I'm Vegan. Now What?!?

On May 29th of this year, I decided to become vegetarian. After years of eating animal products - chicken and seafood, with pork and beef in moderation, I could not do it anymore.

I did not do it because of current trends (yes, there are several), to lose weight, because a doctor told me or even to fit in. I’ve never fit into anything (social wise), so that was the least of my decisions. Instead, I could no longer live as a hypocrite who loves animals, yet eats meat and wears skin and hair products full of animal by products. Check your labels! When asked why I decided to become vegetarian some people laughed at my response, others shrugged it off, and those that cared applauded me. I’ve always loved fruits and vegetables, which to this day amazes my mother. She never had to scold me to eat what nature provided us. Going vegetarian was extremely easy. Having to double up my amount of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes was even easier.

My three months went by, all the while leaning closer to a vegan diet. Naturally, I decided to eliminate dairy, eggs, cheese, etc. It also meant replacing all of my hair products, makeup and holy grail of skincare items. During this process, I noticed several of my products were already vegan and cruelty-free, but for those weren’t or I was unsure, I contacted the companies directly to ask. Many were very responsive and provided lists of what was vegan, cruelty-free or both. I also learned to Google products derived from animal products that way if a brand didn’t state if it was all-natural, then at least I could recognize ingredients. Why so extreme? It’s not. Our body is a living organ that absorbs everything it comes in contact with. What you put on your skin and even in your hair gets sucked in. So why not make sure it’s all-natural, organic and good for you. I’m amazed at how many products fall within the guidelines of being vegan and cruelty-free. As with anything, you just have to research (hey Google!). You can rely on others to tell you the answer, but there’s satisfaction in finding out for yourself.

I will say that it was easier being vegetarian because more places cater to at least a few items on their menu. Otherwise, for all things vegan, I’m learning to find out in advance who offers vegan food and what my options are that way I’m not starving. I do this when traveling or even if I’m looking for takeout at home. Lately, Whole Foods and Sprouts have become great alternatives for vegan food.

To be completely honest, I am still trying to figure out veganism. There are people who are extreme with cutting out oil, grains and other things, but I’m not there yet. My weakness so far are chips and sweets (desserts). I have found alternatives to chips that are vegan, soy free, grain free and whatever else free you can name. Still good, but I’ll eat the whole dang bag. In terms of desserts, I know of a few vegan bakeries but not enough. If you know of any, leave a comment. At times, I still wear leather (shoes and purses), but do not actively purchase it. Everything was already in my closet and I will continue to wear it. I’m not at a place where I feel those items need to be thrown away but I will make a conscious effort to purchase vegan alternatives when need be.

This is a lifestyle I’ve come to embrace as it aids with overall health (energy, mental and physical health), and a meaningful life. So far, I’ve found a few vegan bloggers, influencers and resources who have helped to make the transition easier. They do not know me, but it would be nice to someday meet or even talk about being vegan. My favorites to name a few are Veggie Kins, Vegan Fat Kid, VegNews Magazine and Los Vegangeles. From protein smoothies, clothing brands to restaurants and events, I’ve learned so much. Veggie Kins actually inspired me to become vegan. Her honesty in sharing what a vegan lifestyle is like was super helpful. I’m also reading “How Not to Die” by Michael Greger and Gene Stone, which discusses the cause of various ailing diseases and how to avoid them by taking on a plant-based diet.

So there you have it. It’s been almost four months since I began this journey. I cannot wait to see where it takes me, the places and food I experience and people I meet.