My sophomore year of college, I went vegan for a few months. It started as an experiment of curiosity, and became a really nice experience to have. It made me appreciate food a lot more, and become more adventurous with my cooking and eating. This post isn’t going to be to tell you all to go vegan, as I don’t believe in food propaganda or guilt. But it’s to share with all of you what I learned from the time that I went vegan.
I’m not vegan or vegetarian anymore (I seldom eat red meat though), but I do designate certain days of a month where I try to eat vegan or vegetarian. I know someone’s going to say something snarky, and my response is this–it’s better than nothing, right?
I have no problem with eating vegan, I do it almost every time I eat with Lolo. I do understand that is trickier for some than others, and I understand that it can cause a few health problems for some. Me personally, I got really sick after being vegan for a while and had to revert back. It just depends on the person! Lolo has been doing it for over a year and she’s more than happy! It just depends on the person. Regardless, like I said before, it’s a personal choice.
People ask me questions about veganism quite a bit (since I share vegan recipes sometimes, and ideas), so I decided that I’d share some things I’ve learned from the experience!
- Don’t try to find substitutes for foods you miss. It’s not going to taste the same, and you’ll be disappointed. Instead, learn to love and appreciate vegan foods for their uniqueness and what makes them different. For example, I like vegan cheeses for different reason than real cheeses.
- Don’t let one bad food experience affect you. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who have tried a food once and continually think their bad experience is grounds for denouncing it. There are so many different ways to cook or prepare foods, and just because you’ve had it prepared one way and don’t enjoy it, doesn’t mean that it’s bad! I think the only thing worse is people who always voice their opinions on what foods they think sucks.
- Some foods you already love may already be vegan. Oreos are vegan, chips and salsa are vegan. Lots of foods are vegan already, without us even knowing it! A quick google search will clarify things!
- A lot of foods can be easily modified to be vegan. It’s simple to make something vegan through modifications, at most food places! For example, Taco Bell’s bean burrito can be modified to be vegan!
- Trying new recipes is a whole lot of fun. You might find some new favorites, and get to try new foods! Some of the recipes I made when I was vegan are still my go-to recipes today!
- Yelp is going to be your best friend. I think Yelp is amazing regardless, but it’s extra helpful if you have dietary restrictions. The app makes it so easy for you to find new places to dine at, or specialty food stores! (PS my vegan favorites in Chicago are The Chicago Diner, Handlebar, Dimo’s Pizza, Native Foods Cafe, Karyn’s on Green).
- When transitioning in or out of veganism, take it slow. I got ridiculously sick after having a burger right after being vegan for months. Take it slow, your body hasn’t digested certain foods in some time, so transition out (or in) slowly. Maybe use vegetarianism as a gateway.
- People are going to comment. There are always going to be people who make unsolicited remarks about how much they love meat or how they can’t do what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter, because they’re not the ones doing this, you are! It’s a personal choice and no one has the right to comment on it. One of my biggest pet peeves anytime I was vegetarian or vegan was when people would consistently tell me they thought it was stupid or that I should just give up. It’s not their place to say!
- You will miss some foods. I missed cheese so badly when I was vegan. Lolo says that it’s perfectly normal and the feeling goes away once you’ve done it for a while!
- You will accidentally lapse. It’s inevitable. When I first went vegan I had kimchi and thought it was vegan, and was so upset when I found out it wasn’t! Don’t beat yourself up over little lapses. It’s perfectly okay.
Have you ever gone vegan? would you ever go vegan? What advice do you have?