10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Vegan

How do vegans possibly do it?

Even after I became vegetarian, I turned this question over and over in my mind. I knew that I wanted to quit eating animal products but just couldn’t imagine making it work. I had even tried a vegan diet for a month, only to learn in the process that I wasn’t ready.

The commitment to officially say “I’m vegan” was a decision I deliberated about for a long time. In the end, it took two full years before I completely cut out eggs, milk, butter, and cheese. But when the time was finally right, there was no question about it.

Two and a half years later, now that this once extreme lifestyle now feels familiar, I have just enough perspective to wish I could go back and give my pre-vegan self (or someone else in my shoes) a few pointers.

So whenever they give us the promised time machines and jetpacks and I get the chance to go back and talk to that guy, here’s how I’ll help him prepare:

1. The jokes will never stop.

So get used to them, and understand that they don’t necessarily indicate a lack of respect.

My dad’s favorite line, when he tries some of our food: “This would be great with some meatballs!” It’s a joke, of course, and the fact that he says it so often has itself become a joke.

But just about every family or friendly gathering yields a joke from someone who must think they’re the first to make it. “Want me to throw a steak on the grill for you? Oh, that’s right … hahaha!”

An uncle once presented me with a single piece of iceberg lettuce on a plate and announced, for everyone to hear, “Hey Matt, look. Dinner!” I actually smiled at that one.

Get used to the jokes. Laugh them off, or take the opportunity to explain how important your diet choices are to you. Up to you.

2. Giving up the cheese isn’t nearly as hard as it seems.

I’m not saying that losing the cheese is easy. Life without cheese takes some adjustment, especially if you rely on it as an essential part of the few vegetarian dishes you can order in “normal” restaurants.

I thought I’d miss cheese as an appetizer, with a glass of wine or a beer. But it didn’t take long to discover that when I replaced the cheese with nuts or crackers, these foods were just as satisfying for their saltiness between sips, and I felt a lot better ten minutes later.

I thought I’d miss cheese on pizza. I quickly found that cheeseless pizza wasn’t nearly as good as the real thing, but it did the job, and over time, I came to tolerate (and even like) Daiya. Now, vegan pizza is just pizza in my mind, and I haven’t lost a thing.

As it turned out the key to giving up that last bit of cheese — which I clung to for months — was simply deciding to do so.

3. Being vegan doesn’t have to be more expensive, but it will be.

If you do the math, there’s no reason eating vegetarian or vegan should be more expensive than eating meat.

At three, five, or eight dollars a pound, meat is one of the more expensive items you’ll buy in the grocery store. So if you just replace it, say, with beans that cost a dollar per pound, you’ll bank some serious coin.

And yet, I now spend one and a half times or twice as much as I used to on groceries. Why? Because being vegan has led me down the ultra-health-foodie road. I shop at farmers markets and co-ops and Whole Foods more than I ever did before I was vegan, and I pay extra for organic. Going vegan led me to learn more about food, to the point that I’m scared not to be hyper-selective and skeptical about what I buy.

I’m sure you’ve heard the adage by now: “Pay for it now, or pay for it later.” The money we spend on the healthiest food possible is an investment in our future health that will pay off down the road.

4. Most of your meals will be one-dish wonders.

Believe it or not, this has been the toughest part for me — I lost a lot of my interest in cooking when I cut meat and then dairy out of my diet. (I realize I’m in the minority when I say this; most vegan chefs I’ve talked to didn’t discover their passion for food until they went vegan.)

Here’s what happened:

First, vegan food took a little more work to prepare. Second, without meat or cheese to supply lots of protein and fat without carbohydrate, there wasn’t the need to balance it with a high-carb side dish to keep this runner going.

So instead of making two or three different dishes for dinner, I shifted to one-dish meals: pastas, stir-fries, gigantic salads, smoothies, and a grain, a green, and a bean all in one pot.

It was a matter of practicality and simplicity, which, although less “gourmet,” fit perfectly well with other shifts in my lifestyle precipitated by my change in diet.

5. You will impact many more people than you realize.

I didn’t expect friends and family to change as a result of my decision. I didn’t set out to change anybody.

But — completely aside from this blog — I’ve had at least a half dozen friends excitedly tell me about how they eat less meat now. Some have become pescetarian, vegetarian, and even vegan.

People notice, even when your approach to influence is of the “quiet” form.

So …

6. Be prepared for a feeling of responsibility, and the compulsion to hold yourself to a higher standard than before.

There’s a stereotype that vegans are skinny and weak. And it’s a deserved one, because so many vegans have always been exactly that.

As the plant-based fitness movement grows, this is beginning to change. But keep in mind that even though you are aware of this shift because you’re so closely involved in it, most people have no clue about this. To them, vegans are still skinny and weak, by necessity.

Of course it’s your choice whether you want to play into this stereotype or make yourself a stark counterexample. For me, it has been the latter.

The reminder that I’m an ambassador (as anyone who is vegan is, wittingly or not) has been a big part of my drive to stay fit, to go after ultrarunning accomplishments and to make an effort to keep on at least a little bit of muscle, even when running and my body type make that tough.

The need to be an example goes beyond fitness, of course — for instance, I try hard to be the opposite of the stereotypical “preachy” vegan, too. Many vegans find their identity in being preachy, which is cool, but it’s not for me.

7. No matter how much you try to not make it a big deal, it’s gonna be a big deal.

I haven’t met vegans who are more laid back about it than my wife and I are. We don’t try to get people to go vegan, we’re supportive when people tell us they’re eating more whole foods even when their diet is more Paleo than vegan, and neither of us is the type that enjoys debating about how anyone “should” eat.

And yet, even with such a relaxed attitude and an avoidance of anything that could be considered pushy, I’d estimate that after we went vegan, we started eating dinners with family and friends about half as much as before, maybe even less.

Being vegan is a big deal, whether you make it that way or not. Some people will think you’re judging them and won’t dare try to prepare a meal for you, even if only because they’re afraid they’ll do a poor job of it. Others just don’t want to make the effort, and that’s totally understandable. And while there’s no reason we couldn’t invite those same people over to our place just as often as before, I can see how a vegan dinner would be unappealing to less adventurous eaters, and as a result I think I extend the invitation a little less often than before (note to self: I need to work on this).

8. You will be pleasantly surprised at who your biggest supporters are.

The flip side of eating less meals with friends and family as a whole is that it will become delightfully obvious who thinks it’s really awesome that you eat this way, who will go out of their way to make sure you’ve got something to eat at any event they host, and who will be eager to try your food and ask you intelligent questions about how you eat.

This has meant a ton to me. It’s a new and wonderful quality you’ll discover in people you already know well and love — and when someone treats you this way, you feel recognized, respected, and loved in return.

9. Sometimes it feels lonely, but you are not alone.

I’ve never had a strong desire to “cheat” for pleasure. More often that desire has been rooted in convenience or not wanting to make a scene, and tiny allowances in these situations are something I recently decided to take more seriously and abstain from entirely.

But over the past two years, there have been a few points where I felt like I was alone in the way I chose to eat, and those moments were tougher than any fleeting desire for gustatory pleasure or convenience.

I’ve gotten through those times by reminding myself that I’m not at all alone. Thanks to the connections technology affords us, there is a huge and supportive community that will make you feel ecstatic about your choices, whatever they are. You only have to look for these people — and sometimes, you don’t even have to do that. (You know the joke about how to find the vegan at the dinner party, right?)

