Have you ever wondered what it’s really like being a vegan? What goes through our minds? Why we do what we do? It may not be what you think… Well, it might but you’re about to find out anyhow, as I’m laying it all out on the line. Here are the confessions of a vegan.
Sometimes, being a vegan isn’t a walk in the park.
Sometimes, being a vegan is like winning the lottery.
I mean, I get to save the lives of adorable animals, lessen my impact on the planet, and eat delicious, plant-based food. It’s a win-win, right?
Well, turns out, not always.
When I became vegan at the age of 20, it was like all hell broke loose amongst my family and friends. I’m sure my parents thought my relationship with food was becoming detrimental — though, it actually changed everything — and my friends thought I was crazy.
I’m not going to lie, I grew up in Minnesota hunting animals, eating loads of meat, and chowing down on pounds of cheese. If you’d of told me 5 years ago I’d be a vegan in the future, I’d have straight up laughed in your face whilst choking on a Slim Jim (which is a pre-packaged meat stick found in most convenience stores across America).
Though, look at me now. A animal-loving, grass-eating (according to my grandpa), full-on vegan.
And after being a vegan for several years, I have a lot of confessions. We’re talking the good, bad, ugly, and everything in between.
Here are my deepest thoughts and confessions as a vegan:
Every now and then, I deeply crave non-vegan food.
Especially when I’m drunk.
Like many other vegans, I grew up eating meat and dairy products. So, when non-vegans ask why I’m vegan “because have you tasted cheese?”, yes. I have tasted cheese. I grew up eating it for 20 years.
Just because I’m a vegan doesn’t mean I don’t like the taste of it.
Even though I follow a vegan lifestyle, I sometimes crave blocks of savory jalapeño cheddar cheese. Or a full stack of BBQ ribs. Or big ole’ slice of traditional cheesecake. Or a large gooey, melty, cheesy pizza from my local pizza joint. Or, my past personal favorite, a huge plate of sausage biscuits and gravy.
There’s no denying that I like the taste of these things but I happily gave each and every one of them up to go vegan. Because they were easy sacrifices in comparison to the bigger picture.
Plus, some vegan masterminds out there in the world are creating fantastic vegan substitutes that are just as — or even more — tasty!
It’s okay if others don’t understand veganism.
It’s absolutely fine if others don’t understand my reasons for choosing a different path than them. I have no quarrels with those who quietly disagree with me.
It’s when someone asks me why I’m a vegan — and then tries to dispute those particular reasons.
Why y’all gotta try to knock me down when I’m feeling great?
There’s no need to tell me I’m not making a difference or that climate change is made up or that we need to eat animals to survive. Clearly, I can’t change your mind about not eating animal products. Likewise, you can’t change my mind about reverting back to being a meat-eater.
You have your reasons of eating animals (though, a lot of them are terrible) and I have my reasons for being a vegan. Let’s just leave it at that, alright?
Going along with that…
We’re not all “in-your-face” vegans.
Sometimes, I find it hard to associate myself with the word ‘vegan’ and would much rather use the word ‘plant-based.’
Because there’s a major association between the word ‘vegan’ and people who think they’re better than everyone, people who throw buckets of paint on those wearing fur, people trying to force their belief on others, and people who shame others for not following the same diet.
While those types of vegans do exist, I’d go as far to say as 98% of vegans are by no means that extreme.
Yet, it’s so hard for some to disassociate those thoughts with someone who says they’re vegan. And, sometimes, when I tell others I’m vegan they immediately turn defensive, trying to justify why they eat meat.
While I’d absolutely love for the world to go vegan, I know that’s never going to happen and I wouldn’t ever try to force veganism on someone who isn’t interested. Or shame others for what they eat (unless they start shaming me… but that’s a whole other story!).
Vegan food is unbelievably amazing.
While I do crave non-vegan food every once in a while, as mentioned above, I truly love being a vegan.
Not just because I get to save lives or make a difference, but because vegan food is freakin’ amazing!
Just the other weekend, I had a extraordinary time trying out a whole array of delicious vegan food in Edinburgh, Scotland.
