6 Things Being Vegan for 6 Years has Taught Me

Last week was my sixth veganniversary! I feel so proud of myself for having come this far and I’m excited for what’s to come. Looking back, I would have never expected that I would become vegan but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Check out my post on Why I Became Vegan if you’re curious on why I made the transition. This week I wanted to share 6 things I’ve learned since becoming vegan 6 years ago.

1. There are many different types of vegans.

You have your ethical vegan, like me, who is vegan for the animals. The ethical vegan will avoid animal-based products like wool and leather while also avoiding businesses that exploit animals for entertainment (i.e. circus, zoo, aquarium etc.) You also have your environmental vegan who is vegan to reduce their carbon footprint in an effort to save the damn planet! Then there’s your raw vegan which follows a strictly plant-based diet that contains foods that haven’t been cooked over 115 degrees F. I’m sure I’ve missed a few types here, but these are some of the well-known vegan types. When I first became vegan, I never knew there were so many different kinds of vegans. But they’re all awesome in their own way.

2. Not all vegans are created equal.

When you become vegan, you will meet types of people who believe being vegan means all-or-nothing. Its expected when you hear it from non-vegans. “Does your car have leather seats?” You’re not vegan. “The house you live in was made by clearing land that was a home to animals, you’re not vegan.” Those are some of the things I’ve heard personally from people, and from former vegans. But there is also a lot of judgement from inside the vegan community. I mean, a shit-ton of judgement. Don’t drink almond milk because almonds require a lot of water to be produced. Oh, you eat Oreos? The sugar in that isn’t vegan. That company also produces non-vegan products, you should only buy from 100% vegan companies. You chaperoned your kids trip to the zoo? Definitely not vegan. Wait, your kids aren’t vegan? Well, you shouldn’t even have kids since our planet is overpopulated and having children is destroying the earth.

JUST. FUCKING. STOP.

I’ve learned that you will never be vegan enough for some people. Being vegan is more about doing the most good for animals and less about personal purity. But hey, if you wanna go live off the grid on a deserted island and only eat coconuts while making your own clothes, more power to you.

3. Sometimes you don’t want to tell anyone you’re vegan.

Everyone knows that vegans never fucking shut up about being vegan. I mean, I’m writing a blog about it right now. But there will come a time where you don’t even want to tell anyone you’re vegan. Why, you might ask? Well, people bombard you with questions about being vegan. And while I have met some people who were very polite about it, I’ve also met some rude people when they find out I’m vegan. People have flat out told me I was wrong for going vegan, as if my decision somehow effects them in any way. People think vegans are easily offended, try telling a non-vegan that you’re vegan because you love animals. “Don’t tell me I’m not an animal-lover because I love eating steak!” Then there is the all too famous question: “where do you get your protein from?” There’s protein in plants people! Sometimes it’s exhausting to deal with people who want to put you down for being vegan. So, I’ve come to the point where if someone doesn’t know I’m vegan, I try not to tell them until it’s absolutely necessary, like if they ask why I won’t eat something.

4. Going out to eat is STILL difficult.

While over the past 6 years of being vegan, more and more restaurants are including substantial vegan options, some restaurants are still way behind. So any outing, not just to a restaurant, requires planning ahead. Being a mom, I’ve made it a habit to pack snacks for my girls, but I also need to pack snacks for myself. And if we’re going to a non-vegan restaurants with some friends, I make it a habit to eat beforehand so I’m not starving. And I also research their menu for any possible vegan options. Most of the time, the only vegan option will be a side salad (make sure to tell the server no cheese!) and fries. Oh, and alcohol, but of course that can be dangerous.

5. Veganism is becoming more mainstream!

There are many people who believe that going vegan will not make any real difference. The animals are dying anyway, so why not eat them? But that’s not the case at all. We have the power to change which products companies produce based on what we spend our money on. So, the more vegan products that are bought, the more that will be made. When I first went vegan 6 years ago, there weren’t as many options as there are now. There are so many new vegan companies out there and even non-vegan companies are producing vegan products. And like I said in my last point, more and more restaurants are providing vegan dishes to keep up with the demand. It’s safe to say I’m fucking excited for what’s to come for veganism in the future.

6. Some people will never go vegan no matter how hard you try.

This is the probably the saddest and most frustrating thing I’ve learned since I became vegan. When I became vegan, its was like a veil was lifted and I finally saw things for how they are. The cruelty animals face everyday is horrific. The effects of animal products on the human body is scary. And even with all that information out there, people still will not go vegan. WHY?! This is something I’ve struggled with for a while, trying to convince so many people to go vegan to no avail. But I’ve learned that going vegan is a decision that people have to come to on their own. Most of us grew up eating meat. We were once in their shoes, and it just requires patience and understanding sometimes, no matter how difficult that may be. And in my case, I never had the intention to go vegan, yet here I am. While it would be wonderful if the whole world was vegan, that’s not the case now. All I can do is be the best vegan possible and be here for anyone who wants to do the same.

Well, there you have it. 6 things being vegan has taught me over the last 6 years. Its been an amazing journey. I’ve had some slip-ups, but I’m still going strong. Being vegan was the best choice for me and I’m happier living my life this way. I’d recommend the vegan lifestyle for anyone. To my fellow vegans: what are some things you’ve learned since you made the switch? Drop a comment below. I hope everyone has a fantastic day. And happy veganniversary to me!

About to demolish some vegan cupcakes. Can’t wait to have some more this weekend!

-Toniann

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