Long-term, it has been this connection with people of similar mindsets, in person but mostly online, that has made moments of doubt increasingly rare.

10. You don’t have to get weirder when you go vegan, but you will.

The fun part. Being vegan has changed so much else about me, encouraging me to explore my uniqueness and pushing me towards and beyond the edges of what’s considered mainstream … from ditching the microwave to putting broccoli in smoothies to owning very few things.

There’s no reason that I had to become vegan before I embraced weirdness. And there’s no reason the choice to go vegan has to be the choice to go weird (outside of your diet). But for me, that’s how it worked out.

And I love it that way.

Yay? Nay?

I’ve learned — mostly from blogging about my journey — that in many ways I’m not the typical vegan. So I expect that there will be plenty of agreement and disagreement with this post, and I’m looking forward to hearing it. Let me know what you think!



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  1. When I went vegan I was in a relationship with a guy that was vegetarian, so the switch was pretty easy. When we broke up I never realized how hard dating and being a vegan was going to be. Some individuals just aren’t as open-minded about these things and I was put into the stereotypical vegan category. I would try not to mention my dietary choices for as long as possible so that they could get a chance to know me before placing judgement. There were some guys that never asked me out after finding out. I found out very quickly that being vegan is a great way to weed out closed-minded and judgmental suitors:)

    • Great outlook! My boyfriend made the switch to vegetarianism around the same time I went vegan, so I’m very grateful for that and can’t imagine how much hard it would make dating again. But you’re right, just keep weeding out those less willing to be open-minded 🙂

    • I’m going through this right now!

      How do people do it?!

      • Chelsea Jordan says:

        Hi Laura,

        ME TOO! I’m going through it as well! I really wanted to be vegan, so I did it for five months. I felt great until the fifth month and suddenly, I felt SO weak. I love cooking, so I cooked so much vegan variety and snacked throughout the whole day on nuts, seeds, chickpeas and chopped veggies…but suddenly and consistently for an entire month my body was screaming for something more. No matter how much quinoa salad, peanut butter toast, beans or bananas I ate, I could not feel satisfied. When I went to the city (a rarity, since I live in rural Botswana) I was on the verge of passing out, so I gave in and ate fish at the one restaurant that has it. After, I livened up immediately and felt so much healthier. I hated doing it, as my main reason for going vegan in the first place was because I don’t want something to suffer and die for me if there are other alternatives, but I didn’t know what else to do. It was an incredibly frustrating and sad moment for me. Now, back at my house I continue to cook vegan, but the fish cravings are getting worse and worse (luckily there is no fish here!)

        Are you experiencing anything like this? Maybe someone on here can help us!

        • When i first went vegan i also had fish cravings. I found though once i was dilligent about having ground flax or chia every day (1 tbs) in something like my breakfast cereal or smoothie that craving went away. So i think i just needed some omega 3.
          Are you having chia or flax everyday?
          Another tip would be to track some of your days on Cron-o-meter and see if you are not getting enough of any other kinds of nutrients. I find i’m extra hungry if i’m missing out on something. Hope that helps!

          • Chelsea Jordan says:

            Actually yes! My mom just sent me my first big bag of chia seeds in a care package, which I received two days ago! So I’ll be sure to have some everyday and see what happens to the cravings. So far I’ve made energy drinks out of them and jarred some chia coconut gel I made (but I’m not sure what to do with it now that I’ve made it!) I really hope it works out. I want my body and my mind to be in line…if my mind says, “I don’t want to eat animal products”, I want my body to say, “Neither do I!”

            It’s a difficult process switching to vegan, but I’m going to keep doing my best and not beat myself up for the few times I slip. From what I read, it can take a while to adjust and truly be a healthy vegan (meaning learning how to balance all the nutrients we need and how to cook delicious food without lazily adding cheese and milk). But how could anyone not love the concept of being the best we can be and reducing as much harm as possible? Of all the controversial life choices in the world, being vegan should not have such a negative stereotype.

            I love this blog!

          • It might be more Vitamin B 12 deficiency than an iron or protein lack. It’s difficult to become B 12 deficient, but it does happen. I occasionally take a sublingual Vitamin B 12… I have to say I have been vegetarian for 30+ years and have never had any meat or fish cravings, nor felt weak. The cheese is difficult when I travel, since I travel often to developong countries where not eating meat by choice is very difficult for people to understand, no cheese is almost impossible, but I still try, because I just feel better with out cheese…

        • ” After, I livened up immediately and felt so much healthier. ”

          Your symptoms were most likely psycho somatic, as it takes hours to digest and benefit from anything you eat. Heck, it takes about an hour for your stomach to realize you’ve even eaten anything and start to ‘feel full.’

          • No, that’s not true–a diabetic with low blood sugar can drink orange juice and feel better within seconds. The same thing happens to me, although I’m not diabetic but have a very high and quirky metabolism: I feel weak, exhausted, nauseated, but and immediately feel ok if I eat something (this cannot be faked). It’s possible that that’s just the body’s way of thanking me for giving it what it needs and will use over the next hour, so in that sense it may be “psychosomatic,” but not in the sense of me feeling better because I expect to (placebo effect).

          • That’s not true and an irresponsible thing to say. I felt like this when I first tried to go vegan and found it to be a B12 deficiency. B12 and iron are two things that are greatly talked about with regards to veganism, as they happen frequently in those that first start without the knowledge that extra effort or supplements will be necessary to ensure one does not become deficient in these. Information of such should be shared instead of telling someone it’s just in their mind.

        • Emarn Cookson says:

          I’m also in Botswana! Unfortunately I’ve only just discovered the awesome vegan way, but luckily my internet works well enough to discover life outside Maun 🙂
          Personally I’ve found the Africaans friends I have (opposed to expats from further afield) are extremely difficult to even talk with about why I eat how I eat.
          LOVE blogs on food/recipes and preparing fab meals of with what is available in Northern Bots, cannot believe I haven’t discovered this lifestyle earlier.

          • Christen Brown says:

            I definitely can relate to the difficulty of not having understanding people to talk to. My husband and I have been married for over a year and dated for 3 when I decided to go vegan a month ago. He understands why i choose not to eat meat and has been understanding to a point. In some cultures in America, not eating meat can be viewed as criminal. So he feels like he’s missing out on a bonding experience that happens when we eat the same things. I showed him the documentary “Vegucated” and it changed his perspective of my decision. It was no longer some weird “Dare to be Different” phase his wife was going through. My decision to go vegan because of animal cruelty and health consciousness was relatable to him. He still eats meat. And that’s okay. He’s free to make his own decisions and respects mine. I think that’s all we look for- understanding and acceptance. So best of luck! Cheers!

        • You know, you might also look into iodine sources… Iodine deficiency manifests itself in some pretty strange ways, and can make you feel really crappy as well… We found that when we switched to a plant based diet, we also quit using so much salt which can be a significant source of iodine at least in the US. We started incorporating more sea vegetables and kelp pills and problems went away for us. It may not be it, but it is relatively easy to try…

          • swimbikerun says:

            Thanks Ralf! I also do not use a lot of sodium. I must be the only American who actually has had low sodium on bloodwork, or it be low normal. So this comment was appreciated – thanks for giving me something to look out for.

        • sediqua22 says:

          Yes, I’ve experienced this. I am an athlete, people say I should enter body building shows. My children are also giants, (my son is 7 feet, and my daughter, I think is going to be taller than me) They are very active.

