The first thing I did when I went vegan is joined some groups where other vegans hang out. After almost two years of interacting with vegans and being a vegan myself, I have found that vegans have a lot of things in common. Following are 5 things that you will probably find yourself doing as a vegan.
1. Checking Labels On Everything
Companies are tricky. They hide animal derived ingredients in foods that you wouldn’t think to look for them in.
For example, you can find milk products in all kinds of foods that they don’t need to be in! One woman in a Facebook group I’m a part of had bought an almond milk cheese that she later found out had dairy milk in it. The company didn’t claim that their cheese was vegan. But, if you buy something that says, ‘Almond’ and ‘Cheese Alternative’ on the front, it’s easy to make the assumption that the product is vegan and skip checking the labels.
There are some conspiracy theories that the dairy companies are paying to put their products in foods that don’t need them, just so they can keep making money, but I’m not really sold on that.
The company that made the almond milk cheese from above said that they use casein to improve the texture and performance in their cheese.
In any case, after this happens a few times, you will find yourself checking labels religiously. Wasting money sucks. Wasting food sucks. And unknowingly eating something that goes against your ethics or preferences is annoying and frustrating.
2. Doing A Lot More Of Your Own Research Into Nutrition And Health
Everyone who is not vegan is going to come at you with their opinions. In order to decide whether or not you want to believe them, you will need to do your research.
Vegans will tell you what you should and should not eat, and there are a lot of different theories on what the right vegan diet is. You will need to do research to discover whether their truths are going to be yours or not.
Doctors and nutritionists know a lot about health and are important to listen to. But, you will find yourself questioning some of them who don’t recommend being vegan and suggest meat and dairy as a healthy diet.
I know some people have awesome doctors, both holistic and conventional, who encourage a vegan diet and are able to help their patients eat in a healthy way for them. But, I see many vegans complaining that their doctors are not on board with their vegan diet and are recommending that they eat meat or dairy.
The good thing is that the more research you do, the more you will discover about your own health and what foods and nutrients you need to put in your body for your personal issues.
If you want to be vegan, you need to do your own research to decide for yourself what will work and what won’t. Thankfully there is a lot of information out there if you look for it
3. Putting Food You Want Back On The Shelf
Gone are the days of eating whatever you want in the grocery store. It’s the price you pay for being a vegan.
It’s a price I’m willing to pay.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve grabbed something off a shelf, read the ingredients, and see dairy (why does this need to be in everything?!), animal products, or something questionable in it.
Because I’ve done a lot of research on ingredients, I often know whether it’s vegan or not, But, sometimes I have to look it up on my phone. When that happens, I often don’t get a clear answer about whether or not it’s vegan.
4. Getting Really Excited Over New Recipes/Products
Banana peanut butter chip ice cream? Vegan? OMG!
Before going vegan it’s a normal food product. After going vegan, it’s like finding a treasure that you didn’t know you were looking for.
This happens with recipes too. I remember when I first found a recipe for vegan cabbage rolls that didn’t use vegan meat, and I was in heaven at how good and satisfying they were, and how I could now bring my own cabbage rolls to family holiday meals.
It will be the little things – like a new vegan sauce or cheese product or recipe – that make you fist pump in the air and tell all your friends how awesome this new discovery is.
5. Explaining Why You’re Vegan
When I was vegetarian, people didn’t really care. Once in a while, I got asked about my diet, but never why I was a vegetarian.
Now that I’m vegan, people can’t understand what my motives are. It seems so crazy to them.
I get that they are coming from a place of their own beliefs that keep them eating meat and dairy, but those beliefs make it very hard for me to explain why I’m vegan.
For instance, their defenses go up when I say that dairy isn’t good for my health. And they start to go into all the reasons that they think dairy is good for health.
Unfortunately, their reasons are not usually fact-based.
When you are vegan, you don’t want to state anything that is not a fact for fear of it being held against you for a long time to come, which means that you usually just keep your mouth shut until you have a high level of knowledge about certain facts or the internet available to you so you can look up certain facts.
In any case, be prepared to get asked why you are vegan a lot, and if you want to have decent conversations about it, then educate yourself with as many facts as you can.