Is It Hard to Be Vegan?

I get asked that question a lot. Or sometimes people hear I’m vegan and I’m told, “I could never be vegan. That must be SO hard!”  I believe there is definitely a learning curve. During this time you need  to change your ways, educate yourself, try new things and do things differently.  It is my hope with this site that I can help to streamline that process for you.  I’ve been mostly vegan for about 5 years now and I can honestly say, becoming vegan has actually made my life so much easier. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I used to spend a great deal of time reading about health and fitness and diets and trying to figure out the secret solution.  I’ve counted calories, fat grams and carbohydrates and various times throughout my life. I’ve weighed myself every day and obsessed about numbers of all kinds.  I’ve kept diaries and made calculations and spent hours planning and analyzing and drawing conclusions about what works and what doesn’t to achieve some perfect number on the scale.  Becoming vegan released me from all that.

I think about food differently. I absolutely love to eat delicious food and I always have.  When I decided I no longer wanted to eat meat and dairy I started eating more vegetables and more fruits and more whole grains.  Without the meat and dairy I feel like I eat so much more food than I used to. It takes a LOT of volume to fill you up so if you love to eat, you can totally pig out on vegan food and not gain weight. Not ANY vegan food mind you, but the right vegan foods.  And they can be totally delicious.  Hear me loud and clear though, just because it’s vegan does NOT mean it’s healthy.  White flour, white sugar and high fructose corn syrup are all vegan but you certainly don’t want to eat LOTS of these foods.  I’m talking about fruits, vegetables and whole grains of all different sorts, fixed up in all different ways.  Have I mentioned we have some vegan recipes on our site? 🙂

Like any change, you first need to know what your motivation is. There are lots of reasons to be vegan and once I made the choice for animals, as I read and learned more, I realized it was a great choice for many other reasons like the environment and health and not supporting big businesses that make us sick and only care about making lots of money.  Whatever your motivation is for going vegan or just eating less meat, keep it in the front of your mind.  Remember the benefits of what you are doing and keep educating yourself.

Keep track of how you feel after you eat different foods.  Every body is different and you need to learn to listen to yours.  I still eat sugary sweets sometimes but as I’ve paid attention to how I feel after eating them, they are much less appealing. My stomach is upset and my teeth hurt.  When I eat french fries my stomach gurgles. I still do it but not nearly as often as I used to. It’s just not that enticing when I know what’s coming after the 1 minute party in my mouth.

We’re working to create some downloadable vegan meal plans right now. We’re hoping this will make it easier for you too. We will include meal plans, shopping lists, tips and support.  It’s coming soon.

Keep trying new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen.  The more members of the family that are involved, the better.  Sign up to get our new recipes sent to you by email here.

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I think the biggest challenge eating vegan is going to a restaurant and not having any say in what restaurant it is. Most restaurants have some vegan choices but I have found myself in a place where the only thing vegan on the menu is french fries. This is less than ideal and I’ve handled it differently at different times, everything from just not eating to eating the french fries to asking the waitress about other options.  As I’ve become more vocal about not wanting to go a place that doesn’t have any options, this happens less and less.  A little advance planning and looking at menus online works wonders.

The second biggest challenge of going vegan is lack of support. Maybe you are the only one in your family that is interested in eating less meat. It can be very lonely.  I tried lots of things here too and what I found works the best is making lots of awesome tasting vegan food and being completely happy in my decision. When you make great food and are happy with your choice, this radiates. When you get mad at other people for not being on board and try and persuade them to make your choice, everybody is unhappy.  Yummy food and happy people draws others in. Being bitter and judgmental pushes people away.

You don’t have to be perfect, at least not in my book. I realize that many vegans disagree with me on this but I believe that it’s ok to be imperfect. It’s actually impossible to be a perfect vegan. Tires on cars or buses have some sort of animal by product in them.  That’s tough to avoid. In Vegan for Life, they say, trying to be absolutely perfect requires way too much effort for the pay off. I agree completely. Control what you can and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Make choices, listen to your body, make changes, pay attention.

If you know it’s the right choice for you, it really isn’t hard at all.

 

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About Karen Wiens

I'm a vegan, Harley riding, runner who loves to eat, cook, read, travel and experience new things. My family and friends are what is most important to me. I believe that what makes you unique is what makes you interesting. Let your freak flag fly! Connect with me on Google+ Karen Wiens

Comments

  1. Joan says:

    Some of your experiences mimic ours. The lack of support is difficult but my husband and I are so pleased with the vegan lifestyle that we are unflinching, finding ways of getting around all the obstacles. Within 6 months we experienced incredible health improvements that truly surprised us…cured my psoriasis, a cardiac arrhythmia, restless leg syndrome, and arthritis…some of these conditions I’d had for as long as 15 years. Haven’t had a flu or cold in the 3 years we’ve been on whole, plant based diet whereas before had 3 in one year! We still can’t believe.it. Looking forward to finding support and ideas in your posts. Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

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