April 6th. Today marks one year since officially adopting the vegan lifestyle. I didn’t know I had an exact date I officially made the decision to make my vegan experiment a lifestyle until recently when I was flipping through a journal. I started my plant-based experiment in March of 2016 but officially decided that I was no longer experimenting and fully accepting a totally vegan life a few weeks later. Clearly, it didn’t take long to convince me that I found the lifestyle that worked for me.
This past year I’ve felt better than I have in years. However, it wasn’t without many trials and plenty of error. Here is a recap of what I learned in my first 365 days of a vegan lifestyle.
People confuse vegan with gluten-free.
This cracks me up but is a very common misconception. I’ve learned this is a great time to (kindly) educate and explain the difference.
Always check the ingredients.
Even if packaging says vegan, check the ingredients! Even if the packaging doesn’t say vegan, check the ingredients! Somehow, somewhere down the line, companies make mistakes and things are mislabeled!
Vegan doesn’t always mean healthy.
Plant-based chemicals are out there and can still be used in food. With the rise of veganism, more junk food options are becoming available. Moderation is still key.
It’s okay to ask questions.
Asking what’s in your food is not being high maintenance and you should not feel guilty for doing so. If you don’t know every vegan nutrition fact or what every ingredient is, it’s okay. Veganism is a process and a complete lifestyle change, it will take time. Be patient with yourself and others.
Outrage is inevitable.
Regardless of your initial reasoning for going vegan, you will feel the anger and sadness that comes with realizing the impact the animal agriculture industry has on the animals and our environment. It can be overwhelming at times and some days you might feel helpless. I remember this feeling when people question and mock my lifestyle and it keeps things in perspective.
Have you recently started a vegan lifestyle or plant-based diet? What have you learned so far?