          Unless I supplement with a whole food shake, every day, its nearly impossible to keep up the vegan life style. Just like you, every now again, my body breaks down, and eating a burger, (gasp, i know) does the trick.

          Its a sad thing for me, because I know I feel better over all, not eating burgers. But then, every once in a while, like every few months or so, my body will act like its craving it.

          My son is an avid Vegan too. He’s converted his b-ball team it seems, because he just doesnt have the physical ailments they have. (ie, his skin glows, while they have acne, he is always awake for their 6:00AM practices and games, and he will give his secrets, wheatgrass, veganism, juicing, etc..A lot of players have come around.)

          But then, on the other hand, sometimes, he needs meat. With his workout schedules, and physical demands of growing, after a while, eating a burger is just what the doctored ordered.

          Granted, he does so on occasion. I am talking, a few times a year. I still feel bad because I feel I havent made the right enough vegan protein combinations for him not to be deprived.

          But everyone is different. I would think that meso morphs and people that put on weight and mass easily would feel this way. I know I do, even though I still believe vegan and raw is the best way to be. I treat eating animal products twice a year as a catch up to all those times I just did not eat enough, period.

          • Oh…after reading these comments, I feel somewhat better. I struggle with being vegan; my body can’t handle it at times. I am hungry ALL the time and there are days when I feel like I need more protein, but can’t bring myself to do it…and I end up just feeling crappy. I haven’t eaten meat in 20 years, but I have eaten shrimp and tuna the last times my body craved it and I felt so much better. The last time I made the attempt at being vegan, I relied a lot on convenience foods and it’s a bit harder when trying to eat whole foods ( at least for me…I overdosed on broccoli and can barely stand eating steamed broccoli now)

          • When I first became a vegan, I found that I could satisfy meat cravings with a vegan meat ‘substitute’, like vege sausages or vege burger made from textured vegetable protein, which have a high concentration of protein. I did not need to eat real meat. I don’t know if that feeling of being not completely satisfied is psychological or physiological one, but 30 years after becoming vegan I still eat some meat substitutes with my massive salads, curries, pasta dishes, risotto’s, roast vegies etc. a couple of times a week to feel satisfied.

            One of the reasons I continue like this is that there are so many new products on the market like vegan schnitzel, nuggets, chicken patties, and they are delicious, and not like meat right of the bone, so they are not totally ‘mimicking’ meat, and they give that feeling of satiation that I used to get from meat. I would urge vegan’s, if you can, to try this strategy of using products like this before resorting to eating real meat. Alot of these products are made by Lam Yong Co, and Fry’s vegan products, and they are in Australia and New Zealand, so I don’t know what’s available in other countries.

            Lam Yong do however also make alot of vegan products that mimic meat too much for my liking, like vegan roast duck, vegan roast pork complete with crackling, and prawns with the little orange lines drawn on them to look like real prawns. I don’t eat these types of products because I’ve been vegan too long so they creep me out, but they would be great for helping people in the process of converting to a vegan diet.

            On another note, I am having some non-vegan friend’s stay with me for a couple of days, and they don’t like the idea of being vegan. I usually make vegie stir fry on rare occasions of making dinner for non-vegans. I don’t feed meat substitutes to non-vegans, so I would appreciate any ideas for meals to serve people who don’t like the idea of being vegan. I was thinking of a home-made ravioli with some kind of vegetable pate, mushroom, or just mashed tinned peas as a filling, and using those pre-made wontons instead of making home made pasta for the ravioli, and some kind of fancy vegan cream or pumpkin sauce with chives. Then cherry pie for dessert. They really liked my bananas maria desert that I made in a previous occasion.

        • I experience the same thing as far as always being hungry. Even if I eat enough to be full in the moment, it only lasts a couple hours at best and I’m hungry again. Peanut butter and beans and other “heavy” non meat stuff just doesn’t cut it. It’s annoying to have to prepare something or just be eating all the time.

          • I am at week 2 of going vegan and I am really hungry all the time…like 20 minutes after eating and being full. I don’t understand it and I’m afraid it will eventually throw me off of wanting to be vegan. I am not allowed to eat at my desk at work which makes it really hard to be eating all the time.

        • Dr.Bass.com/symptoms
          To those who start a vegan lifestyle….there are changes that will take place in your body along the way. And, some will not be pleasant. If you go to Dr. Bass link above, he has written a very nice explanation of those changes. It should help and hopefully encourage you to continue on your journey if you understand what is going on in your body without the congestion of meat in your body. Good reading. Hope this helps.

        • Try adding seaweed to your diet. Worked for me.

        • I know this is a late reply but have you heard of Dr. McDougall’s Starch Solution Program?. He’s got incredible scientific data to prove that it works. I have been following his program for a month now and I have lost 10lbs without trying and I have tons of energy and I don’t drink coffee. My lab results are fantastic too. I am not deficient in anything! Check it out: https://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/free-mcdougall-program/

        • Without a doubt, it’s your B12. It happened to me as well. I got deficient and had to supplement for a while with a plant base product. After, I use lots of Nutrional yeast in my foods and spirullina.
          I used to love salmon then the cravings went away. No one believed it. So, when it started to come back plus I felt weak and SO cold, plus started to have sleep and fatigue issues, I got my blood checked. It was very low B12.
          Hope you are feeling better. 🙂

    • I loved every word!!! Thanks for your encouragement! I’m almost at the 2 month mark and needed a whack upside my head! Your words are a breath of fresh air! Thank you. ….

    • You are aware it’s the judgmental nature of vegans is the reason people don’t want to date/hang out with them.
      Even vegetarians keep away from them-and I know plenty. Their posts on vegetarian websites turns people away from vegetables in general instead of being for veganism.Just look at the vegan blog/websites out there, not only does that not convince anyone, it merely antagonizes them.I remember there was a meatless Monday link up where as soon as you ended up on a vegan website, not only would it turn people off vegan-ism(which is a good thing IMHO) but it turned them off meatless Monday trend as well. I even know pescaterians who completely gave up the whole vegan food dish bit of their diet after visiting vegan food sites while in search of recipes. Maybe the reason people don’t want to go out with you is YOU. The reason you’re social circles shrink to an inward looking online crowd with similar interests, as opposed to people you actually live with with differing interests is YOU.

      • @Kristy: I am curious who you are referring to here. I agree with the animal ethics concerns that motivate veganism (and I’m nearly there), but I also dislike that many are judgmental (I got called a hypocrite at a party yesterday when I admitted that I have not yet completely given up dairy, even though I am so close). However, the author of this article seems to be the opposite. I was impressed by how kind, humble, and non-judgmental he is. I also don’t see any comments (other than yours) that are the slightest bit rude. I am curious who prompted this criticism.

    • I love your comment! You should not have to change for anyone else, love who you are and embrace it. Those guys that did not want you because of the way you eat are surely not worth your time. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been a vegetarian for 2.5 decades. Cheese is my main problem, but I’ve decided to cut it out completely for the next 44 days (lent) and see how that goes. BUT, I originally come from NY and now live in Germany, so I don’t think ordering a pizza with bread, sauce and broccoli will cut it and of course there are no vegan pizzerias here. There is ONE restaurant about 45 mins. away, so I’ll probably live pizza-free if and when I go vegan, which will suck. I hope you’re right about not missing it though, can’t imagine… At least we have awesome beer here! Anyway, I can also relate to everything else you’ve written, especially getting weirder… I can feel it, but I agree, it’s OK, so I’m just going with it…

      • Jessica, I am now NOT going to feel sorry for myself about cutting out my dairy. I also, have been a vegetarian for about 26/27 years. (“I’m the only ‘freak’ in the family…) I did it for humane reasons; but I have to give up dairy for health reasons. I haven’t done it yet (cheese eggs and grits…😭); but when I finally get there – It’ll be all good…

  2. swimbikerun says:

    I thought you were going to say how much fun it was for #1.

