Despite the crickets on the blog here, I’ve still been getting quite a few questions about being Vegan on Instagram, Twitter, and in everyday life! One day, I won’t be so lazy and I will film a video (because talking is always easier than typing!) but for today… let the typing commence!
Here’s some of the recent questions I’ve gotten, and my answers. Please leave your own answers, thoughts, or questions!
1. What made you decide to go Vegan?
Good question, because I’m not sure I have an answer. It actually came upon me rather quickly… yet the triggers seemed to be a slow trickle into a puddle of Ah-Ha. In the span of a couple weeks, I’d watched Gary Yourofsky’s speech (here if you’d like it), watched Earthlings (website here, the movie is graphic, I cannot speak for the trailer), learned about The China Study (here), and watched countless accounts on YouTube of people turning their bad health around by eliminating meat & dairy. Again, I’m not sure what even turned me toward learning about these things. But once I started I could not stop. And once I was hooked, I also realized I could not do nothing about it.
On the ethical side, I think it took a very simple realization. If you were to ask me to describe myself, one of the very top describers would be that I love animals. And to make the connection that I love animals with all of my heart… yet I consume them… just didn’t make sense to me.
2. Are you an ethical Vegan, or a health-minded Vegan?
Firstly, the difference – being an “ethical Vegan” refers mainly to animal and environmental welfare, and being Vegan “for your health” means you eat a plant-based diet to cure or prevent disease, lose weight, and just “be healthy”. I definitely feel like both. No one would believe me if I said that losing weight was no part of my decision to go Vegan. I want to be healthy, and no matter how you slice it, 100lbs of extra fat will never be considered healthy.
3. What’s the hardest part of going/being Vegan?
This has two answers –
In general : The hardest part, I think, for the majority of people when they first go Vegan is handling the curiosity (and negativity!) of other people. No one questions you about your nutritional intake if you’re eating pizza and cheeseburgers, but if you say you’re Vegan, they’d like to know where your protein comes from. It’s very strange. But I honestly think it always comes from a curious place. I like to think that people aren’t pooping on your parade because they want to be cruel. I think they are just curious and oftentimes defensive because the way you eat is questioning the way they eat. Food is a very personal thing, and I think it should be respected as such – on both sides!
Personally : The most difficult aspect for me is not looking the part. Vegans should be an example. A shining beacon of health and attractiveness! Yet I am obese, and afflicted with disease. Not exactly a the shiny beacon. I don’t want to tell people that I’m Vegan because they will look at me and think – well, clearly it’s not healthy! It makes me want to wear a “I’m New Here” sign or something.
4. But really… do you get enough protein?
Yes, absolutely! I promise. And I barely have to try.
5. What’s your favorite meal/go-to dish?
I eat a pretty large variety of food, just like I did before I went Vegan. I can’t say I have a favorite meal… I love everything too much! But some super easy go-to meals for me would be : falafel & veggie wraps, pasta dishes, pizza or flatbreads, salads, roasted potatoes, tofu scrambles, veggie/grain burgers, curries, rice and beans, burritos, fruit salad, grilled or roasted veggie mixes, stirfry, sushi, and asian style noodle dishes.
6. What about parties? restaurants? events?!
These are surprisingly easy to navigate. For parties – I simply bring a vegan dish with me to share. (people love my salsa or guacamole, or fruit salad!) For events, like weddings or work functions – I ask what the food situation is ahead of time. If there’s something suitable for me (all the weddings I have been to have even offered a vegan option without me asking), then I just go and enjoy. If I don’t feel like there is, I’m perfectly pleased with eating before I go. Very simple.
As for restaurants – also easy pease. I have yet to go somewhere with ZERO vegan options. Even Five Guys has something for me. Sure, there are places with more/better options. But there is always an option I am happy with, no matter where I go!
7. Don’t you own a leather couch? and leather seats in your car?!
Yes, and yes. I bought them before I decided to go Vegan. They were very large purchases and they were made jointly with Joel. They are most certainly not items that I will just get rid of quickly – like I did with my leather purses. I like to think that most people could understand that. As devout as some people are, I do not believe that Veganism is Perfectionism. It’s about doing the best you can. Making the best decisions for your health, the animals, and the environment… while realizing that we can never be perfect… and striving for that can only lead to insanity!
8. What about Joel?
Joel has no desire to ever even consider Veganism for himself. I do not push the subject, nor will I. They say that you vote with your dollar… so my household tends to vote $5 toward veggies, $1 toward animal products. (Joel doesn’t actually eat a lot of meat, so we buy very little already). Do I feel guilty about buying and preparing meat for him? Yes, I do. But the truth is… we have a really great relationship. And while I believe it can withstand any lifestyle change I wish to make for myself… it’s also built on a history of roles and traditions. He’s a dude, and one of the many reasons he loves me is that I am a sort of caregiver to him, and he likes my cooking! At this point, I don’t feel comfortable taking that away from our relationship. But who knows how it will shift in the future.
9. Are you going to try and convert me?
No, no I won’t. Being Vegan for me, is a very personal decision. Yes, I absolutely wish everyone would go Vegan, so that we’re no longer killing animals and so everyone can enjoy optimal health. But it is none of my business who agrees with me on that and who doesn’t.
Would I jump at the chance to help someone with questions about Veganism? Absolutely!! But I won’t be preaching to you, judging you, or holding my nose when we’re out to dinner together.
10. Are you going to be Vegan for the rest of your life?
I hope so.
11. Can you eat this, that, and the other thing?
People have asked me everything under the sun. Can I eat avocados? Can I eat lettuce? Can I eat fish? It really shows me how desensitized we are to our diets… that people truly don’t seem to know what is an animal product and what is not. And that’s not a diss, its true. And a little scary.
The ones I get commonly asked about :
Fish? Nope. It was a sentient being, slaughtered for consumption.
Honey? Nope. Its an animal by-product. I, like many Vegans avoid honey in general, but to be honest, if its in something that is otherwise Vegan, I feel less bad about eating it than I do with other things. I’ve seen/read the good and the bad about bee-keeping. And its still a little fuzzy to me.
Eggs? Nope. Similar to the honey, it’s a by-product of an animal, so it’s a no. I do feel like I would consider eating eggs that result from a hobby/pet farm and not an egg “factory” but I’ve yet to be in that situation.
Candy/Marshmallows/Jello? Things with gelatin, nope. Gelatin is derived from the skin, bones, and connective tissue of cows, chicken, pigs, and fish.
Cheese/Milk/Yogurt? Nope. A Vegetarian typically eats those things, but a Vegan does not. However, they do have Vegan versions of all of those things!
Natural Flavors? This is a hard one. When things list “natural flavors” as an ingredient, you have no idea what is included. Animal products ARE considered a natural flavor or coloring. So, a red food dye could come from beets or a completely synthetic source.. or it could come from beetles. You just don’t know!
12. What other dietary restrictions do you employ?
I try to eat relatively low fat, and lower salt (as in, lower than I have been! )
I’ve recently drastically lowered the amount of oils and fats that I am consuming. When you first discover vegan butters and mayos, its tempting to use them often. So I had to cut back on things like cooking with olive or coconut oil, nut butters, avocados, salad dressings, etc.
So, I there you have it! Of course, if you have any questions too, let me know!