Kermit said it best. "Its not easy being green" Although he said that in reference to his skin color, being green for vegans often comes with a bad rep. I began my vegan journey a few years ago and It was rough at first because I didn't understand what a vegan was. I would hear about vegetarians and wonder how someone would willingly want to go without eating meat. When I would hear about someone fasting and/or doing a cleanse, I'll admit that I judged big time. How could anyone take dairy and/or meat out of their diet? That was something I just couldn't comprehend until I eventually took the leap into becoming vegan.
The Transition to Veganism
The choice to become vegan came from wanting to eat a better diet. I began my vegan journey a few years ago after seeing several documentaries about processed food and also realizing how my own eating habits were effecting me. It definitely wasn't an easy transition to train my mind to choose the healthier options over the food that I grew up loving to eat. This meant cutting out red meats; no more dairy; letting go of my favorite sodas; the list goes on. I began by eating only fish and grilled or baked chicken. Incorporating smoothies in the morning and more vegetables with lunch and dinner. Do you know how hard it was to look at a Pizza Hut commercial with all that pepperoni and cheese??? Or all of those ice cream commercials? Cutting back was tough but wanting to maintain the willpower to make the change kept me going. This was more that just a diet, this is a lifestyle change.
The "NaySayers" Reactions
Being from the Midwest, veganism inst really as popular here as it is in places like California. Not only am I from the Midwest, I happen to be from the number one place for BBQ in the country. Good ole Kansas City. My family was extremely supportive of my new lifestyle. In fact, they were more curious and wanted to try out some vegan dishes. Then there were the "naysayers". Their reactions were more hilarious. For an example, I had someone stare at me blankly and say "why would you do that to yourself"? As if I were somehow choosing to starve myself. Other reactions included things like.."how can you only eat salad everyday"? Also, "how will you get your protein"? Then my personal favorite, "you must be one of those animal activists". I couldn't blame them for reacting that way even though I thought it was hilarious. I had to realize that their reactions were once my reactions. I also realized that they were also curious and some of them just wanted to know more about becoming vegan. Still, sometimes it's still a struggle to explain myself when I am speaking to someone who just doesn't know.
My Ongoing Journey / What I've Learned
The number one thing I've learned about being vegan is that I needed to learn how to cook all over again. Where I'm from, there isn't a lot of convenience for vegans when trying to find something quick and easy to eat. I will admit that things are getting better with a lot of restaurants beginning to offer some plant based options. I've also learned that I can be creative with my meals. This is not your grandmother's veganism guys!!! There are several brands such as Beyond Meat, Gardein, So Delicious, and so much more that offer a variety of plant based meals and deserts. Last but not least, the biggest thing is the fact that I feel I am making the best overall decision for my health. I'm definitely still learning and I would like to take all of our readers along on my journey. Stay tuned for more on my journey and comment below about what big journey you may have taken this year.