    Congrats on the 100 miler! I had a friend do Leadville 100.

  3. Another great post! I can relate with everything you’ve written here. But I didn’t have such a hard time with cheese. Prior to becoming vegan I ate A LOT of cheese, but as you said, as soon as I said “no more” it wasn’t hard at all. I think nothing of ordering a veggie pizza with no cheese! And I find I can eat a lot more of it because I don’t get filled up and bloated on the cheese.

  4. Eliot W. Collins says:

    Colin Wright recently explained to me, “Veganism is absolutely not a diet, under any circumstances. Veganism is a philosophy. If you stop eating animal proteins, but do not follow any of the other ideals of Veganism, you are not a Vegan at all. You are simply someone who chose not to eat animal proteins to be more healthy.”

    I tend to agreee. Although I do not eat meat, poultry or seafood, I am not a Vegan. Since I eat Jell-O (derived from collagen obtained from various animal by-products) I am not even a vegetarian.

    • Don’t be so hard on yourself. Labels keeps people attached to things that ultimately do not matter. Your choices are positive and are helping not only your body but the planet. It took me 2 years to become vegan after becoming vegetarian and I even was given a Gucci leather purse for my birthday before becoming vegan that now I know is not the best idea, but I also get that awareness is what really matters in the end. Hug yourself!!!!

      • Steve Navarra says:

        You said it all, Bree! “…awareness is what really matters…” What we do, what we eat, how we treat each other…and, when we TRULY become AWARE, we do those things BETTER!

    • Jon Weisblatt says:

      try Ko-Jel. It’s Kosher jello, i.e. vegan.

      • Steve Navarra says:

        Forgive, Jon, but kosher gelatin comes from fish:
        (from Wikipedia, “Kosher Foods”): Today manufacturers are producing gelatin from the skins of kosher fish, circumventing many of these problems. (Dr. Bernard Cole Pr.Sci.Nat. “Gelatine – Consumer Information”. Gelatin.co.za. Retrieved 2011-12-03.)

        If it’s going to be considered Veg*n, there can be no meat/animal product contained therein. I’ve worked in a kitchen where the so-called chefs would make a perfectly Veg*n item…then deep fry it in a deep fat fryer in which they had cooked chicken, beef, bacon…and STILL consider the falafel or tempura Veg*n. “Seriously?” I’d ask…”You think that’s Veg*n?” “Aw, it’s just a LITTLE meat fat…what harm could it do?” I would then argue that if I was keeping kosher, would they say the same thing? “It’s just a LITTLE trafe; what harm…?”

        • Yeah…labels. I am sure some people would not approve of my boyfriend: he’s a butcher. Then again, when we met, he was curious and genuinely curious about it. He never once, made fun of me and made several vegan meals for me. Heck, he fights some of my battles for me too…So, I don’t pay attention to labels..we do the best we can.

          • Vegan for 20 years?! Interesting claim.

            Anyway, I am a bit worried about you. It seems to me that you may not be emotionally happy w/ your vegan lifestyle. We humans should do the things that make us happy, as long as those things do not cause us or others harm.

            If you are physically healthy and if you are not 100% emotionally happen w food, then perhaps you should eat what your body desires. It is wrong to eat animals for PLEASURE, but if your body genuinely needs it for you to be emotionally and physically HAPPY, then it may be permissible for you to eat it.

            I will continue vegan for as long as I can. I am 23 now and my meat consumption has historically been very low (i.e. 2lbs per month) , but if I ever feel like eating meat in the future, I may as well go eat it. I only need a few lbs of chicken or shrimp a month anyway to be HAPPY w/ meat.

            Good luck and I hope that you are happy w/ your food consumption.

  5. Giving up cheese was easy because I never ate it before anyway. I was traumatized in my youth by my parents’ penchant for extremely stinky cheeses! Thanks, Mom & Dad!

  6. This post could not have been timed more perfectly. It’s been about 5 months since I made the switch toward veganism (with some minor setbacks that usually involved some dairy and stemmed from not wanting to make a scene at a dinner gathering). However, lately I feel slightly disillusioned by the stigma of vegans and find myself trying to defend my choice like “It’s not that I don’t like meat and cheese…” or saying to people who ask about is I eat certain things- “Well, don’t worry, I’m not THAT crazy or strict about it.” Or I just try to avoid the subject at all costs. Maybe I just need more frequent reminders of why I’m choosing this lifestyle. One question though- I’m sure many of us do it for the same reasons, but what do you find to be the most succinct and least-“preachy” explanation when asked the infamous question “Why are you vegan?” Like you said, I’m sure with time I will get over trying to appease people and let the judgements/jokes/etc. slide. All in all, this article was the perfect read to revamp my motivation, so thank you!

    • Great question, Alison. And I’m really glad to hear that this post came at a good time for you and is helpful.

      My answer to “Why are you vegan?” goes something like this: “Because I started to not feel right about eating animals, and as I looked into it more and actually tried it out, I noticed how great I felt. And although I had expected my running to get worse, I actually got faster. I’m not quite sure if the diet was responsible, but it sure felt like it was.”

      I like that because it’s 100% honest and it implies that I used to feel differently (and ate and thought just like the person I’m talking to, so they can relate) and that I had assumed the same as everyone else, that you couldn’t be fast/strong as a vegetarian or vegan.

      • Jenn Lynn says:

        Great question and great response.
        Love the blog. Thx!

      • Very well said- and I like how it allows other people to relate to you, which I think is what I worry too much about now :/ Thanks again!

      • Lesley Debrier says:

        I am a physician, a runner, and a vegan along with my two kids ages 5 and 7 for about the past 2 years. The strange part to me is that, ultimately, it’s just no big deal. I don’t care what my friends eat. I have no need to preach. It works for me. I don’t miss cheese or meat. I like the food I eat. I think that because I take the “it’s no big deal” attitude, my friends and family are not bothered by it either. My son who is only 7 has convinced several people to go vegan because that’s what he believes (going vegan was his idea!). I did realize that I need at least one protein shake a day. It’s hard for me to take my 4-6 miles a day very seriously compared to these ultra-marathoners. but I do need that shake. It’s not like it’s hard to make.

      • This blog really helped me today. I am the only one I know that is vegan and sometimes its hard to be around others. I don’t feel like going back because I wholeheartedly enjoy the way I feel and believe I am finally who I am.

    • I like to ask “why do you eat meat?” Usually throws them 🙂 I did post about talking vegan here http://herbifit.com/2013/06/10/talking-vegan/

      I do like Matt’s response below. Might memories that one 🙂

      • Love that “Why do you eat meat?” response, Herbifit! Haha! I usually say “I don’t like to talk about this over a meal, but if you still want to talk about it later I’d love to!” I’ve had MANY people private message, email, or text with legitimate curiosity and seeking advice, so for me that’s been the best approach. 🙂

        Matt, this is a fantastic piece! Love it!

