Before turning vegan we had been vegetarian for a combined total of 19 years. As long-term vegetarians, we were already more vegan than vegetarian but the last hurdle (mainly dairy & eggs) seemed so hard. The thought of cutting out Dairy Milk & Galaxy was a tough one as well as no more omelettes or cheese. But, looking back on those thoughts now, the last hurdle was well worth it and now we wish we went vegan earlier.
The word ‘vegan’ was almost a bit scary, something that was really hard to achieve as it encompassed an entire lifestyle rather than just food. Even as vegetarians, we had this idea of vegans’ being some sort of life police, obviously this was so far from the truth. What really pushed us over to the vegan side was just informing ourselves about the issues. We were ignorant. Ignorant to the abuse, to the health issues and to the environmental problems.
The documentary Cowspiracy really hit home, combined with a few other vegan docs - we needed to change. It made no sense to carry on as we were, we couldn’t know about animal abuse and eat eggs, couldn’t know about the effect that animal agriculture has on the environment and contribute towards it.
Here are nine things we wish we knew before turning vegan:
1. More Energy
We’re much more energetic and feel lighter after turning vegan. Our general well-being improved massively from clearer skin to stronger nails. We actively ensure we are getting all our minerals and vitamins from our diet. As well as following a vegan diet we also use circadian rhythm fasting which has really pushed us to the next level.
2. Enjoy cooking
Not only do we enjoy cooking more but the ingredients that we are cooking with are very experimental. We would have never used cashews as the key ingredient in cheesecake but now anything and everything is available for us to use. As well as experiencing new foods and recipes, the quality of cooking has improved massively.
3. Lighter Conscience
We don’t contribute towards animal agriculture and our footprint on the environment is lessened. Our conscience is lighter knowing that we’re not part of the demand for animal products. We try to encourage the people around us to go for the meatless option or a cruelty-free product and still spread the word. We’ve already converted two meat-eaters to full vegan!
4. Awkward Social Situations
Despite being the ones who aren’t hurting animals or the environment for their food, sometimes we feel bad making a fuss at a restaurant. It’s odd to feel bad for doing something that’s good, especially when you’re with a group of non-vegans. We didn’t realise we would feel so awkward about a choice that is so good for ourselves, the animals and the environment. This doesn’t happen as often anymore but particularly in our first few months of being vegan, it was quite a regular occurrence.
5. More Health Conscious
We are now proficient food label-readers and it makes you realise how much stuff is in everything. Just long lists of complicated words that don’t make any sense, this has forced us to eat much more simple foods and cook from scratch mainly. As well as reading labels, we are much more knowledgeable about vitamins and minerals and where we get them from. This is something that comes with time.
6. Drink More Water
As well as eating more healthy, we are drinking much more water. We try to drink distilled water regularly throughout the day. We can feel the effects of not drinking enough water straight away, a fuzzy head kicks in and our concentration starts to go. Therefore, it’s so important to drink lots of water every day.
7. Vegan Defence
We learnt this one early on - be ready with your vegan knowledge as you will be questioned regularly about why you are vegan. Some people are just curious and want to find out more information, however, some people are rude and are actively against veganism without any real evidence to support their argument.
8. Everyone Becomes a Nutritionist
How do you get your protein? You can’t get enough calcium can you? After learning about you being vegan, non-vegans seem to turn into nutritionists. Despite probably not knowing a thing about their own diet or nutrition, they feel fully qualified to know that you’re not getting enough protein on a plant based diet.
9. Easier Than You Think
Once we aligned our morals with our actions and started to feel the benefits not only physically but mentally the whole process was a lot easier than we thought it would be. Our only regret is not turning vegan earlier, we could have been feeling this way for years!
Is there anything you wish you would’ve known before turning vegan? Let us know in the comments.