Hello friends! Welcome to my blog. If you’d like to learn more about my blog and I, read more about us here. This is my first ever post and rather than avoid highlighting this I thought I’d exploit it and draw as much attention as possible to this fact. Whether you’re a new vegan, old vegan, or blue vegan, read on to find out what I struggled with amidst my transition.
I went vegan in October 2017 and learned quickly that there were some things I wish I had known before going full force. If you are thinking about going vegan take caution of these pitfalls. They may be helpful in knowing what to avoid in your transition. If you’re already vegan, hopefully you’ll relate to these new vegan problems and get a bit of a laugh.
8 Mistakes I made as a New Vegan
1. Trying to be Vegan AF
What kept me from going vegan for so long was this idea of veganism itself. I held vegans to such I high degree of excellence that I expected they were perfectly vegan in all aspects of their life. I assumed that in addition to the vegan diet they only wore cruelty-free vegan clothing, had vegan shoes, all their skincare, beauty, and cleaning products were vegan and even their pets ate plant-based. But that is definitely not the case for a large population of vegans.
Its 2018, and veganism has become more of a trend for its uniqueness. Everyone has different beliefs and reasons they went vegan, but regardless they still title themselves vegan. There are dietary vegans who are more focused on the diet than clothing or other products. Ethical vegans who in addition to the diet strive for all cruelty-free products. There are even people who occasionally adhere to the vegan diet but still consume animal products every now and then. So my advice to you is to do vegan however you please. You can make veganism whatever you want. What is important is that you are doing what you feel is morally right to not contribute to animal cruelty. Whether it means that you don’t even call your significant other honey because it isn’t vegan enough is up to you.
2. Vitamin Intake
The easiest thing to forget about in a diet change is your vitamin intake. Prior to veganism I supplemented my diet with a multivitamin, Vitamin C, and Biotin. The brands I purchased weren’t vegan so I used them until I ran out and didn’t think it necessary to replenish them after going plant-based. I quickly learned this was a stupid idea. Meat and dairy are vitamin rich resources for nourishing your body and without them I felt exhausted immediately after my transition. So I began searching for vegan vitamins to supplement my diet. I found multivitamin at my nearest General Nutrition Center after asking where the vegan supplements where but also found them online. I haven’t found a super awesome and great vegan vitamin, but the search will prosper.
For vegans just starting out, I definitely recommend a multivitamin with vitamins B12, D, Omega-3 fatty acids, Iodine, Iron, Calcium and Zinc. Getting all your daily nutrition can be tough through just food alone. It is possible, but to ease into veganism some vitamins are a good choice. Read more about vegan supplements here.
3. Carbs with a side of carbs
By cutting meat and dairy out of your diet you have a large variety of carb heavy foods to choose from. Processed vegan foods, vegetables and fruits are high in carbohydrates and may not leave you feeling full. Although carbs are kind of unavoidable (they make up like 80% of my diet now) eating foods rich in protein is important to feel satisfied as a vegan.
Foods high in protein are nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, beans, legumes, lentils, quinoa and nut butters. Some vegetables high in protein include broccoli, potatoes, mushrooms, edamame spinach, asparagus and green beans. Another important note here is not to get carried away with protein requirements. As a vegan it is just as important to consume protein as it was before. So being sure you consume protein rich foods throughout the day will ensure a more satisfied appetite.
4. Eating too many processed foods
Grocery stores are packed full with accidentally vegan items. This is mostly because foods without animal ingredients are usually more shelf stable. These foods are great to show your friends that vegan food isn’t that daunting, but you can’t live off of sour patch kids and spicy sweet chili Doritos forever. Its easy to forget that the main synonym for vegan is plant-based. Which is exactly what it means, a diet centered around whole foods. (no not the grocery store)
Losing weight is often associated with a vegan diet, and is very possible because your diet doesn’t consist of as much saturated fat and cholesterol. However, it truly depends on the person and their diet. If you are going from eating heavily processed foods to whole foods then you will probably loose some weight. On the other hand if you go from a more whole foods focused diet to more processed foods you may see some weight gain. I gained some weight after going vegan which was healthy for me, but know that not all people will lose a massive amount of weight when they transition.
5. Being lazy and unprepared
You will learn quickly that unless you want your meals consisting of the four varieties of vegan freezer meals at your nearest grocery store, you need to get into the kitchen. I enjoy cooking so this wasn’t a huge problem for me. Before cooking vegan I alway thought it was annoying to make foods with chicken or beef. You have to cook it to a certain internal temperature and the juices get everywhere and cross-contamination is a headache in it of itself. So with that being a factor, going vegan seemed a lot easier for me. What’s also great is that vegetables are easy to work with (except avocados) and don’t take a lot of prep to be palatable.
To save money it is a good idea to meal plan and cook up a lot of food at a time. Its easy enough to cook extra tofu, or rice or roast up a couple more veggies next time you make dinner so you can quickly assemble a meal next time you’re in a rush. It’s also a good idea to keep some snacks with you wherever you go. In my purse there is always a protein bar, granola bar, and trail mix. Which I realize is a bit of overkill, but I like to be prepared for when hunger strikes.
6. Too much soy
So many vegan products contain soy because its a pretty diverse ingredient. Vegan cheese, soy yogurt, soy milk, tofu and tempeh are all great sources for plant-based protein. But going right into consuming large amounts of soy may not agree with your body. I learned this the hard way, but I won’t go into the details. Introduce soy slowly into your diet to see if you may have an intolerance. When I was consuming too much soy my day looked like this: breakfast was soy yogurt with a soy latte, lunch was tofu with roasted vegetables, and dinner was tempeh in a salad. So my advice to you is to be cautious with soy consumption so you don’t spend an afternoon in the bathroom.
7. Ignoring my appetite
Here in the United States, most activities are centered around food. Veganism isn’t quite popular enough to be commonplace at most events. It is safe to never assume there will be vegan options unless you have explicitly made sure. Places like carnivals, fairs, and stadium games are notorious for having nothing for vegans unless you’re in LA, but it is inevitable that you will get hungry at these events. If you have a party coming up with your meat-eating friends bring along some bomb vegan food to share. At the very least, bring a satiating snack with you because hanging out by the fruit and veggie trays doesn’t sound like a party.
8. Not knowing my purpose
When I was first asked why I went vegan I was dumbfounded, and my first response was I don’t know. Which is a terrible response if you are up against a skeptic. They will annihilate you with their words and think you’re crazy. People go vegan for so many reasons and these reasons need to be in your back pocket at all times. Your carnivorous friends will think you are ridiculous if you can’t back up your veganism with rock solid views. If you are having trouble supporting your reasons but are dedicated to veganism then check out Your Vegan Fallacy Is. You’re likely to get a lot of pushback from friends and family who secretly envy your endeavor. They’ll try to shame you and suddenly sound like a nutritionist, but this website gives you tips and research on how to answer these questions.
What made me commit to being vegan was a video I saw in my Intro to Anthropology class in September of 2017. I can’t remember the name but it highlighted the food industry and its unsustainable practices with mammals and birds. Seeing that made me decide I didn’t want to contribute to the wealth these big companies reap from inhumane practices. Many other reasons contribute to my views, but for the time being my short answer will be: I’m vegan because I don’t want to contribute to companies who hold monopolies over the grocery market and that are cruel in their treatment of animals.