      • Um, cause humans evolved to eat it and it is our natural diet?

      • Please ask me.

    • Amba Waters says:

      My response to the question “why are you Vegan?” is that consuming the flesh of another creature does not appeal to me!!
      I do not try to convert meat eaters to Veganism, but I’m not offended in the slightest if anyone questions my Diet.
      I’m proud of my Vegan lifestyle and love my Vegan Diet and so should you.

    • I am shocked that you do not know the #1 reason why most people become vegans: it is the humanitarian reason. Basically, billions of animals (cows/pigs/chicken/fish/etc.) are slaughtered and eaten by humans yearly for PLEASURE. These animals are abused and go through unimaginable suffering, and the ONLY people on Earth that actually care about these animals are “most” vegetarians. These animals are enslaved and murdered to satisfy the pleasure of meat/dairy/egg lovers. Cows and hens are literally slaves that are worked to death until they cannot produce more product, and then are killed for meat.

      I am absolutely SHOCKED that there are vegans that go vegan not for humanitarian reasons or serious health reasons (i.e. diabetes or morbid obesity).

      Do research on the meat industry, on the animal suffering that goes on. Give this argument the next time you are asked why you became vegan and the people who asked you will understand.

      • Don’t be SHOCKED. Most of the people that I know who eat a plant-based diet do so because they feel that it improves their athletic performance.

        I always thought that the #1 reason worldwide that people are veg*ns (as opposed to becoming veg*ns) was because of their religion.

      • yes ETHAN…. FACT!

  7. Great article. Great advice. Thanks for doing what you do. ~B

  8. Great post! So much of this applies to any dietary change, whether it be veganism or a medically-necessary shift to gluten-free or dairy-free, etc… Thanks for this.

  9. Desiree1980 says:

    25 years vegan, 33 years old. I ate margarine and bread for a year, at least it feel like it. I didn’t even know I was ‘going vegan’ I just had always hated the veins, muscle tissue, so gross. I also loved pets, still do. 13yr Certified Vet Tech.

    • Desiree1980 says:

      If there is something you want to know any of you, I’m pretty sure I’d have the answer!

      • How have you been vegan since you were 8 years old?

        • swimbikerun says:

          He had intelligent parents …

        • My daughter came home in first grade, declared she didn’t want to eat animals anymore because she loves them. We thought it was a phase, and now 5 years later, she’s still going strong. It’s possible….

      • Hi, I’ve been vegan for more than 3 years now and I love it, the only problem I have is I trow up violently after eating in restaurants, I just got a meal from an Indian restaurants, Chaat Cafe and they assured me the potato pancakes was vegan but minutes after I ate it I threw up, I ate a falafel sandwich the other day in a totally vegetarian place and also got sick could it be the veggies where old? I even had a fruit shake at a juice place that also made me sick, I am so scared to eat out and not sure what is causing me to get sick it’s very frustrating when my friends wanna take me out to eat and I can’t

        • You might have a gluten sensitivity, get checked. My friend would throw up and get violently ill if she ate french fries that were fried in grease that had had something with wheat in it….

        • I am allergic to soy and get violently ill if I accidentally eat something with soy in it. It’s vegan but it makes me sick for days. Read the labels on everything, ask lots of questions and watch for patterns. Allergies can develop after years of safely eating a food. Good luck!

  10. Excellent article! Thank You!

  11. I feel so good from reading this amazing post, its almost as if you were reading my mind when you wrote this. I am currently pescaterian slowly pushing towards vegetarian, I cant get over the whole lack of protein thing so I choose to eat fish. I would really love to be vegan though because I think it is an ideal diet for the more spirit conscious person.

    • Mo, why do you have a lack of protein??? A vegan diet provides more than enough protein for the average person. Don’t use the “protein excuse” – just say NO! 🙂

      • Eliot W. Collins says:

        Most people need far less protein than they think that they do. Even if one becomes a veg*n they still remember what they have been told all their life by the meat and dairy industries.

    • Just ate over 100 grams of protein in a day- less than 2000 calories- all vegan. It’s easier than it seems. (Not saying I NEEDED that much protein, just that that’s what I did.)

      I’m a vegan for health reasons (controls my MS symptoms) and I can so relate to it being a big deal even if it’s not a big deal. I went out of my way to stress my laid back attitude about it. Didn’t help. It’s just too foreign to people. Now, I’m just more matter of fact about it.

      And serve really great pasta dishes and bread to guests- and chocolate. I’ve found that goes over the best. It might not have as much protein as a more balanced meal, but it’s familiar and tasty.

    • Try eating what the fish eat, instead of killing the fish.

    • I am in a similar situation. My body has always been happiest on a cave woman diet of meat/fish, fruit and veg. However I don’t like the idea of eating flesh. I went to Nepal for a month and found being vegan there really easy. I didn’t miss meat at all. They use so many wonderful spices and have such a variety of beans and pulses. I was veggie for another month when I came back and then became anemic. However I’d like to try going veggie again. At the moment I’m pescaterian.

  12. I feel like I’m about a year behind you, but on the same path. I discovered a love of running almost a year ago. That love has initiated so many positive changes, from quitting smoking to a near total elimination of meat and dairy from my diet. I still eat a very small amount of seafood, but I know it’s going to go. And the only thing I occasionally miss is eggs. I’ll get over that too.

    This post is particularly pertinent today as just last night I had my first restaurant nightmare when I met some friends out at a local pub/restaurant after uttering the “I’m sure there’s something there I can eat” line. I was wrong. Ended up with a very lack luster side salad (looked like burger garnish with cup of dressing next to it), and a insanely overbaked potato that I suffered through without the pile of bacon, cheese, & sour cream. I prefer cooking my own food and last night was just a glaring reminder that I’m going to have to keep doing that for a while…and politely suggest I just meet my friends for drinks after dinner from now on. I’ll live…healthier. It’s worth it.

    Thanks for the heads-up on the rest.

  13. I totally agree with all of your points! Especially number 3 and 9. There is something about being a vegan that causes you to eat weird, expensive food. I don’t go around bragging to non vegan friends about how I scored a good deal on a big bag of nooch… weird.

    #6 hit really close to home for me because I definitely feel this way, but never really said it out loud. I feel more pressure to do well when I am competing in my NMA tee shirt. If I don’t do well, I don’t want any non vegans saying something infuriating like, “maybe you need more protein…” I don’t want the assumption to be that I ran a bad race because of my diet.

    #1 is totally true. The jokes will NEVER stop. My dad used to make this joke about how I couldn’t eat anything because he sprinkled meat powder on everything… Eww. When I found out that McD’s fries literally have a beef seasoning on them (from NMA) I laughed because who knew meat powder was a real thing and my dad wasn’t just being an idiot?

    Thanks Matt! Awesome read; I love when you post stuff like this. It has such a vegan community vibe, like only we would really understand.

    • Leigh-Anne says:

      McDonalds french fries have beef seasoning on them… *gasp*! The only time I’ve eaten them is when i was pregnant… One of those weird cravings, along with peach rings. I know, gross, right?!?! Now I def wont be eating the again!

  14. I also wanted to add Daiya is BETTER than cheese. That stuff melts so friggin’ good and it is so creamy. I don’t miss cheese at all. The only thing I find frustrating is the availability… my grocery store only carries it occasionally.

