS WHAT? Olive Garden breadsticks are vegan!!!!Being vegan isn’t so bad... especially when Olive Garden breadsticks are vegan. Click To Tweet
Waiters are generally helpful and supportive, and people I eat with are simply fascinated by what I’m eating, rather than being annoyed or judgmental.
Some recipes taste better vegan.
Can you even imagine this? Hear me out! I made vegan waffles using bisquick. Instead of cow milk, I used vanilla almond milk, and instead of an egg, I used soy vanilla yogurt. This made the waffles taste so sweet and delicious! My whole family agreed they tasted better than regular waffles.
Vegan ice cream is also so smooth and delicious! I prefer the kind made with almond milk, but ice cream made with coconut milk is delicious for those who like the nutty undertones!
I’ve also made cookies using Betty Crocker’s vegan chocolate chip recipe and they were SO GOOD. The cookie dough tasted amazing (which is totally safe because it’s eggless) and the cookies were so soft.
People will be concerned about your health.
Am I getting enough protein, people wonder. My mom expressed concern in me eating processed foods. People told me I was supposed to eat meat. Guess what? I was eating way worse before my vegan change! No one cared what I was eating then or how my health was affected. Suddenly, others are experts in health and nutrition. I did so much research that I’m sure most people haven’t! I’m grateful that people are concerned about me, but I don’t think their concern comes from the right place. This is just something to deal with. Plus, it’s a good opportunity to educate others on a vegan diet!
My food options expanded, not decreased.
While I’m no longer eating food made from animal products, I am trying so many different foods! I thought I didn’t like cucumbers…until I tried them again. Delicious! Hummus, chick pea puffs, lentils, quinoa… I’m so into trying new foods now. I’ve been cooking more and making more Pinterest recipes.
I could fall into a rut and eat only peanut butter sandwiches every day, but I don’t want to! I keep exploring and trying so many new things and combinations.
Eating vegan isn’t about being perfect.
This is the biggest point. If you’re considering veganism at all, I urge you to remember this: every vegan choice you make benefits the earth and your body. Every single choice!
On the other hand, sometimes people make mistakes. You may accidentally eat an animal product or cave and have to have one. That doesn’t mean you’ve failed or that you should give up! It’s really hard to eat vegan in a meat-and-dairy obsessed culture, but we can do it!
After a month, I feel so proud of myself and so excited to continue on this vegan journey. What do you think of veganism? Will you give it a try? Let me know in the comments and on social media!