Veganism is a lifestyle choice, a choice made to reject animal products and byproducts. As a meat lover, going from meat eating to completely vegan was a little challenging but worth it. Going from non-vegan to vegan is such a life changing decision. As a person, you spend most of your life eating a certain type of food, to changing your diet rather suddenly. Switching suddenly makes it much easier to go from non-vegan to vegan. Everything is differentiated from the normal eating habits. The great thing about this is there is a broad vegan community within our university and it allows us to connect with each other through our similarities. Going vegan causes many changes in your eating habits and there are many things to expect. Here are 20 things to expect when going vegan.
1. Your friends and family will ask a million questions.
Many will experience your siblings, parents and friends ask why you went vegan and what for. My parents asked me why I did it and my siblings made a few comments but remember you are doing this for yourself. I personally did this as an experiment on how life would be, but I actually fell in love with how healthy I felt. I did this for me, for my health and to make a change. When being asked questions, the best way to avoid this conflict is to state and emphasize that you are doing this for yourself and that you have your own reasons. Everyone has different reasons on why they make changes. Veganism is a healthy change that many people become a part of everyday.
2. Going vegan may be hard at first.
You’ll go from eating regular food such as, beef burgers, pepperoni pizza, French fries, 1% or 2% milk and many others. You are eating these “regular” foods for almost your whole life into changing your eating habits and going strictly vegan. This process could be hard for many, it was a bit challenging for me. However, with the vegan selection at Marketpointe this process could be made easier. Even though this process is somewhat challenging, it is beyond worth it. Change is always hard at first but it is easy to get use to.
3. You can make the change slow or sudden.
Nobody is telling you to go vegan instantly. You can chose the duration of the switch. You could either switch suddenly and one day go completely vegan, or you could slowly take animal-based products away. The switch to veganism is completely your choice and you can change how ever you want.
4. Shopping Shopping Shopping!
For a first time vegan, shopping may be very challenging. You may not get to eat all of your favorites but there is something even better within the vegan brands. As a new vegan, the first time shopping was rough. I spent an hour in the grocery store going from aisle to aisle looking for vegan food items. Many grocery stores carry vegan food items but Kroger carries the most. Which is perfect considering Kroger isn’t far from campus.
5. Be prepared to read labels.
This goes along with shopping but be sure to check your labels! You will need to check all the labels to your food if you are a fully committed vegan. However, not all vegan foods are located in one section, most foods are located with the regular food. As I was checking the label of some foods I needed, I noticed that some foods such as, Oreos, ritz crackers, mustard and cliff bars are surprisingly vegan.
6. Vegan food actually costs less.
As you shop around you will notice that it actually does not cost more. Many people expect vegan foods to be more expensive. Vegan food costs less because it does not contain animal-based products, which is the main source that makes the most money for the food industry. However, it would be the same price but that is only if you have the dining pass for Marketpointe. At Marketpointe you can go to the vegan selection to get your food there.
7. You cannot just replace animal-based products with vegan junk food.
There are many foods that are surprisingly vegan such as, Oreos, Duncan Hines frosting, Taco Bell’s Bean Burrito (minus the cheese, which is so tempting since Taco Bell is right on campus) and Cinnamon Twists, Ritz Crackers, Nutter Butters, and so much more. As you take animal-based products out of your food habits, it should not be replaced with junk food, it should be replaced with healthier food for your body. There are many different options of foods you can eat at the market on main that are vegan and are not junk. Be sure when you go vegan, you eat the perfect portion of your food types.
8. By going vegan you become a healthier you.
When you go vegan you do not eat a lot of processed foods, well unless you choose to eat junk vegan foods, or mock meats (it’s just your preference). Vegans mainly do not eat processed food because the common processed food in the industry is meat. Processed foods are kind of terrible for your health. When eating non-processed foods and using fruits and veggies as a substitute, your body gets use to the fruits and veggies easier and helps you become a healthier version of yourself. Eating a healthier diet can help you to become more motivated and active to go out. Eating vegan transformed me and made me become so much more healthier.
9. You need to focus on your vitamins and nutrients you are taking in.
Some vegans do not keep track of the nutrients and vitamins they are taking in. However, this is a very important task to do. Depending on what you eat, some vegans miss out on a B12 supplement, which are typically in animal foods. We also need to keep track of our iron, as we get 40% of our iron from animals meat. Vitamins and supplements could be found at the GNC store not too far from campus. Vitamins and supplements are very important for your health, so make sure to watch your intake on them.
10. You may lose weight.
Becoming vegan may cause you to lose some weight. This weight is lost typically in the belly-thigh area. This happens because you cannot eat or drink whey or egg protein powder on this strict diet. Veganism is a great diet plan for people looking to lose a few pounds.
11. Less acne and less bloated-feeling
When becoming apart of the vegan community, I have noticed that my acne cleared and I never feel bloated after I eat. My acne started to appear frequently when I ate meats and animal-based products. When I switched to veganism, my acne suddenly decreased. Veganism is a good way to keep yourself feeling confident. When I was non-vegan I always felt gross and bloated after I ate and nothing would make that feeling go away. After switching to vegan I could eat until I am full but still not feel gross and bloated.
12. You can easily fill yourself up.
Eating vegan can be very fulfilling, even if you have not eaten a whole lot. This is very helpful to control overeating. Eating more fruits and veggies can fill you up with great vitamins and nutrients faster than eating meat and animal-based products. As a vegan, I have noticed that I become more full with a less amount of food than a non-vegan would typically eat.
13. You can still eat at your favorite restaurants.
As the veganism community grows, so does the menus of many restaurants. The Veganism community is even growing right here in Cincinnati, there even is a club for vegans called VCUC. We are in the 21st century, most restaurants have vegan meals, or have meals that can be made vegan just by asking. This is a conflict many people worry about when wanting to switch to vegan. Luckily for us, there is always a vegan menu.
14. Family get-togethers may be hard.
Family Thanksgivings may be a bit difficult when wanting to eat a lot. Although it may seem like you have a short menu to chose from, do not fear because there are certain Thanksgiving foods that can be made vegan.
15. Vegans save 198 animals a year.
Non-vegans may think that we are not saving any animals by going vegan, but in fact we are. Vegans save 198 animals a year; Imagine the 198 animals that are still living because of us. This leads us to a happier state, we are saving lives that matter.
16. More trips to the bathroom.
Many new vegans experience more trips to the bathroom and trust me there is an explanation for this. Most vegan food are very high in water content, which explains why the more water consumed, leads to a greater usage of the bathroom. Another reason is because most foods are total fiber rich. Vegan foods have great fiber to provide.
17. You will get serious cravings for healthy food.
Due to your eating habits changing and you begin to eat more fruits and veggies, it is easier to develop crazy cravings for all kinds of healthy foods. This is the perfect craving to have since there are many places on campus that carry healthy foods .
18. Better athletic performance.
Vegans typically have better athletic performance than non-vegans. This is because, we consume more plant products which gives us more natural nutrients from the plant itself, rather than nutrients from meat in which the plant was consumed by the animal.
19. You get a sense of relief.
This happens because you are gaining confidence and happiness within yourself. Happiness is coming from the positive change you have made in yourself. This happiness affects your mental health in a positive way which gives it the sense of relief.
20. You may actually love it.
Going vegan can be scary and hard at first but in the end it is completely worth it. Being vegan is becoming a part of a broad community where you all share something similar, especially with VCUC. Veganism comes with many benefits. Vegans look and feel healthy which gives us satisfaction, we are saving animals from their lives being taken and we are the same as we once were, just a better version of ourselves. I seriously recommend trying veganism.