Welcome back for the second half of this series where you’ll learn all about what you might expect as a new vegan. We covered a lot of ground last week from faster digestion to feeling emotionally uplifted. You can refresh your memory here!
This week we’re getting into the nitty gritty of knowing that other people will have a reaction to you going vegan, possibly expecting an improved relationship with food, and maybe even seeing a change in your taste buds!
These are all amazing parts of being vegan that will help you grow as a person.
Here we go!
People will have an opinion
It’s amazing what happens when you tell someone you are vegan. You never know exactly the reaction you’re going to get but it’s typically within one of these categories:
These people are happy that you’ve made a conscious decision to get healthy, protect animals, and/or save the planet (whatever your reason for going vegan). They’ll be open to trying your new vegan food and will maybe even ask you for the recipe.
Don’t necessarily expect them to be jumping on the vegan bandwagon, but they’ll definitely be cheering you on.
There are two types of inquisitive people. Those asking out of true curiosity and interest, and those asking because they want to debate with you or prove you wrong.
With the former, take time to share the knowledge you’ve gained and answer their questions thoughtfully. With the latter, you can decide if you want to get into a debate or not.
This group just automatically thinks you are judging them for not being vegan. They make excuses for why they could never go vegan or how they grew up on a farm so it’s OK for them to eat meat.
Don’t get sucked into the negativity. Speak to them with love and make it clear that you are talking about yourself, not them.
Some people couldn’t care one way or the other about you being vegan. They won’t want to try your veggie burger, they won’t ask you any questions about veganism, and they won’t feel the need to justify their eating habits to you.
They will treat your new lifestyle as a generic fact: Rachel is vegan, just like the sky is blue.
Lots of questions
You will inevitably be asked a lot of questions because people are naturally curious. The best way to handle that is to be prepared. Educate yourself and know where you stand on certain things.
As a starting point, here are some answers to common vegan questions you might get asked.
Be sure to stay true to yourself. If you have a sarcastic personality and the person you’re talking to knows that, you’ll likely be able to get away with a quippy response to questions like the dreaded “Where do you get your protein?”. Be sure, though, to follow it up with an honest answer.
You don’t have to try to spit out a list of facts and evidence, either, if that’s not your style.
How you respond to questions will also likely change over time. As you learn more and become more comfortable and confident in your vegan self, you’ll find the answers that work best.
Discover new ingredients
After cutting out the animal products, you’ll probably find that your standard stock of recipes dwindled quite a bit. Have no fear! There are plenty of options as a vegan. It just takes some exploring.
You can probably even keep many of your old recipes and just veganize them. Swap the animal products for vegan alternative milk, cheese, eggs, meat, you name it!
You may be surprised, though, at how many tasty ingredients you find that aren’t vegan alternative products. All of a sudden the produce aisle looks 5x bigger with fruits and vegetables you’ve never noticed before.
Some of my greatest discoveries since going vegan are dates, tofu, and nutritional yeast!
Taste buds change
Think of it this way, you’ve probably been used to eating processed foods with a lot of fat and refined sugar. A bucket of fried chicken has a much different taste than a kale salad. And if your body is used to the fried chicken, its first reaction may be that the kale salad is gross.
Over time, though, if you eat a diet rich in whole plant foods, your taste buds will start to know these foods as delicious. On the flip side, you’ll eventually look at that bucket of fried chicken and be so disgusted. Your stomach will churn just thinking about it.
Some of the foods that I have come to love since going vegan are avocados, beans, and speckled bananas. I can’t tell you how shocked I am that I want to put avocado on everything.
Positive relationship with food
It’s no secret that as a society we struggle with food. We have this negative connotation that food is the enemy. That we need to restrict because food makes us fat.
What many people come to realize on an abundant vegan lifestyle is that food is fuel.
Our bodies need food to function properly and it’s all a matter of putting the right food in your body.
When you no longer see food as the enemy, you’re comfortable eating to your heart’s content know that you are helping your body heal and rejuvenate with whole plant foods.
Life changes quite a bit when you adopt a vegan lifestyle.
Your body becomes healthier with better digestion and clearer skin, your outlook changes by being emotionally uplifted and having a better relationship with food, and you get challenged a bit with encountering different people’s reactions to and questions about your vegan diet.
So long as you do your best in the moment to feed yourself the best food and treat others with love, you’re going to thrive.