Happy Earth Day! Many Celebrate Earth Day all week long, so this Earth Week, I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite ways to be sustainable to improve the plant. Today is all about what I learned about being vegan for five years.
I began eating vegan in the middle of 11th grade of high school, and now I am in my senior year of college. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life and I am so grateful to what I’ve learned from it over the years. I’m constantly learning new things and trying to improve the quality of my meals and what brands I choose to support.
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5 Things I've Learned About Being Vegan for 5 Years
You Can't Change Everyone
There will be times when those you love can’t get on board with how you eat. Which is OKAY! Growing up, my family was your typical American family, eating meat and dairy. It was definitely a transition, and I was prepared to do it. I would make my own meals, so it wasn’t more difficult for my mom to make dinner. I would personally buy any fun, expensive vegan products I wanted to try out.
Vegans get the stereotype of wanting to change everyone or trying to look superior to those who don’t eat plant based. That’s not the way one should go into it! I love when people ask questions if they are unsure about something or are considerate to what you eat. My sister wasn’t on board with the whole idea of it at first, however in the last year she eats a mostly vegan diet! How cool is that?
It's More Than The Food You Eat
When I first went vegan, I solely just ate vegan. I didn’t even consider other purchases to be important such as clothing and beauty product. To me, being vegan and plant based is so much more than what you eat. It’s about how you treat the planet as well.
Over the years, I have made a ton of switches to sustainable products and making my home a greener home. It’s all about making small changes, which can create a much larger impact in the future. My goal for this year is to switch to more natural beauty and skincare products.
You Will Make Mistakes
There is constantly new research, brands will switch ingredients they use, and you may not even notice and will make mistakes. I’ve definitely made many eating mistakes over the years, but that’s okay! If you go into it with the right intent, it’s not the end of the world.
Did you know that gelatin isn’t vegan? It’s derived from animal body parts and is in a lot of products that you may not know aren’t vegan when you are first starting out! It’s in some chewing gums, a lot of candy, marshmallows and more! I always recommend scanning the ingredient list before you buy a product.
It's Not About What You Are Giving Up
Instead of going into it that you have to give up poultry, dairy and meat, think about all the things that you are letting yourself eat. Meat and dairy products tend to be more calorie dense than plant based ones. This means you get to eat more food and larger portions!
If you do ever miss meat or dairy, there are so many replacement options. I just had a grilled cheese for lunch! I eat ice cream all of the time, I can have vegan jelly beans and enjoy a delicious veggie burger and fries for dinner!
I get asked a lot, “how could you give up “blank”?”, but it’s not about that. I don’t crave a real burger or want feta cheese on my salad. Once I watched documentaries about some horrors of the meat and dairy industry, it was pretty hard for me to even think about wanting to eat them again. I’m thinking about the animals that don’t need to die for me to eat and how much I enjoy eating a plant based diet.
Do Your Research
Before you start any big life changing event, you do research right? If you were going to move, you’d locate parking and the best area to live right? It’s the exact same when you are switching from a meat based diet to a plant based one. This has been my favorite thing to learn about being vegan.
In today’s food and drink market, it’s possible to be an unhealthy vegan. With all of the replacement options and junk food, you can still not be healthy if you are just eating the vegan version. While vegan ice cream and burgers might be nice for a weekend treat, make sure that you are getting in some whole foods as well!
There are vitamins and nutrients that just differ in eating two diets. B12 is a big one. It is the only vitamin that you really cannot get from eating 100% vegan. There are some items that are fortified in it, but I would recommend talking to your physician and see if they recommend a supplement. Every couple of years I will get a blood test done to double check if I am low/deficient in any vitamins.
Have you ever considered going vegan? Are you doing anything in honor of Earth Day? I would love to know! Leave a comment down below!
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