Considering going vegan? Before you do, read this list of 11 things I wish I knew before going vegan so you can feel more prepared!
Look, I’m not going to lie to you. Going vegan can be tough. Not only do you have to change your lifestyle, but you have to deal with other people constantly questioning it. Of course, this can be much harder for some people compared to others, depending on your family/community’s location, politics, culture, etc.
After being vegan for three years, sometimes I look back and think “Dang, I wish I had known about fill-in-the-blank.” There’s just so much I wish I could tell my early vegan self.
That said, I’d like to share these things in case they can help you or another vegan in your life! After all, there are so many great things about going vegan that it’s well worth it in the end—these are just tips that will help make the process a whole lot easier.
So, without further ado, here are eleven things I wish I knew before going vegan!
11 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going Vegan
Veganism isn't About Purity
Read it again! This is so important, yet many vegans mistakenly come to associate veganism with the idea/ideal of purity. Veganism really isn’t about that, though. It’s about limiting the harm and exploitation we cause animals by turning them into commodities.
In fact, the definition of veganism from The Vegan Society says that it’s a way of life that “seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation” of animals. The key term being “as far as is possible and practicable.”
You might accidentally or intentionally eat, use, or wear animal products after going vegan. It’s okay! It’s really not the end of the world. Just think about your reasons for being vegan and try to do the best you can. You are not at all defined by your lapses or mistakes, and by making veganism out to be some weird purity thing, other people are going to be less likely to give going vegan a try.
Resist the Angry Vegan Phase
Unfortunately, many vegans, myself included, experience an “angry vegan” phase. After going vegan and learning so much about the horrible exploitation and cruelty of animals, I was genuinely angry.
Instead of convincing people, for the most part, I ended up driving them away from veganism. I was so passionate that I lost sight of veganism as a long-time journey. Plus, I failed to realize that my approach was not at all effective.
I’m happy to say that I’ve since overcome this phase. That isn’t to say there won't be difficult moments still, but in general, I’ve learned to go with the flow more. After all, I haven’t always been vegan, and it’s not fair to harshly judge others for eating meat when I once did as well.
Develop a Thick Skin
This goes along with the “angry vegan” phase. In conversations about veganism, I would grow extremely passionate and react poorly if jokes or insults were said. Although there’s never an excuse for meanness, it’s best to remain patient and develop a thick skin. Oftentimes people who say mean things about vegans are looking to get a reaction out of you.
I’d have been a lot better off if I didn’t stoop to these people’s level and let myself get so upset. Besides, as mentioned, it’s much more effective to convince people about veganism if you keep your cool throughout the entire conversation.
Vegan Junk Food Comes in Handy
I’m a relatively health-conscious vegan so I try to avoid vegan junk food as much as I can. But sometimes a big bowl of vegan mac-n-cheese or salt and vinegar chips are needed. Balance, right?
Vegan junk food can definitely come in handy, especially at the beginning of going vegan. It also is nice for when you’re trying to impress people. After all, showing people how tasty vegan food can be is a tried-and-true method of getting people to open up their perspective toward veganism!
Snacks are a Must
Snacks are an absolute must when you’re vegan. Before going vegan, I could pretty much count on satisfying my “hanger” anywhere I went—vending machines, gas stations, other people’s houses, etc. That changes quickly once you’re vegan. That Snickers bar, those sour cream and onion chips, that charcuterie board… not too vegan-friendly, I’m afraid.
So, by stocking up on vegan-friendly snack options, you’ll be able to keep the hanger at bay. Take some trail mix, bars, hummus and veggies, crackers, etc. with you everywhere and you’ll thank yourself later.
Get Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Before going vegan, I would have never willingly tried many foods that I now love, such as tofu, tempeh, seitan, plant milks, etc. Since going vegan, I’ve also really expanded the number of foods I eat in terms of fruits and vegetables as well.
Going vegan can be an amazing opportunity to expand your horizons, and try new cuisines and dishes. Yes, you may need to get outside of your comfort zone, but trust me, it's worth it! You can check out my list of vegan recipes here if you’d like to try out something new.
Learn About Nutrition
I’ve been curious about nutrition for a while now, but many people don’t really think about it much at all. And that’s fine! Well, for the most part. For example, if you simply eat enough calories in a given day, it’s likely that you consumed enough protein as well, despite what you might think from all the marketing.
But as a vegan there is one key vitamin that you need to supplement—whether as part of a vegan multivitamin or separately—and that’s B12. Besides that, you may want to research sources of omega 3’s, calcium, and protein, as these are nutrients that people typically consume through fish, dairy, and meat. Here’s a handy guide of 15 of the best vegan protein sources!
Having a solid grasp on proper vegan nutrition not only will ensure that you are healthy but will also prepare you for the next thing I wish I knew before going vegan…
Prepare for all of the Questions
Yes, I get enough protein, Dad. No, I don’t eat fish, Grandma. Yes, I actually like tofu. No, soy doesn’t give guys “man boobs.” Yes, I like being vegan. No, I don’t miss eating meat. Etc. etc. etc.
Unfortunately, you’re going to be asked a ton of questions, many of which might be—for lack of a better term—pretty dumb. That’s okay, though! You’ll need to remain patient and positive so that you can be a good role model. Knowing the answer to common questions asked of vegans will help you feel better prepared and less anxious when they come up.
You're Going to Feel Better
I think I may have gone vegan sooner if I had known just how much better I would feel. Not only did I experience more energy and fewer stomach/gut issues, but I felt much more at peace with the world knowing that I was living more in alignment with my true values.
By doing what I can to limit my impact on the environment and its creatures and reaping the health benefits of a plant-based diet, I feel loads better and my only regret is that I didn’t go vegan sooner.
You Just Might Inspire Others
If others see you living your best vegan life, they may be inspired to follow your lead. Since going vegan, I've gotten a lot of my friends to eat more of their meals vegan. While I won’t take 100% of the credit, I have no doubt that my own journey into veganism helped lead them that way.
By focusing on the positive aspects of veganism, such as the numerous environmental and health benefits, and what it has meant to you specifically, you’re more likely to persuade people of the benefits. If nothing else, they’ll hopefully at least not give you a hard time about it!
These are some of the things I wish I knew before going vegan in 2019. I hope they might help you or someone you know who’s going vegan.
Plus, be sure to let me know in the comments if there’s anything you’d like to add for other new or future vegans!
Get More Vegan Tips in The Articles Below:
- 5 Environmental Benefits of Veganism
- Vegan Travel Tips
- Vegan Products to Add to Your Trader Joe's Shopping List
- Beginner Vegan Grocery List
- Eco-Friendly Product Swaps
- Vegan Comebacks
- 15 Plant-Based Protein Sources
- Essential Vegan Pantry Staples
- 10 Easy Vegan Food Swaps
- Vegan vs. Vegetarian vs. Plant-Based - What's the Difference?
- Surprising Foods that aren't Vegan
- Must-Watch Vegan Netflix Documentaries
- How to Order Vegan at Taco Bell
- Guide for Ordering Vegan at Starbucks
- Just Egg Review
- Daiya Mac and Cheese Review
And, if you are looking for yummy vegan recipes to add to your routine, check out my recipe archive here! I have recently added many recipes that will help you survive Thanksgiving as a vegan even more!