Going Vegan: The Response

So as a previous post mentioned, I’m trying to go vegan. It has been a very eye-opening experience so far. It was amazing how both of our families have been so supportive and done their best to accommodate (even over the holidays!). And some of the responses I’ve received from non-family have been very…interesting.

Top 5 most interesting responses, and my thoughts about them:

  1. “Oh wow, that’s so great for you! I could never do that!”

This, however, actually splits into two separate issues:

a)  “I could never give up meat / dairy / eggs”

Not even 5 years ago, I insisted that I enjoyed meat too much to give it up. Now, it’s a bit gross.

Just 6 months ago (probably less), I was insistent that I could never give up dairy. I LOVE ice cream. It is my comfort food, and one of my great joys in life. It is the treat you could use to bribe me to do almost anything. I had a friend say to me after learning I went vegan, and I quote, “I am so shocked, though. Ice cream was like your vice.”

(Fortunately for me, there are non-dairy ice cream alternatives, like coconut milk ice cream and sorbet, otherwise my mood would be permanently down the tubes.)

Sure, there were (and are) transition periods, but the cravings eventually tapered off. I don’t even crave cow’s milk ice cream that much anymore.

b)  “It’s just too much work”

I’m going to turn on the sass a bit here, but that’s really just a copout. Yes, it would be hard, and yes, it would take work. But don’t all the best things take work? If they don’t, then they don’t really feel that good in the end.

2.  “How do you get enough protein / vitamins?”

Here’s the thing: fruits and veggies have tons of nutrients! The more one incorporates into their diet, the better — vegan or not. As for the protein, there are tons of alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs out there! (i.e. soy, beans and nuts).

3.  “What do you eat instead?”

I drink unsweetened almond milk and have it on my cereal instead of cow’s milk. I eat coconut milk based ice cream. I eat dairy-free dark chocolate (I highly recommend this one). The cheese dilemma has not been solved but I’m fairly hopeful about the daiya fake cheese we just got. I eat tofu and quinoa and beans and greens and fruit.

Honestly, I have never enjoyed fruit and vegetables so much. They were always a chore, before, but now, they taste pretty frickin’ amazing. I marvel at how after stuffing myself (not good, I know, but it’s so tasty) with a raw vegan meal, I can walk for long periods of time without getting nasty stomach cramps.

4.  “How’d you “convince” [force] your fiance to do it?”

Here’s the truth: I didn’t. He was as ready to take the plunge as I was. I find it very hurtful to have people tell me that they think I would force someone into making that change. It’s a huge change, and the only person I can make that decision for is myself.

5.  “Why?”

Because I love all animals and think they deserve to have a good, humane, life and death. Because I care about my health and after thinking about it enough I really started to wonder about all the crap I’ve been putting in my body over the years.

And there you have it. Overall, I’m really impressed with how people are taking it. It wasn’t too many years ago when I treated veganism with equal parts shock and dismay. How different it feels from the other side!

What experiences have you had where you made a big life change and got mixed responses?

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10 thoughts on “Going Vegan: The Response

  1. I love your responses to all these comments and questions you have been receiving. I highly respect your decision to change this way. It’s super healthy. You’re right, sometimes meat makes a person feel kind of sick. I know I can’t walk around too much, after eating a beefy burger or whatever. I’ve considered going vegetarian, rather than vegan, but my problem is that I am so stuck on eating certain kinds of meat. Honestly, I could give up a lot of meat, except one thing. Flank steak. That is the only thing that comes to mind when I think about going completely vegetarian for life. It is one of my favourite foods. I have gone a few days without eating meat because I wanted to see if I could handle it, but I always went back to it in the end. I’m kind of an on and off vegetarian – it’s terrible lol.
    I commend you on what you are doing. I’m also glad you mentioned your fiancé because I was wondering if he was already vegan or if you guys made that decision together. People asked you if you had to force him, though? Good grief, guys, have a little faith. She’s not about to force someone into doing something they don’t want to do. I think it’s great he is on the same page as you. 🙂
    Keep on keepin’ on, my dear. I’m proud of you.
    -Ali

    • It’s a hard thing, giving up foods that are so important to us. What I initially did was a “1 exception a week” policy, until eventually I got tired of having that exception at all. If you’re really interested in doing it, maybe a “1 exception” policy would work for you?

      Thanks for your support!!! 🙂

  2. I was a vegan when I married my husband. He was not, but was very accepting of it, and even complimented almost everything I cooked, and raved to his friends about what a good cook I was. Going vegan 5 years ago was harder than it would be now for most. I am not a vegan any longer, but honestly, it is because my vigilance just died down. We live in a military community, and there is just so little support. I don’t watch the ingredients for traces of honey, whey, etc. anymore. I got tired of it. Good for you and good for your family for taking the plunge and being conscious of what you eat, and making informed choices about what to put in your body. Any step in that direction is a good one.

    • I can imagine it is easier these days to be vegan, with all those awesome products on the market.

      Understandable how your veganism slipped, it’s a very difficult thing to do without support–or worse yet, with opposition. Good for you for doing it for as long as you did 🙂

      • I am still mindful of what we eat. More Paleo than anything, but I think mindfulness is the key. Lol, prolonged vigilance is not my strong suit. I sincerely hope you are able to continue on your path 🙂

  3. i’m a clean eating gluten free vegan…so i get this. it really ranges from people who are supportive (these people are usually healthy themselves or interested in getting healthy) to really judgmental and skeptical (these people are usually jerks and/or really unhealthy and happy in misery). since making the shift i can’t believe what a sense of community i’ve found in health & wellness – i’ve even gone so far as to start a series on my blog to bring the discussion to a forefront in my own writings. in my existing relationships, my most true friends have been so incredibly supportive, and as one may assume, those less supportive have been the ones that might not be such great friends.

    i wish you all the luck! it’s a road worth travelling down!

    • oh also! my boyfriend was ALL ABOUT going vegan as well. he doesn’t have the emotional eating associations that i have, so in many ways it is actually easier for him to cut the crap than it was for me. it is amazing to have the support of not only a best friend (the best one!) but from someone you’re living with. i truly think it makes a world of difference.

    • Thanks!

      Wow! full gluten free vegan, that’s impressive! I think it’ll be awhile before (if ever) I manage to get there! Good for you 🙂 And glad you’ve found the people who support you in such a venture!

  4. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 12 and always got responses like that. Vegetarianism was not hard at all and I very recently gave up milk (still working on cheese…) with no trouble at all. The big problem for me has been gluten. I eat way too much processed flour and I know it makes me feel bloated and gross. I totally agree with you – the best things take work. Make meal plans and grocery lists so you don’t end up with 3 boxes of cheez-its in your house instead of veggies and hummus. A lot of people tease my fiancee because I do a lot of the cooking and he ends up with minimal meat, but he doesn’t mind at all. I think he notices the healthy feelings from all the veggies too!

  5. Wow good for you! That’s a hard thing to pull off when you’re that young and there’s so much peer pressure. And I definitely agree it’s important to say no to that junk food as often as possible!

    Cheese is a tough one! I know we’ve been using Daiya lately which is pretty decent, and it seems like there’s also a lot of nut-based cheese recipes available, although mostly we’ve stuck to ricotta-type texture. I definitely do miss a good brie sometimes. Good luck 🙂

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