Vegan Criticism

What I Wish I Knew Before Going Vegan

I’ve covered the 5 secrets to going vegan successfully before, but I wanted to dive a little deeper into the practical things that new vegans should know to make life a little easier in the “veganning.” 

With the vegan movement is exploding in popularity, it’s important to understand the obstacles you might face in the process before jumping in.

Here are 10 things I wish I knew before going vegan:

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Learn how to cook.

This isn’t just a suggestion, it’s a requirement. Let’s face it, going vegan means that you probably won’t be able go on a quick trip to grab those easy frozen pizzas or drive-thru dinners. More reason to start learning how to navigate the kitchen & finding easy vegan recipes to create.

Need some help? Sign up for Vegan School & check out my new e-book: The Veganner’s Cookbook

It’s more than just about the food.

While you may start with going vegan for one reason, you’ll find out over time that this lifestyle proves positive in other areas of life. The food we eat not only affects our bodies, but our minds, animal welfare, and the planet’s health. Start digging into why vegan is good as a whole, and you’ll be more inspired to keep up this lifestyle.

Don’t force the vegan conversation.

Not everyone will be ready or willing to hear why you went vegan. The best way to go about showing someone what it means is to live by example and to answer questions when asked at the appropriate time. When someone is ready to hear your story, you’ll know when they start asking you questions.

The health benefits won’t happen overnight.

There are plenty of rumors going around that being vegan means getting fit, healthy, and beautiful fast... and that couldn’t be further from the truth. When I first started the transition, I actually ended up gaining 50 pounds in 4 months due to the detox my body needed to go through, and I lost that 50 pounds over the course of 2 years. You can be vegan and very unhealthy, or your body could respond differently than you expect,, so it’s best to make sure that you’re getting all the nutrition your body requires.

Eat colorful meals, not processed foods.

Which brings me to my next point… you will find plenty of vegan food this is overly processed, filled with unnecessary chemicals, and not to mention how expensive they can be to buy. The truth is that you don’t need replacements to go vegan because whole foods provide plenty of texture, taste, & fulfillment.

Try The Veganner’s E-Cookbook to see how to “veganize” your favorite foods.

It’s not as expensive as you think.

Going vegan doesn’t have to be expensive, but it will be if you buy the replacements. Stick to whole grains, whole fruits & veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, plant-based milks, and you shouldn’t be spending more than $100 a week.

How to find vegan options when going out or traveling.

This was something that made going vegan hardest for me in the beginning. It wasn’t until I found HappyCow.net that I started to find the plant-based options I had been wanting. However, this does not mean every place you travel to & try will be vegan friendly. Be prepared by finding a place to stay that includes a kitchen. If you can find vegan options nearby, great. Cut yourself some slack and take lots of snacks just in case!

People will misunderstand you.

In the almost 4 years of being vegan, I’ve heard a lot of hurtful things. At first, it really bugged me that people were weirded out by my choice to abstain from animal products, but now that I’ve been in the game a bit longer, it’s easier to let those comments roll off my back. Learn to accept the fact that there will be a few people who are committed to misunderstanding you & you’ll have an easier time with the backlash (unintentional or not).

It’s okay to make mistakes.

In the “veganning,” there are lots of new things to be aware of: surprise ingredients in products you thought were vegan,  restaurants who may have no idea what you’re even talking about, and good intentions that don’t always add up. That’s okay. You’re going to slip, you’re going to get it wrong sometimes, and you’ll learn what to do better next time every mistake you make. Take this journey at your own pace.

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You’re not weird & you’re not alone.

Being the only vegan in the room will be the normal experience for most social situations, often leaving you feeling singled out. This is why it’s important to find support from others who understand you & why you’re doing this. Why? Because when you’re feeling weird about it all, they’ll be the one’s cheering you on.

Need some extra support? Enroll in Vegan School. It’s FREE!

How to Handle the Holidays as a Vegan

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Three years ago this November, right before the holiday season of eating, I decided to #GoVegan. After an intense amount of self education and exposure to the truth of animal agriculture, as well as experiencing plant-based meals in my own kitchen, I started to get bombarded with questions and concerns from family & friends.

I don’t know why I decided to go vegan at the start of that holiday season when we lived in the very traditional southern state of Louisiana, the heaviest food culture I’ve ever been a part of. It definitely wasn’t to make things difficult for myself or those who knew me, but with it came new challenges socially and realistically which is why I feel I can share some perspective with you now.

Someone asked me just recently, “How do you go home during the holiday season when the rest of your family isn’t vegan?” That’s a really good question that I’ve been waiting to answer. So, here’s my best advice for new vegans going home over the holidays to family & friends who may reject or question your decision to #GoVegan.

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Be Confident In Your Convictions

It doesn’t matter where you go in the world, someone is going to disagree with you. May that be in the form of snide comments around the dinner table, well intended concerns about your health, or straight up name-calling… I’ve been there, and chances are that if you’ve been vegan for any amount of time, you probably have been there, too. Knowing that not everyone is going to agree, I encourage you to practice radical acceptance in releasing control of other people’s reactions while remembering your own convictions about why you went vegan in the first place. Whether that’s for health, the animals, or the planet, you have got to be 100% in agreement with yourself even before you walk to do door & turn the handle to your family or friend’s house Thanksgiving Day.

Prepare mentally and literally for questions & comments. Bring your own amazing food to share. You could even write a list of people whose opinions matter most on a Post-It, stick that in your pocket, and take it out to look at it when ill comments or remarks are said. You got this.

Answer Questions After Dinner

It never fails that any gathering I’m at, someone is bound to be curious of my vegan choices. In the past, I’ve either word-vomited information, started arguments, or taken offense to someone’s comment or question, but now-a-days I save those conversations for “offline.” Meaning, the dinner table is off-limits for discussion about animal cruelty, hard health facts, and a holier-than-thou attitude. It’s not cool when someone tries to shove their convictions down your throat, so don’t do the same to them.

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Cook for Your Family

One of the best ways I’ve introduced my own family to veganism is by cooking delicious recipes for in the form of dinner & dessert. During the holidays you could even make sure to bring a few dishes for them to try (and for you to have for yourself). Just make sure you’re bringing something delicious. A veggie tray doesn’t count.

Don’t Be Judgemental, Be Enthusiastic

With a 600% increase in people who identify as vegan in the United States, someone is bound to tell you about their progress in eating plants. However, there will still be some animal products at the tables of non-vegans and it’s best not to be judgemental towards those choices. Everyone is on their own journey. Your choice by itself, is making a huge impact, so don’t forget that. Celebrate the little victories when they’re mentioned and love people where they’re at!

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If you have any questions, tips, or hacks about this topic, leave them in the comments or send me a private message. I'd love to connect with you!

xo,

Amy Beth