My husband and I made the decision to go vegan around Thanksgiving of 2018. Perfect timing, I know. This was right around the time we decided to start our van life journey!
Now that we’ve lived a plant-based lifestyle for 8 months, I’ve realized there are some things I wish we knew before taking the plant-based plunge.
If you are considering veganism, keep in mind there are a million benefits to giving up animal products, but it isn’t always easy. There can be a huge learning curve when adapting to a new lifestyle.
Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or a curious omnivore, there are several facts to consider when debating a vegan lifestyle.
These are the things I wish someone told me before I went vegan.
Being Vegan Isn’t Always Healthy
As an omnivore looking into veganism, I saw all of these incredibly active, vibrant beings eating their weight in celery every day, and I thought “Hell yes. If we go vegan we will achieve the epitome of health!”
Did you know Oreos are vegan? So are Skittles and Sour Patch Kids. Most bread is vegan, and they even have vegan chocolate chip cookies.
My point is that there are just as many unhealthy vegan options as there are healthy ones. So many assume that eating vegan is a cheat code to a healthy diet when in reality, you have to be just as mindful about what goes in your body on a plant-based diet as you do a regular diet.
Sorry to disappoint you.
Veganism is a Lifestyle Choice
People go vegan for many reasons. Some of those reasons include health, the environment, the animals, etc. Most people stay vegan for all of the above. I didn’t fully understand the difference between going vegan and eating a plant-based diet when I started out.
Eating a plant-based diet is exactly the way it sounds. You simply eliminate animal products from your diet
Veganism is much more than just a diet. Being a vegan means that you avoid ALL animal products, not just in the food you consume but in EVERYTHING.
That means no more leather, gelatin, down, wool, or anything else that may be a product or byproduct of an animal. Most vegans even avoid honey and beeswax.
We embrace veganism fully, but we also know that a plant-based diet alone can still provide amazing benefits to your health and the environment, so keep on vegging.
Everyone Has a Reaction
There is a certain hippy woo-woo stigma around veganism. We’ve all heard it before…
“Vegans force their opinions on others with their overbearing, tree-hugging ideology,”
Because of the stigma around veganism, my husband and I kept our new lifestyle to ourselves. We did not want to come off as “those” vegans, but inevitably our little secret came to light.
Honestly, we didn’t make a big deal about it. We just ordered our salads and tried to keep to ourselves but NOOOOO!
People brought it up constantly, asking questions, looking at our food in disgust and saying things like “WhAt Is ThAt?!?!?!”
We even found that people were more likely to tell us about their meat-based dishes because we’re vegan!
Honestly, guys, I can’t roll my eyes enough over this…
We have found that nonvegans make a bigger deal about veganism than actual vegans. I’m going to leave it at that because the rabbit hole is long and winding!
Mock Meats are Expensive
There is a wide variety of mock meat on the market. There are vegan hot dogs, “chicken” nuggets, burgers, and even vegan eggs! Most of its pretty good, but not all of its close to the real thing.
Let me tell you a secret: After you’re vegan for a while, you won’t even notice the difference!
But it is all pretty expensive. My husband and I call it the vegan tax. Basically, anything plant-based is at least a dollar more than the regular version. This doesn’t make total sense. Especially considering mock meat is made from plants, which are generally cheaper than meat.
If you want to cook for yourself and eat a whole-food, plant-based diet, you will likely save money and lose weight!
Vegetables Aren’t Always Vegan
This was the biggest shocker for me. I was in the grocery store, picking up some frozen vegetables for the week. I thought it would be funny to check the ingredients on a bag of broccoli!
Low and behold if it didn’t contain milk powder. MILK POWDER. IN THE FROZEN BROCCOLI!
Most apples from the grocery store aren’t considered vegan because they’re covered in beeswax to keep them shiny.
Needless to say, we now check the ingredients in everything before we buy. If you want to try out veganism, make sure you’re checking your labels.
Even though veganism is a big change, we absolutely love the lifestyle. After almost a year, veganism comes naturally, and we almost never think about it.
Our health, our lifestyle, and our environmental impact have changed for the better because of our choice to go vegan.
Our advice to anyone thinking about veganism is to do your research, take vitamin B12, and don’t listen to the haters!
Scrolled all the way down for the info? I’ll make it quick.
There is vegan junk food (Oreos, Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, and even vegan chocolate chip cookies).
Veganism is a lifestyle choice, not just a diet. That means no animal products under any circumstances.
People react very strongly to veganism.
Mock meats can get pricey.
Even some vegetables have animal products.
Happy travels, friends!