When I took the plunge into vegan life, I did it for one reason, and one reason only: Because I knew NO animal should ever suffer just so I could frivolously eat something. I didn’t know sh*t about what was vegan and what wasn’t. In fact, I was basically planning to survive on wheat grass and soy milk for the rest of my life, wither away into malnutrition, lose all my friends, and never eat in a restaurant again.
Surprise: NOT THE CASE!
Instead, I discovered that being vegan is way easier and more awesome than I had ever imagined—so let me give you a glimpse into your vegan future! Here are 11 things that I wish I’d known about being vegan BEFORE I went vegan:
Back in the day, I had to buy most of my specialty vegan products (such as vegan cheese, vegan ice cream, or faux-chicken nuggets) at fancy health-food stores. Oh the times, they are a-changin’! Nowadays, with vegan diets becoming more and more popular, I can find intentionally vegan meats, cheeses, chilis, ice cream desserts, and frozen meals of all kinds even at the most basic grocery stores. Woohoo!
Um, I WISH I had known about the awesomeness that is peta2 when I first went vegan. How did I live without it? It’s like having a best friend who knows a bazillion awesome ways to help animals, has an endless supply of vegan recipes to share, and is always down to give you lots of hella cute stickers. What more could a vegan girl ask for?
Yes, even your steak-and-potato loving uncle (potatoes ARE vegan, just sayin’) and your McCruelty-eatin’ friends love vegan food. First of all, tons of foods that people eat all the time are already vegan without trying to be. Second of all, vegan food is just regular food without gross body parts—and it’s damn good! Check out some recipes and whip something up for your friends. I promise that they won’t be complaining.
Loads of restaurants have an already vegan (or easily customizable) option on their menu, but if you can’t find one, not to worry! Most places will be more than happy to alter a dish or throw together a few sides that meet your needs, even if it’s not the most vegan-friendly restaurant.
Oh, what? Just taking action to combat world hunger, climate change, and rainforest destruction? NO BIG DEAL. I had no idea that I could add all this sh*t to my résumé just by taking up vegan eating, but it’s freaking awesome.
This isn’t surprising, considering that you’ll no longer be treating your body like a garbage disposal for dead bodies, chicken periods, pus, and other nasty junk. Cheers to longer lives, lower rates of obesity and disease, and healthy cholesterol levels!
So do you want to discover the most crazy-delicious accidentally vegan treats in the world? Of course you do! So don’t be afraid to read a food label on something that *probably* isn’t vegan. Just sayin’, I’ve discovered all kinds of accidentally vegan goodies because I dared to dream and read labels. No shame!
I am NOT talking about your future vegan babies, kids! I’m just saying that as more and more people in your life witness your compassionate ways and see just how easy, healthy, and awesome it is to be vegan, they’re going to try it out, too. And some of them are going to stay that way. Just ask my lil’ sister!
Vegan dating isn’t always easy, but with your newfound vegan superpowers, I think you just might convert someone! 😉 Seriously though, if you find someone who is compassionate (vegan or not), he or she is sure to respect your lifestyle and will most likely start taking steps toward a cruelty-free lifestyle, too. (And trust me—I’m speaking from real-life experiences here, y’all!)
There’s gonna come a day when you’re midway through a bag of chips and OOPS—you juuust notice that “casein” is one of the ingredients. *Barf* I know, it’s gross—but don’t beat yourself up. Sh*t happens! Just learn from the experience, pat yourself on the back for making a constant effort to make the best choices for animals, and move on your merry vegan way.
There are moments when I want to strangle my parents and/or friends for continuing to support outrageous torture by eating meat, dairy products, and eggs—especially after everything I’ve shared with them. When those moments come, try to remember that it takes time for some people to understand, and you were a flesh-eater once, too! Just be happy that now you’re making a HUGE difference for animals. GO YOU!
Bottom line: When I went vegan, I had no idea how awesome, easy, healthy, fun, environmentally friendly, and life-changing it would be—and I wish someone had told me ’cause I would have given it a try even sooner!