  15. I cannot believe how on-the-nose this list is! I identify with every single one of these. I was a vegetarian who became more interested in food, then that turned me vegan, then that turned me into an athlete. I like reading about everyone’s journeys in the comments, and then seeing that we all ended up in similar places!

  16. Great post! Loved the link to the jokes. We have a long story of how our family is slowly becoming plant-based…all starting with our daugters’ food sensitivities to things in my breast milk. Hope you make it to the Denver area during your book tour. Congrats on the 100-miler. I have two friends that have done the Pikes peak and Leadville, sheesh! Way to go! Also, congrats to your wife being on your crew and toting around your little one!

  17. I wish I knew – beforehand – that TVP tastes like $hit. And that it is impossible to fake the texture of a hamburger (meat) pattie with anything else. I’ve tried about 63 ways.

    One thing I did know and would advise other would-be vegans to get to know before making the change: it’s a breeze being a vegan if you like beans!

    • Try MorningstarFarms – one of the closest you’ll actually come to real burgers. Gussy ’em up w/ condiments and vegetables and you’ll be satisfied! Try the MorningstarFarms Prime Grillers. morningstarfarms.com

  18. I completely needed to read this right now. I have a hard time with the jokes and living in beef central of Texas, I hear them A LOT! I need to learn to accept that people are going to make them no matter what and handle it gracefully. Thank you for making me feel much less isolated 🙂

    • We all go vegan for various reasons, but what seems to help me is not only the enormous vegan community, but also being able to finish a meal and say, “nothing was harmed or had to suffer in order for me to eat dinner” and it always makes me feel better and more confident in my choice to be a vegan surrounded by meat eaters.

      • Plants were harmed. They might not be sentient beings, but there is no way to be a living thing on this planet and not eat other living things, unless you’re a breatharian. It’s the nature of the dual world; if you’re alive, you either eat, or be eaten, or both.

        • Plants don’t have a nervous system. Not inflicting pain = not “harming” in my book 🙂 Also, I think it’s pretty obvious that there is a huge difference between harvesting from a plant and harvesting from a conscious being.

  19. Thanks for this helpful and timely post! I’ve told my friends that for the month of September I was going to try going vegan, but actually already am. The original plan was to see if I could do it, but in my head I already know that not being vegan is no longer an option. Your post and the comments that followed show that while it often feels like a lonely journey, it’s a journey that a lot of other people have experienced and it’s great to hear their stories.

  20. Excellent post Matt.
    I went vegan after reading your blog 18 months ago. I had been thinking about it for a while but wasn’t sure I could make it healthy and make it work with being a runner. You helped me to see that it was so thank you 🙂
    Your experiences you have written about here echo a lot of mine. All apart from the one about cooking. I have loved experimenting with different foods and dishes and blogging my favourite recipes http://herbifit.com/spice-rack/ Going vegan has definitely made me a better cook.


  21. Thanks so much, Matt. Your candor and humor make me smile. You certainly hit the nail on the head. My daughter and I are vegan, my husband and son are vegetarian, so we have a nice little insulated support system here, but my heart goes out to all those who feel like they are going it alone. It is a powerful choice, for your own health and the lives of those you choose not to eat. Thanks to everyone for making the effort one meal at a time. Thanks to Matt for letting feel connected.

  22. Could. Not. Agree. More!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!

  23. Long-time reader, just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for helping me find the food I need to keep my body running well, even if I’ve been sidelined by injuries and unable to really take the label “Athlete” to heart. Thank you for letting me know that I’m not alone.

  24. Great post. In fact so great I think it’s one of the best I’ve read. I felt like you were writing about me! They are exactly the kind of things I can tell people when they invent the time traveller and I can go back and tell myself.
    Particularly the jokes – I get them every meal, and the way I influence people without really knowing. It’s only when friends/acquaintances come to me later asking questions that I began to realise that they are interested and looking to me for information.
    Can I say it again? Great post!

  25. Brilliant post.

    I became food aware when I gave up meat for Lent/Easter. Being vegetarian made me aware of how much crap I was eating. I am now paleo but trying to place emphasis on vegetables.

    Resources like this are so helpful, please keep posting.

  26. #1: “Vegetarian is an old Indian word for bad hunter.” Hahaha- never gets old for some folks.

    #8. I can’t even tell you the # of times I’ve gone to a get together with the expectation of snacking on the fruit and veggie platter and having a host make something special for me. I’m always so surprised because I’ve never been one to except someone to go out of their way for my dietary choices.

    #9. I feel this way most often when I’m with other people (work meeting recently) and I’m hungry and everyone else is chowing down on cheesy pizza and I’m praying for the meeting to be over so I can go home and eat. It’s moments for me when I stick out amongst everyone else and I’m “different” that make me most lonely.

    • Eliot W. Collins says:

      I do not like it when something is made special for me, because it may create some tension if I do not want to eat it. For some reason others think that I like cheese, eggs, fish or even poultry. I do care for any of these. I do not care for fake meat or foods high in fat or sodium either. I simply say , “No thanks” when these food are offered. That’s it.

      • Leigh-Anne says:

        Ditto… And im always worried that the “special dish” is not really vegan… And i hate nagging by asking what is in it, and hate feeling obligated to eat it since it was made special for me! Pas the fruit/veggie platters please!

  27. Number 10, definitely hits home with me. Embrace your weirdness. It is a lot of fun!

  28. haha so true! Thank you for this post!
    I’ve been planning to do a similar post on my blog (in german) 😀

  29. Awesome post Matt!

    The first part about the jokes really resonated with me. I ended up in a situation with my dad making a joke to our waitress in front of me about me. I confronted him afterwards about how shitty it made me feel. I know that he’s been supportive of me and that it’s his choice not to be a vegan, but when he makes a joke out of it, it makes it easy for people who don’t understand veganism to joke about it.

  30. Growing up loving my mom’s cooking (and dad’s grilling), I was one of those people that always thought going vegetarian (or vegan) was a silly idea and definitely not for me. Though in the past few years, I have transitioned to a pescetarian diet (but, eating vegan 2-3 days/week) as my running has increased. I am running my first marathon in October and I am completely confident that this diet will help me get to the starting line! Absolutely fantastic post – thank you.

  31. Thanks Matt! I have been flirting with both running and veganism for years and your post is one of the major tools I have used to improve with both! I run my first ultra (a 31 miler) in October and my first 50miler next year, all with more and more of my diet becoming plant based along the way. I feel like I’ve rolled back middle age.

    What makes your blog stand out from all the other good information out there is your attitude. Frankly the biggest obstacle I had faced is the whole vegan ”evangelism”. I prefer a teacher to a preacher any day, and you sir, are an excellent teacher. Thank you for sharing your journey!

  32. Hi Matt

    I am the only non animal product eater in my family (including extended family). My husband’s family already think I am a bit weird for running so I really try to play down the plant eating side as I can already see the eye rolling! So I have eaten things I would not normally eat to just not cause a scene or to be deemed difficult at family dinners.
    Your post really hit the nail on the head though and I am sure I will get there. I will keep it and re read when the going gets tough.
    The process to get to where I am now has been a long one but totally worth it. I really find my recovery is so much faster and I sleep much better!

  33. Eric Middleton says:

    Hi Matt,
    I’ve enjoyed the discussion very much, particularly your exchange with Javier. I’m writing because of an ethical question that I’m dealing with. I’m vegan (stopped eating meat in 1973) my wife is mostly vegan, and our two children are vegetarian. For two years now we have had eight chickens that are treasured as much as pets as they are for their eggs (we were up almost all night two nights ago nursing one of our hens, Snowy, who was not feeling well). They have a very nice large run and garden area to roam around, and we feed them a good healthy diet of organic feed and vegetable/fruit scraps (they go nuts over chard!)

