I never planned on being vegan. But as a young girl, I loved animals and ate like a rabbit so I naturally gravitated towards a vegetarian diet. By the end of college, I completely stopped eating meat, chicken and fish. That was 26 + years ago when my journey with a plant based diet began.
Over 10 years ago, I eliminated dairy (not as strict) and even turned raw vegan for awhile (which felt amazing but was too isolating). Being vegan isn’t the easiest path, but I love it and can’t imagine living any other way.
In this post, I reflect on some things I’ve learned following a plant based diet. My dream is that veganism will become increasingly popular and that healthy, animal-free cooking will be as ubiquitous as Pizza.
- I’ve learned that you have to be vigilant since others don’t always know what’s vegan. For example, I would have never guessed that the Pisco Sour I ordered in Cusco contained egg-whites. Thankfully, I asked.
- I’ve learned that being vegan can make some people uncomfortable. Some consider me “picky” or “narrow minded” and can feel “put out” if they have invited you for dinner. Others can feel self-conscious and apologize for eating meat in front of me. I’m never critical of others but I recognize that my choice may arouse certain feelings in others.
- I’ve learned that social media forums like Instagram and Pinterest have thriving vegan communities and are wonderful resources for mouthwatering recipes, vegan blogs and inspiration. I’m constantly impressed by the exceptionally creative and talented people out there.
- I’ve learned to have answers prepared in advance for folks who are curious about my eating style. In social situations, there are times I’d rather not have the focus on my eating but having honest responses allows me to answer their queries politely without feeling defensive or on the spot.
- I’ve learned to be more patient and kind over time. I believe a compassionate diet helps.
- I’ve learned how to cook and I yearn for the healthy food I make.
- I’ve learned to take food with me when I travel since airports/planes rarely have vegan options.
- I’ve learned to contact restaurants in advance when I don’t see vegan items on the menu. Especially in social situations. No one wants to worry that you’re “just getting a salad with nothing” so working this out beforehand can save any discomfort or awkwardness for you or your companions.
- I research vegan friendly restaurants wherever I go and add their addresses to google maps so I can easily locate them. This is a major convenience when visiting a foreign city.
- I’ve learned how accepting and wonderful my husband is about my veganism. He’s always supported me despite dealing with the challenges of having “a vegan wife”. He makes sacrifices because he loves me but also because he loves how good he feels eating fresh, healthy food.