What I Wish I Had Known Before I Went Vegan

I was thinking today about what I would write about and I thought back to the reason I started this blog in the first place: to help new vegans thrive.

So I thought, “What would a new vegan find useful?” How about a list of all the things I wish I had known when I went vegan!

What I Wish I Had Known Before I Went Vegan

I knew a lot less when I went vegan almost 3 years ago than I do today. And some of what I’ve learned since then would have been helpful to know when I was just starting out my vegan journey.

So here are 13 things I wish I knew before I went vegan.

I can’t copy someone else’s diet or meal plan

The way someone else eats will not work for everyone. I started out following the Raw Till 4 diet, eating about 2,500 calories a day. But I wasn’t as physically active as Freelee or the other Raw Till 4’ers so it wasn’t sustainable.

I eventually found a way of eating that fits my lifestyle and my needs.

There’s more than one way to be vegan

There are raw vegans, ethical vegans, healthy vegans, whole foods only vegans, junk food vegans, “plant based” vegans. Going vegan doesn’t mean you have to eat one specific way. You have a whole world of food available to you. Eat what you like.

THE (7)

I was setting myself apart from the norm. Expect looks, questions, jokes

However popular veganism is right now, it’s still not the norm in our society. People who are curious will ask a lot of questions. People who don’t understand may give you a funny look when you’re eating a whole watermelon. People who subconsciously feel guilty about eating meat will get defensive or make fun of you.  Be prepared for anything and do your best to respond with love and kindness.

Being vegan is more than the food I eat

I went vegan for health reasons so I had no idea about the world of ethical veganism. I didn’t know that to truly not harm animals, I would have to pay attention to the clothes I wore, the makeup I bought, the body care items I used, and so much more. Companies use animals for more than I could ever imagine.

Detox is rough

You don’t realize all the nasty stuff that’s in your body until you start to flush it out. And when it’s being flushed out, the side effects can be tough to endure. Headaches, breakouts, stomach pain. It was not easy.

There are sneaky foods out there that aren’t vegan

Going vegan you think, “Ok I’ll cut out meat, dairy and eggs. Easy!” WRONG. Animal products are often given names that we wouldn’t necessarily associate with animals. Whey, gelatin, red 4, confectioner’s glaze. Your best bet is to stick with whole plant foods or processed foods made from plant foods. Stay away from all those questionable ingredients.

My tastebuds would change

Since going vegan and eating a diet heavier in plant foods, my tastebuds have grown to love food they didn’t used to. Avocados. I love avocados now. On top of enjoying foods I didn’t used to, I now have a more sensitive palate to junk foods that I used to love. I would eat large bowls of ice cream but now, if I have ice cream, it’s a healthier brand and I can only have a few bites.

Salad Ingredient Inspiration

I enjoy cooking for myself more than eating out

My husband and I used to eat out a lot. Several times a week even. But now, we find that we prefer to cook for ourselves because restaurants just don’t make food like we do. No, we’re not master chefs. But we make our food exactly how we like it and have fun spending time in the kitchen together. The Ninja Blender is my favorite kitchen gadget!

Guide to Food Combining

Nutritional yeast is not a scary ingredient — It’s delicious

Any time I saw a recipe with nutritional yeast I would run away as fast as I could. I had no idea what this foreign ingredient was, what it did or what it tasted like. Eventually, after seeing more and more recipes using it and hearing several YouTubers talk about it, I got up the courage to buy some of my own. Boy, had I been missing out!

If you haven’t tried it yet, do! This is the nutritional yeast I buy. It’s got kind of a parmesan cheese flavor. If you’re still nervous, look here.

Supplementing is important

Vitamins B12 and D are the two that vegans are more commonly deficient in. So consider a vegan supplement. I would also recommend getting your blood tested after being vegan for some time so you can have an idea of where you might need to adjust your diet or add a supplement. I use the Garden of Life vegan B12 spray.

I was going to want everyone to become vegan and the best way to do that is to not bring it up

When I first went vegan, I got super excited and couldn’t wait to tell everyone about this way of living that could save so many lives! I realized pretty quickly, though, that people don’t want to be preached to (I actually started to annoy myself). Instead, I found the best way for me to share my knowledge was to lead by example and if someone wants to know more, they will approach me.

I would become healthier

I mentioned that I went vegan for health reasons so it’s clear I had high hopes this new diet would solve my issues. Little did I know, it would in fact clear up my acne and improve my digestion, but it would also give me more energy and bring clarity to my mind.

It’s ok to make mistakes

Vegan or not, no one is perfect. There are going to be times when you accidentally eat animal products. And that’s ok.

Have a question about being vegan? Ask it in the comments and I’ll be sure to respond.

17 Comments

    1. My skin is so much better! I struggled with acne so bad that when my husband suggested I try going vegan I thought, “what do I have to lose?”
      I do still get a pimple from time to time but for the most part my skin is clear.
      I think you’ll find that even if you go on a date to a non-vegan restaurant, you’ll still be able to find plenty to eat.
      You should definitely give it a try for at least a month so you can see if it will help you.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Rachel, Thanks for the list, I forget a number of these, or take them for granted. Not bringing it up is something I do, it’s difficult not to do that for me but has certainly resulted in some very unnecessary hurt feelings along the way. So that is one for me to highlight 🙂
    Go Mango Power!
    Bill

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was like that in the beginning and thought everyone would automatically go vegan while sharing my discovery and stories, it was such a no-brainer to me, why isn’t it to my family and friends, I don’t get it. I am also trying to lead by example and give little hints here and there. Share all my cooking and baking and leave baked goods at my clients homes that I clean, etc. I am involved in the activism end of it as well and the public is very responsive while we are doing our Anonymous for the Voiceless in Vancouver, it’s great!!!! And thanks for this post, it’s great too, awesome idea! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great post! Did you have any purging of your acne when you first started? if so when did you notice your skin to start clearing up? I am 3 weeks into my new lifestyle and have been loving every minute of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Tiffany! Three weeks? That’s awesome! Go you!
      Yes, I did notice my acne got worse before it got better but I started noticing improvements somewhere between two weeks and a month.
      What’s your favorite part so far about being vegan? And what made you decide to make the switch?

      Like

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