    My family keeps trying to convince me that it would be okay for me to eat our hens’ eggs, since we treat them humanely, we know what their food source is, and biology forces them to lay eggs almost every morning anyway. Ive been struggling with this for the two years that we’ve had our beloved hens. What do you and your readers think?

    • Eliot W. Collins says:

      The reason that I do not eat eggs is that they are a too highly concentrated source of protein. Most of us really do not need that much protein, and I get all that I need from other sources. The egg industry promotes its product very well.

      I have been told by someone who keeps chickens as pets, that the chickens will eat their own eggs, and some Vegans feel that that is the right thing to do. Other Vegans think that even owning pets is wrong.

      • Eric Middleton says:

        Hi Elliot, thanks for your response. I’m not worried about protein either-I’ve been dealing with that for the 40 years I’ve been vegetarian/then vegan. We have not yet tried to feed our chickens their own eggs. The calcium that they may or may not lose by laying eggs is offset by feeding them oyster shells, which is also an ingredient in their feed. I don’t see what’s wrong with pets-our 3cats are from a Siamese and humane society rescue.

        • Eliot W. Collins says:

          See http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/faqs/ for an answer to this question:

          Question 3: Does the institution of pet ownership violate animals’ basic right not to be regarded as things?

          • swimbikerun says:

            I look at it this way. The animal out in the wild would have to fight to survive, can go hungry, thirst, be sick with no help. They’ll lead a shorter life. They’ll have to watch over their shoulders every step of the way. They could get maimed and be left to do a slow, painful death.

            Or they live at my place where they get good food, medical care, loved on. They’re given toys, shelter, and safety.

            Which would you choose if you were a sentient being? The dog didn’t mind his custom, mahogany, satin covered, waterbed. The bunnies don’t want to go any where.

            Just because someone has the freedom, doesn’t mean it is good for them, healthy for them or that they’d want to trade safety & security for a shorter, scarier life span. Criminals will commit crimes to get 3 pots (food) and a cot (shelter & a place to stay). Some animals are domesticated and have lost the ability to survive in the wild.

          • As a vegan and pre-vet grad; I honestly don’t see anything wrong with having domesticated pets. I feel that it would be cruel to do otherwise. We have put many animals in a very vulnerable state with our desire to breed certain qualities such as docility, color or size. My incubation lab always received eggs from local hatcheries for the large poultry producers that always resulted in huge chicks that were built to grow rapidly. Even the ones that were hatched by the free range hens refused to groom themselves, flee from the unknown or display any curiosity. They just knocked the other chicks out of the way when it was time to eat and grew until their breasts dragged the ground causing their legs to bow. 2 generations later and their offspring still exhibited the same behaviors. I know that that was an extreme example but imagine tossing these chickens out into the wild or a yorkie/English bulldog/teacup whatever. It would be cruel. We need to deal with these “creations” of ours but breeding restrictions might be a viable option.

      • Eggs are full of cholesterol and salmonella that’s why I don’t eat them

        • Lamont Cranston says:

          Salmonella in eggs is on the shell, not the inside, and we need cholesterol for brain function.

          • Eliot W. Collins says:

            I never heard of a cholesterol deficiency even among strict vegans.

    • I’m pretty sure sanctuaries feed the eggs back to the chickens. (see Farm Sanctuary’s response here: http://farmsanctuary.typepad.com/making_hay/2009/07/what-about-eggs.html) Because chickens have been bred to produce an egg a day they lose too much calcium and it is actually detrimental to their health! Feeding the eggs back to them helps protect their bones. You shouldn’t eat the eggs because they need them more than you!

    • Hi Eric!

      For what it’s worth, I’m in the same boat as you–my neighbors have rescue chickens that they adopted from a shelter, and the hens produce far more eggs than they (both my neighbors and the chickens) can consume. I feel comfortable eating these eggs because it falls within my own ethical standards, which is to eat a diet that comes from as little suffering as possible. But I bet if you asked 100 vegetarians, you’d get 100 different answers and justifications! At the end of the day, it’s what *you* feel comfortable with, and I believe that any decision made with reflection and loving kindness is the right one.

  34. Wonderful post, Matt, thank you. I’ve been vegan for 2 1/2 years now as well, but I went from omnivore to vegan in just a few days. I just decided to stop eating animal products and did it. The first and probably only time in my life that I ever went through with anything that thorouhly.

    A few months later I started running, in part also to show my family and friends that I could do it. It shut some of them up when I finished my first 5 and 10k races. 😉

    I still struggle with the jokes, depending on who makes them and in what sort of group I am. But there are also a lot of great (omnivore) friends who accommodate my choices and cook vegan meals with me.

    I’m looking forward to your book!

  35. Melanie Gulliver says:

    Can I ask why you think making small allowances is such a BAD thing? I do it.. I eat vegan at home 5 days of the week.. I’d love to eat vegan ALL the time.. BUT, when I am one of only 3 people I know who are vegan around me, and when I live in a country like France which hardly knows what vegan is, and when I want to actually socialise with other friends, I DECIDED that I wasn’t going to get too ‘uppity’ about cheese, and yoghurt, and fish, and even some meat.. so that I can still be seen (I hope) as a person who fits in when I need to.. and I really don’t think that a couple of animal protein meals a week are going to have a serious effect on my overall health.. I’m more concerned about ensuring I eat organic.. that is also something that I have to let go of at times in other people’s houses..

    • Melanie-
      Yours is the most common sense thing I’ve read in a long time!
      Imagine if everyone on the planet went even 80% vegan and didn’t beat themselves up that they weren’t 100% (whatever that means, as there are obviously different philosophies)!
      I’ve heard of a recent movement, “Vegan until 4pm” that I think is fantastic; what a difference it could make if we didn’t expect anyone (ourselves included) to have to be “pure”
      I applaud your attitude!

    • Melanie-

      I guess your decision or apparent conflict with being 100% vegan or not is personal. Because it
      depends on why you’re vegan in the first place. For me, it’s because I know its wrong to abuse
      and torment and slaughter enslaved living beings purely for taste,convenience , laziness, ignorance,
      fashion or whatever else. Humans are not meant to eat animals and there’s a lot of obvious facts on that.
      So if you CHOOSE to do it because everybody else does (whom are in the dark about a lot of things) thats just weird to me. I will never participate in this fucked up “habit” we’ve all fallen into without a second thought about what has to happen in order for us to fill our greedy habits.

  36. Michelle Black Lewis says:

    GREAT read! I’ve been V for 7mnths. All of this is SO true for me! Thanks:)

  37. Matt, like the other commenters, thanks for this post! My husband and I are the only plant-based eaters in our extended families, and we feel a lot of pressure to eat “normally” to not make a scene. He’s more open to eating what everyone else is to “go with the flow,” but I’d prefer to eat selectively, since I know how I feel afterward. Our families just don’t quite get it, and since they’re not adventurous eaters, I feel pressured to cook “normal” food when they come over for dinner for birthdays, etc. I’ve come to the point where I don’t even want to handle meat anymore and hate having cheese in the house for just one recipe since the rest will eventually be thrown away. What’s everyone’s go-to meal for serving non-plant-eaters? Most of our family would run screaming from kale or beans.

