One Year as a Vegan – 5 Things I Learned

So, today marks one year that I’ve been vegan. I’ve learned a lot over the last year, too.

Most Vegans Are Judgmental

I don’t tell many people that I’m vegan aside from my own friends and family (aside from the 2500+ of you (and apparently the whole fucking internet) that I’m vegan. Why not? Because most vegans are judgmental AF. They are more judgmental than any random meat eating person I’ve ever met in my fucking life. If you’re not vegan for the reason they’re vegan, then you’re not vegan enough for them. If you don’t eat exactly how they eat, you’re not really a vegan. (Of course legitveganmama on Instagram is one of the most helpful people I’ve ever met in my life and you should follow her.)

And that’s a bullshit, elitist attitude to have. It’s like saying someone isn’t gay enough, white enough, black enough, Mexican enough, etc. It’s bullshit. If you’re vegan, you’re vegan.

My friends call me their preachy vegan friend…but it’s not because I run around talking about the sanctity of veganism. I know, I’m already on the bad side of the purists.

I give zero fucks. I am the preachy vegan friend about equality for blacks, being pro-LIFE and no pro-BIRTH, and other issues. Yes, animal rights are important to me. However, I’ve not met a single meat eater ever convinced to try tofu nuggets because their being screamed at. You’re no better than the “pro-life” folks screaming that women are whores at an abortion clinic. Stop it.

Restaurants Have Secret Menus

I’d heard that, but never experienced it. Ever. You can even use the internet to look up vegan dishes served by restaurants. Oh, and when in doubt, vodka is vegan.

Eating Vegan Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

I went vegetarian before I went vegan. I went vegan because I found out I was allergic, not intolerant, to dairy. I had a sneaking suspicion of that anyway after a lifelong horrific set of problems with any sort of dairy exposure. I already knew that being vegetarian didn’t have to be expensive.

Related: Work from Home Meal Plan 3

I buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season…and I buy frozen. I avoid canned because it’s usually full of salt and added sugar. They also cook all the nutrients out. I buy dried beans and lentils. I buy TVP (textured vegetable protein – a FULL protein, by the way). I have Pinterest. I have the internet. It doesn’t have to be boring or expensive.

Almond milk…we (BB and I) prefer it to soy milk. I haven’t tried oat milk. I love almond milk and rice milk. Made my own rice milk once. What a hot mess experience. Fun, but OMG. NEVER AGAIN. I’ll just buy it, ha!

I have tried various non-dairy cheese. I still tend to pick up what’s on sale, but my favorite for melting it Violife shreds. I love Chao slices (and Violife slices). Daiya can die in a hole (their Margarita pizza is alright).

Be careful about dairy free cheese. Read labels. If it says it has casein in it, it is not dairy free. So, if you are allergic or a purist or want to be a purist, you do not want that cheese. One brand with “Almond” right on the front has casein in it. Or did as of 2019. I didn’t like the taste and it made me sick which led me to read the label…it was kept in the vegan food section.

Tofu is hit or miss for many people. For me, it was an acquired taste. Extra firm is the tofu I prefer. It is cheap. I prefer mine already sliced…which Crest (Oklahoma) carries. It’s all in how it is prepared. It absorbs flavor. My 19 year old will eat it when I make it or at least try it.

People Become Mighty Concerned about Nutrition

My diabetic mother who lives off the standard American diet who, while hospitalized, insisted on three cheeseburgers (breakfast, lunch, and dinner…and the hospital said okay) as her meals became mighty concerned when I switched to a vegan diet. This was despite the fact that becoming vegetarian (with the supervision of my cardiologist) and starting a (supervised) workout routine led to my dropping 20 pounds (initially) and coming off heart meds, no longer having afib or unstable angina.

I was so pissed I had to leave her hospital room. My legally blind and also diabetic father told her several times to leave me alone (he knew I was fine because he understood the cardiologist was supervising me and told me to keep doing what I was doing…the doctor said had he not watched my recovery and treated me himself, he never would have known I was as sick as I was…does that mean veganism works to help everyone recover? No. Talk to your fucking doctor!). But, I got up and left the room (this was last year before COVID-19) and walked around. I had friends who worked there in that hospital as nurses and I talked to one. She assured me that the protein deficiency ward was empty. She wasn’t (and isn’t) vegan, by the way. She also knew I started under medical supervision and wasn’t (and that I’m not) an idiot. In fact, I have now close to 600 hours of nutritional training. I am NOT a dietitian, to be clear. I take these courses for my own knowledge. When I went back into the room, that’s exactly what I said to my mother, “I checked…the protein deficiency ward is empty. No vegans have died of protein deficiency.”

The standard American diet just isn’t healthy.

People Think Vegans and Non-Vegans Can’t Be Married

I’m vegan. My husband isn’t vegan. He eats meat. My sons (three of them) eat meat. Guess what? We’re all fine. We can all eat dinner together. We cook out. On Mother’s Day weekend, we ordered BBQ. I didn’t eat it. I had vegetable kebabs, but I wanted them to have things they liked. Because we’re a fucking family.

My husband also eats a lot of vegan meals during the week. He prepares them. He doesn’t always like cooking two meals. Of course, for lunch, he makes meals with meat for himself and our youngest son. I make my own lunch. I also make my own breakfast on the days I want to eat breakfast.

When we go out and eat, it’s regular places. I know how to figure out what to order because I’m a fucking adult who doesn’t need to pout or make a scene (more vegans need to learn this lesson).

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