The Vegan Experience: 5 Things I’ve Learned (Month 1)
It’s been about one month since deciding to take the big plunge to go vegan. Here are the five top things I’ve learned during the first month of my vegan diet experience.
1. I already feel more healthy.
Since I’ve started eating as a vegan, I never get that feeling post-meal of: “Ugh, why did I eat that?”
(Um, except when I cleaned off that ginormous plate of sweet potato fries — eh heh, my weakness in life.)
I feel so much lighter and cleaner inside. (Maybe I even got a bit of that vegan glow going on?) 😉
I know you might be thinking that I’m just imagining things, or that I’ve been suckered by the placebo effect.
But through years of constantly getting sick, feeling lethargic, and eating a whole lot of crap, I got to intimately know my body.
I came to recognize those feelings of heaviness, weakness, bloating and inflammation that I knew were linked to my diet.
And so, I stand my ground when I say that I also know when my body has never felt better about eating than it does now.
2. The verdict is out on whether eating vegan costs more.
I definitely feel like I’ve spent A LOT of money on food the past few weeks.
But it’s unfair to make a comparison between how much I spent on groceries before I went vegan and after.
Why? Because I started this vegan journey pretty much as soon as I got to Vancouver.
Eating in this city — both in terms of grocery shopping and eating out — is more expensive than doing so in Toronto, whether you’re vegan or not.
So, I’ll save my post on grocery shopping as a vegan for when I’m back home, and I can make a more accurate comparison. Stay tuned!
3. People will be more supportive than you expect.
I’ve met a lot of new friends in Vancouver this past month. And whenever I’ve gone to stay with them as a guest or made plans to go out for dinner, I get a little nervous.
I’m just not sure how people will react when I bring up the whole: “So, I’m actually going vegan” conversation.
But oftentimes, it turns out that when I do open up to someone about my new diet, I learn that they’ve also made alternative choices for the way they eat.
Some are vegetarian or pescatarian. Others don’t label themselves as anything, but strive to cut down on meat as much as possible.
Some do it for health reasons, others just happened to be raised eating that way.
Whatever the case, people have been really helpful (offering vegan-friendly restaurant recommendations) and super thoughtful (like one of my hosts baking some delicious vegan cookies for us!).
4. There is a learning curve to going vegan
Even though there are LOTS of favourite foods that will remain in your meal repertoire, going vegan is still a whole new way of eating. It takes time to make the transition.
I think one of the reasons why going vegan has worked so well for me is because my time in Vancouver has been just that: my time and no one else’s.
Being in full control of my schedule means I’ve been able to spend hours researching about vegan foods, grocery shopping, and cooking.
The 30-Day Vegan Challenge provides daily tips that seem to address every concern a new vegan would have.
What kind of groceries should I buy? How do I read labels? How do I deal with being vegan in social situations? And so on.
I recommend checking it out if you’re thinking of going vegan too!
5. I am excited for a new culinary adventure
For a lot of people, the thought of going vegan probably signifies the end of enjoyable, tasty eating.
Instead, the New Vegan will be relegated to consuming the bland, unexciting flavours of leaf-like substances, never to experience culinary ecstasy again.
I ain’t gonna lie. Eating in this new way SO FAR hasn’t tasted as good as eating in the pre-vegan days.
But that’s to be expected. The pre-vegan days spanned 35 years. The vegan me hasn’t even been at it for 35 days.
My tastebuds are adjusting, but they’re also getting to explore new tastes and textures that I may not otherwise have been open to trying.
Trust me, eating vegan doesn’t mean having to eat boring food!
Looking up simple vegan recipes that use my favourite ingredients, as well as new, savoury ones, motivates me to continue learning how I can make vegan eating more delicious.
Here’s a list of 50 vegan blogs I came across, all of which have tons of vegan recipes to choose from.
There have definitely been moments this past month where I’ve gotten a nostalgic whiff of a delicious-smelling barbecue, or wistfully pondered aloud about how much I’m going to miss cheese.
But to be honest, I haven’t actually had any dire cravings for any of it so far.
The biggest motivator? Remembering that when I used to eat in the pre-vegan days, my body didn’t feel as healthy overall as it does now.
I also don’t pressure myself to be a vegan for life. Maybe I will be, maybe I won’t. This is a huge life change, so all I can expect from myself is to take it one day at a time.
As long as it continues to be the honest and right thing for me to do in the present moment, I’ll keep at this vegan experience!
Are you vegan or going vegan? What’s been your food and lifestyle experience so far?