Yesterday I talked about how awesome it is to be vegan. There are so many benefits that I honestly don’t understand why everyone’s not doing it, you know?
However, I feel like I need to be completely honest and talk about things that I wish I had been prepared for when I turned vegan.
1. Being vegan can be lonely.
I’m the only person in my family and circle of close friends that is vegan. No one that I work with is vegan. When you talk to others and realize that no one shares the same views as you, it can feel very isolating. I have good news, though! There’s social media and you can meet TONS of people just like you through Facebook, SparkPeople, and blogs and websites by other vegans! Also, when others see how a vegan diet has changed you, you may even convert a person or two and suddenly you’re not so lonely anymore!
2. Get used to being teased.
My husband once joked that for dinner he was going to give me a fork and give me free reign in the backyard. Ha ha. If I had a nickle for every time I heard a joke about bacon, I could have opened up my own vegan restaurant at this point. Don’t take it to heart when this happens. The people that matter might tease you a bit, but will be mainly supportive of your lifestyle. They may not get it, but they will support you. The people who tease you relentlessly and in a mean way don’t even deserve your time or attention. Walk away.
3. You will feel heartbroken. A lot.
Every time I see a story about the atrocities involved in the production of animal products, my heart breaks a little bit more. I also get pissed, though, and this is a good thing because it motivates me to want to do more to help. It’s a dilemna for me every time I post something on FB or write something in my blog – is this going to turn people away or is it going to make them think? Or maybe it’s going to turn them away, but at least I’ve got them thinking? I don’t want to alienate people, but how can I influence people if I stay silent?
4. Vegan can be more expensive.
While you can eat inexpensively on a vegan diet, many of the products that make a vegan diet extra delicious are expensive, such as chia seeds, tahini, raw nuts, and quinoa. Vegan clothing, shoes, make-up, and hygiene products also cost more than non animal-friendly stuff. It’s so unfair! But I find room in our budget and I make it work because to me, buying animal-friendly products is worth the extra cost. In the long run, saving the lives of animals outweighs the extra money out of my pocket.
5. Get used to bringing your own food.
I bring my own food to holiday gatherings, work parties, school banquets, and other social gatherings when I know there won’t be anything there for me to eat, which is 99% of the time. And sometimes I go places and go hungry. Most of the places you go are not going to have anything you can eat. For instance, the season of graduation parties is coming upon us and I am 99.9% certain that there will not be anything for me to eat. Maybe I’ll get lucky and there will be raw veggies or fruit? But just in case, I’ll eat before we go or eat when we get home. My daughter graduates this year and you can be sure that there will be at least a few items that are vegan, even though I’m sure I’ll be the only vegan at the party!
6. Get used to answering the same questions over and over….
Where do you get your protein? How do you get calcium if you don’t drink milk? Do you still eat fish? Do you eat chicken? What do you eat? Are you hungry all of the time? Questions are a good thing. It means that people are curious and how can you spread the good word of the vegan lifestyle if you don’t talk about it? And yes, you’ll feel like you’re answering the same questions over and over, but look at it as an opportunity to educate others.
While there are things about being a vegan that aren’t so positive, they’re manageable, right? Every day gets easier, and after doing this for four years, I can tell you that my passion for this lifestyle grows stronger every day. There’s no going back to the Standard American Diet for me and there’s no way that I’ll knowingly do something that harms an animal, whether it be what food goes into my mouth, or what clothing or product goes on my body.