I ate my weight in mac and cheese, red velvet cake, buttermilk fried seitan dipped in ranch and chipotle mayo, chili topped with creamy guac and cheese, moroccan stew, and delicious donuts — all 100% vegan!
Safe to say, I had an unbelievably fantastic time.
Not only that, I feel better when I eat vegan food – inside and out. After becoming a vegan, I can say without a doubt I eat much healthier; more whole grains, nutritious fruits, and colorful vegetables.
Why do others sometimes make me feel embarrassed about being a vegan?
This is something that really grinds my gears.
I’ve had others make me feel so disgusting and so embarrassed that I’m a vegan. I’ve had both friends and family make me feel belittled, just because my life choices somehow affect them negatively.
This is not OK.
Why in god’s name should I feel embarrassed about choosing to be part of a movement that is responsible for saving the lives of innocent animals, spreading compassion, reducing my carbon footprint, having a positive impact on the environment, saving my personal health, and overall changing the world?
A side salad at a restaurant is a pitiful excuse for a “vegan option.”
Please — please — don’t ask me to go out to lunch or for a meal if the place you’ve chosen has a pathetic excuse for a vegan option. I get you want to go to a fancy steakhouse or a meaty BBQ restaurant, but it’s just not in the cards for me.
“But you could always have a side salad! Or some potatoes?!”
Honestly, that just makes me a bit depressed.
While I truly do appreciate the invite, and I absolutely adore potatoes, I like getting in enough calories for the day and a tiny little portion of iceberg lettuce and fried potatoes isn’t going to cut it.
So sorry, but I’m going to have to turn down your invitation to a restaurant where I can’t get a meal.
But hey, you could always let me do some research on a few different places — which do have a few vegan options — that we’ll both love! It’s all about balance, right?
While I don’t expect to be catered just because I’m a vegan, I do like to eat. And I’m sure some of you reading this will think, “Wow, she’s a bit dramatic, eh?” Well, maybe. But have you ever met a meat-eater who didn’t sneer at the idea of going to a vegan restaurant where he or she couldn’t get a big slice of carcass?
So, gosh dangit, I like being able to have at least one decent option when dining out. Sue me!
We don’t all wear baggy clothes, have dreads, and hold up peace signs all the time.
But if that’s you, that’s absolutely fine. You do you!
Though, the other 90% of vegans aren’t super hippies wearing bell bottom jeans and beads protesting for world peace every other day. While we’d probably like to go out and voice our opinions about the harsh cruelties of the world, we have things to get done like everyone else.
On more than one occasion, I’ve been called a hippy. While the term isn’t offensive by any means, as it typically means someone who rejects conventional values, a lot of people are under the impression a good amount of vegans are those beads-wearing, long-haired, all about peace individuals.
Truth is, most vegans are just normal, everyday people who like to make a difference.
It’s not all about smoothie bowls and pricy Beyond Meat burgers.
Have I ever had a healthy, Instagram-worthy smoothie bowl? Sure, who hasn’t. (side note: if you haven’t they’re pretty easy to make at home!)
Have I ever tried an expensive beyond burger? Most definitely.
A lot of people are under the impression that’s all us vegans eat. Expensive vegan foods like $10 per pound beyond burgers and $20 smoothie bowls. That our wallets are all filled to the brim with endless amounts of dollars to spend on pricy vegan delicacies.
That’s absolutely not true.
I’ve been traditionally unemployed for almost the past year and I can assure you: I’m damn near broke.
And with the money I do have, you can bet I’m not spending it on stupid expensive fake burgers or colorful smoothie bowls.
Sure, I’ve splurged every once and a while on an expensive food item, but who hasn’t?
I can bet every meat-eater occasionally purchases a slightly over the top ribeye. It’s absolutely no different.
Fact is, most vegans don’t spend our breakfast, lunch, and dinners munching on prepackaged vegan meats and over-the-top smoothie bowls. A lot of the time, it’s cheap rice and grains bought in bulk or vegetables and fruits on sale.
There’s a lot of loneliness to being vegan.
What most vegans don’t share: we feel lonely an awful lot of the time.
