I’ve been vegan for 6 years – things I don’t hear anymore



  • When I went vegan 6 years ago I found it surprisingly easy and haven’t looked back.
  • Some people are hostile when they hear that I don’t eat animal products, while others are just curious.
  • People seem at a loss as to what I can even eat and some are worried about my health.

In 2016 I decided to do “Veganuary” – that is, I stopped eating all animal products in January.

I’ve been a vegetarian for over 20 years, so the change was easy for me. I decided to continue for another month … and then another. Almost six years later, I’m still a vegan and have no intention of ever going back.

At that time I decided on a healthy diet and increased my commitment to animal welfare. There are many reasons why people are switching from improved health too Environmental concerns, but we all have one thing in common: we are asked the same questions over and over again.

Here are some of the comments I hear regularly and the answers that go through my head every time I hear them.

‘What do you eat anyway?’

A board with homemade vegan cheeses, crackers and chutneys.

Homemade vegan cheese.

Lydia Warren / Insider

I eat everything you do … without the meat! Pasta, tacos, soups, curries, noodles, cakes, salads and much more.

Sure, sometimes I have to be more creative in the kitchen, but now I can do everything from fresh pasta to paella, cheesecake to ice cream. I even did a completely vegan cheese board from scratch. Plus, the boom in plant-based products in supermarkets has made it so much easier for vegans to prepare a quick, filling meal. Everything is possible.

‘Don’t you miss bacon?’

No, I just don’t see bacon as food.

Some vegans who once enjoyed the taste of meat may miss certain foods or smell them while cooking, but that doesn’t apply to me or does that for other vegetable eaters.

“I don’t understand meat substitutes. Why not just eat the real thing? ‘

impossible burger

Impossible “meat”.

John Raoux / AP Images

I hear this all the time, but the choices made by some vegetarians and vegans to avoid meat has nothing to do with its taste. Although these products usually contain more sodium than real meat, experts say they are still a healthier option.

“All vegan foods, including processed foods and vegan meats and cheeses, can fit into a balanced, healthy diet,” said Taylor Wolfram, a registered nutritionist.

Personally, while I’m not a huge fan of these items, if fake sausages and burger patties are helping more people skip meat, I’m all for them.

‘Where do you get your protein, calcium, etc from?’

Some people seem to worry too much about my health when they find out I’m a vegan. Protein seems like the biggest sticking point, but as vegan bodybuilders and professional athletes have shown, there are numerous ways to meet your protein needs, even with a highly active lifestyle.

“The best source of protein for vegans are legumes,” says Wolfram. “This includes beans, peas, lentils and peanuts. Soybeans are a bean, so tofu, tempeh, soy milk and soy-based meat also count.”

Change to a, of course

Vegan Diet

does not automatically mean you are healthy, and it is important to make smart food choices to get enough vitamins and minerals – a vegan diet can lead to deficiencies in nutrients such as calcium, vitamin B12,

Vitamin D

, Omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and iodine



oat milk

Fortified milk is a great way to get calcium.

Suzanne Kreiter / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

One way to meet this need is to eat a varied diet of plant-based foods, as well as nutritional supplements and fortified products.

“The best sources of calcium for vegans are calcium-fortified milk, cooked kale and kale, and calcium-containing tofu,” said Wolfram. “Other foods also contribute some calcium, such as almond butter, tahini, edamame, tempeh, and bok choy. Calcium supplements can help fill in the gaps. “

Nutritionists also recommend that vegans take a vitamin D supplement and eat foods fortified with vitamin D and / or a dietary supplement. Other dietary supplements that should be considered are iodine and omega-3 fatty acids.

“After a while, your body will crave meat. It is natural.’

Some parishes have been meat-free for generations. Personally, I haven’t eaten meat since I was a kid and I haven’t craved it yet.

“All of the essential nutrients that animal meat provides can be taken in through plant-based food. So if someone suspects they have cravings for animal meat due to a lack of nutrients – which is usually not what causes cravings – they may want to think about where they get their iron and zinc from, “Wolfram said.

Registered dietitian Catherine Perez added that a lack of protein could also be the culprit.

“If you swap out a steak and make a large salad and use maybe 2 tablespoons of beans (I’ve seen that many times), you won’t feel full for long,” she said. “This may be because you are increasing your fiber intake at first, but after a while, if you don’t find enough balance with your meals, you will feel like things to help fill in the void and your body will become obsessed with things longing that he remembers.

Vegans who crave meat have likely only tasted the taste of it once. For example, people may miss the chewy texture of meat, but this is where vegetable proteins such as vegan meat alternatives or tofu can help. Your food needs to be flavorful too, and Perez recommended adding peppers for smokiness, as well as herbs, citrus, and umami flavors.

“I could never be a vegan. I love meat too much. ‘

An activist wears a face mask with the slogan Go Vegan in Mexico City's Zócalo as part of the launch of the Plant-Based Contract campaign.

An activist in Mexico City.

Gerardo Vieyra / NurPhoto via Getty Images

I’ve never enjoyed meat before so it’s hard for me to understand and I feel that my love for animals exceeds my taste buds. However, an admittedly more productive response to this comment would be to simply share vegan food and show how creative, delicious, and filling it can be.

If people are interested in cutting back on meat but don’t know where to start, I would encourage smaller steps like trying it out Meatless Monday.

“What if you were on a desert island? Would you eat meat to survive? ‘

I am fortunate to have access to affordable, plant-based foods, which is not the case for all communities in the world. So it is very unlikely that I will find myself in such an extreme situation that I am forced to eat an animal.

But my simple answer: if there are animals on this island, what are they? she Eat to stay alive?

“But animals are there to be eaten. They live because of us. ‘

A worker holds a rescued chicken at the Animal Place Wildlife Sanctuary in Vacaville, California in 2013.

A rescued chicken at the Animal Place Wildlife Sanctuary in Vacaville, California.

San Francisco Chronicle / Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images

I’m not sure people can be proud of bringing animals into the world for a life of suffering and death. Depicting a happy cow being milked in a lush green meadow is just not the reality for so many farm animals, especially in factory farming.

I always bite my tongue before sharing the vivid details of these growing methods with meat-eaters, unless they’re genuinely curious. Likewise, I would advise non-vegans to think twice about saying something to vegans that rejects animal suffering or suggests that it should exist for our benefit.

“Are you vegan? I feel sorry for you.’

This one – a mainstay of the Facebook comment sections – gets my blood boiling, and I suppose that’s the intent. I enjoy this lifestyle, I’m proud of it, and I can eat delicious food so it works well for me.

It’s easy to get angry when someone mocks your decisions, but ultimately I know it needs to be treated with patience. Perez said she was trying to remember a time when she was not vegan and understood little about it herself.

“Everyone is at a different point in their life and while we can feel absolutely offended by such things, it is important to remember that the most important thing is to be compassionate and live your life according to your values ​​and ideals to live, ”she said.

“I never impose my values ​​or opinions on others and instead just share the food I love and show them that it’s not just grass,” she added. “And you’d be surprised that some people are starting to listen, becoming less defensive and wanting to listen to your ‘why’.”



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