Unless you have an array of vegan friends you can hang out and share your thoughts with (which, sadly, I do not), being vegan can be a lonely lifestyle.
Facing the fact that most people don’t share my perspective and won’t even try to understand where I’m coming from, not to mention they’ll likely get offended if even a slight disagreement arises, it’s sometimes really tough.
When telling others I’m vegan, it’s like I can feel the judgement just radiating off them.
At this point, many thoughts start to shoot through my mind. Do they think I’m self-righteous? On a high horse? Overprivileged? Overly sensitive?
It’s a real damper on my self-esteem.
The popular stereotype of vegans is that you’ll know right off the bat we’re vegan because we won’t shut up about it. Which instills a wave of anxiousness and worry in me at any get together.
Silently wondering if I’m talking to much about the subject, if I’m being “that vegan”?
And unless you’ve been a vegan in a similar situation, you probably have a hard time relating to any of that. Making my point even more clear: being a vegan can be a lonely road to walk down.
Don’t worry, I get enough protein.
I know you’re asking even though you likely don’t give a damn, but I get enough protein, thank you.
Despite what many think, protein from plants is just as good as protein from animals. And unless someone is calorie-deficient, meaning they’re not getting in enough calories for their body, no one is ever going to be lacking in protein.
And if you’re worried about vegans getting those pesky essential amino acids, plants are absolutely perfect for that too! I mean, if a enormous elephant or hefty cow — both which are mainly herbivores — can get enough protein and amino acids from tons of plants, I’ll be alright, too.
“Contain’s milk powder.”
So many prepackaged foods in grocery stores around the world contain “milk powder” or “milk solids” or some sort of milk byproduct and it kills me.
Why in god’s name does milk have to be in a simple little packaged food like noodles? Or chewing gum?
“It just doesn’t make any sense!” *As I throw my arms up in defeat*
It’s so frustrating to come across something that should be vegan but it isn’t because it contains a milk byproduct like casein, whey, dry milk powder, or all of the above.
For example, whilst I was in a grocery store one time, one of the soy milks on the shelf had milk lactose in it. How does that make any sense? What need is there to have milk in something which should be a milk substitute?
Just goes to show you never know what’s in your food!
Sometimes, I really despise meat-eaters. And not just because they eat meat.
There’s no denying that us vegans get a lot of crap.
You know what’s worse than people bashing the lifestyle and path you chose?
Damn near nothing, that’s what.
Sometimes, the shit I get from people — specifically meat-eaters — because I chose to follow a more compassionate, sustainable, and overall happier path makes me want to pull my hair out.
Like my goodness, is any personal choice we make in this day in age free from judgement?
All I want in life is to save the planet, save my health, and save the lives of those who can’t speak for themselves.
Why can’t others just let it be?
Nearly everyday I get comments and questions like,
“But have you every tasted a perfectly cooked steak?”
“Pizza is so good, I could never give that up!!!”
“How do you get your calcium? You know it’s super important for bones!”
“What makes you think we’re not supposed to eat animals? We’ve been eating them for decades!”
And my personal favorites…
“God put animals on this earth for us to eat!”
“You need to eat meat to get your protein or else you’ll dieeeee!”
Okay, so maybe people don’t tell me I’ll die but you get the point. According to meat-eaters, I should be damn near crippled, debilitated, and slowly fading away after being a vegan for multiple years.
Yet, here I am. A strong independent vegan, feeling better than ever before.
Wellll… if you’ve gotten this far in my confessions of a vegan — kudos to you! I’m glad you stuck around.
Though, if this post made you feel feelings in any way — good or bad — let me know in the comments! And if you relate to this in some way or if you absolutely despise me, I’d love (or hate?) to hear your thoughts and personal stories.
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Julie CaoOctober 1, 2018 9:43 pm
I am not a vegan but I had a very good vegan friend. Every once a while we go to the vegan restaruant together and I can say some vegan food is really delicious and I went to the same restaurant often on my own. The most people do not think is that meater lovers can eat vegan food but not the other way around, so instead of judge each other, it would be great to be support each other’s choice.