  38. I agree with a lot of that! Except the cheese – I’ve never been fond of melted cheese and when we had pizza night growing up, I’d put as little as possible on my pizza (for some reason, my step mom ingrained in me that pizza needed cheese…I know better now!). I love posting pictures if my latest meal on instagram and FB. I started doing that to show my friends and family that a vegan doesn’t just eat plain house salads (I can’t stand those at restaurants, they’re too boring lol). I’ve had a lot of recipe requests and noticed more of my friends are making healthier and fitter choices. Although “it needs bacon” has now become the running joke with my friends regarding my food pictures. I think it’s absolutely hilarious and can’t wait to see what meat-joke lands in the comments 🙂
    As for being weird, I’m already there. I’m a vegan country gal who loves steampunk, masquerade balls, reading and drawing sci-fi, driving big trucks and riding a motorcycle. I even wear boots and plaid on my motorcycle. And now I’m adding fitness nut into the mix.
    Like you, I did research before I jumped headlong from being vegetarian for 21 years to now being vegan for a year and a half. It was an easy transition for me, since I realized I never bought real-dairy products anymore and I was leaning farther and farther from eggs. I even went cold-turkey on caffeine 3 months ago…and I don’t miss it. I quit alcohol, too, but since my beer intake equaled a bottle a month, that was hardly a stretch for me.
    I’m lucky in that I don’t have (nor am I inclined to have) a significant other to argue about duets with. I do plenty of that with my family who are concerned about my health, but they don’t see me often enough to realize how far along I am on thus journey of health and fitness. They think it’s a passing fad and that cutting out the pleasurable foods and drinks in life is a terrible decision. But the things I can do with kale, sweet potatoes, or quinoa are so pleasurable to me, I don’t think twice!
    I know diet is a huge, and rather touchy subject, and making the leap to being vegan can be a daunting task, but there is so much to be gained, and so much good food to explore. I’ve noticed, as you have, that vegans take to adventurous meals with gusto, whereas the meat-and-potatoes type stick to their meat and potatoes. There’s only one thing I hope to encourage my followers on instagram and FB, and that is to play with their food! 🙂

  39. A friend of my linked this to me and I am so happy she did. I am in the beginning of my vegan Lifestyle. Started in January 2013 – and can regocnize almost all of what you have written. It has been very interesting and heart warming (!!) to see whom is making sure to support me on my journey! Totally agree as well on the fact that you educate yourself about food and now I am making sure to get as much organic I possible can. But thank you for sharing your wise Words! And so happy I found your website. Many hugs from Ghana!

  40. Jessica Putt says:

    I love this post! I agree with alot of what you have to say. I have been a vegetarian for over 3 years now with months at a time being vegan but daisy is my weakness. I always go back to it mainly for convenience but I never feel as healthy when I am eating it. I know I will kick it once again but like you said you just have to make that decision. You are abosolutely right the jokes never end just this morning I recieved an E-card from a friend making a joke about being vegan. Its all in good fun though. I agree about not being pushy I only feel the need to explain my dietary choices when someone asks other than that I usually keep my opinions to myself. I believe people should do whats best for them not because of what someone else says or does. I have found who my supporters are and who arent and the ones that do support I find are more open minded in all aspects of life. Those that arent supportive I believe are comfortable in their way of life and dont like change, but thats fine, thats their choice. The things that I have learned over the years through personal research and my own experiences I have found have really impacted those closest to me. I have many friends and family members that have made changes to their diets and I am thankful to have been able to impact their lives for the better. Thank you for all your posts, you are a great inspiration especially for someone just starting a running journey. Congrats also on completing such a huge goal of 100 miles. -Jess

  41. Thanks for another great post! I chuckled at #4…I was just saying this to someone the other day!

    When I went Vegan (or I say adopting a Vegan diet – not lifestyle) it was because I heard it would greatly improve my running/recovery. I felt the results immediately! And then other things started happening. I no longer needed to run with my asthma inhaler, the digestive issues decreased dramatically as well as my allergies, I felt light on my feet, my recovery times were immediate, my back pains – gone! I had been struggling for years with digestive issues. I couldn’t eat a lot of things, one of them hot sauce, which is now a staple for me. Avocados gave me terrible gas…not any more! I realized that dairy and eggs were the main source of all my issues.
    I’ve never felt better since switching to a Vegan diet, and I continue to maintain that diet because I can’t imagine going back to feeling like crap all the time. I can’t believe I lived with ailments for so long and didn’t know it was just in the food I was eating.
    p.s. It’s hard not to have cheese once in a while! It’s my weakness! =)

    • Eliot W. Collins says:

      Just think of cheese as an addictive hunk of concentrated milk fat with a lot of sodium. Hope that helps.

      • Mmmm….milk fat LOL. I’m visual so I think I need to see a big hunk of mildewed cheese (or something) to keep me away.

  42. Thank you for sharing all of your insights. I have only been a vegetarian for a short time. Like you in the past, I have been going back and forth about being vegan. Because you are a non-preachy and non-pushy vegan, you are helping me towards that decision. That was something that I never want to be. I do not think that I am quite ready yet, but I am sure that I will get there. It helps me to have you blogs to learn.

  43. I love the article although I am not vegan, just vegetarian, but even being vegetaraian makes my family look at me sort of like I’m an anomaly so I could relate a little. I don’t like meat or fish, never have. I think I could give up cheese, but I’m not sure about eggs. Actually, maybe I could, I don’t eat either that often.

  44. love this list! My two hardest are the jokes and the one-pot dinners. I’m so glad I’m not alone! And, i do doubly appreciate my friends who make sure there’s food for me!

  45. What are your thoughts concerning the inability to get B12 naturally on a vegan diet? It’s necessary for the body but a vegan diet only seems to get B12 through fortified foods and supplements. Also, what about grains? It seems that a vegan diet relies on a lot of grains (bread, pasta, cereal, etc.). Recent research and acknowledgement of our anthropological history point to the idea that our bodies were not mean to process grains (especially gluten-based ones).

  46. I think I like the term plant based diet more than vegan. I’m in process of transitioning as well and doing a bad job. I chose a recipe the other day from a veg cookbook and it tasted like shit. I’m not a very good cook. But having said that not going back to eating meat. I need more variety that’s for sure…

  47. I still haven’t gone Vegan (may never). But I have been cutting back my dairy intake significantly lately. Over time a lot of my wife and I’s’ go-to easy to make things contained cheese. One day I realized we were having cheese in our meals several days a week I decided it was time to cut back. Not missing it terribly either. Oh, and I will say Amy’s makes a mean vegan pizza, only sad part is it’s super expensive for the size.

  48. With all the resources at my fingertips, I too, have lost the desire to prepare and cook meals. I follow alot of the vegan websites, pinterest, and the vegan twitter accounts too, but I don’t know what to fix my wife and I. I feel stuck preparing the same few dishes everytime.

  49. Hey Jennifer. You made some pretty good points, which I can really relate to. I have been Vegan for the past month and I feel so much better. It was pleasantly surprising to read your blog, I now feel even stronger in my quest. Any recommendations on the best way to stay vegan while traveling to Europe?

  50. I especially like your point about it being a big deal. I can struggle with this one, and I can trip myself up about whether someone will accept my invitation for a vegan meal, or whether I should suggest an all-vegan restaurant for a group of omnivores, when really, it is not my job to protect them or make assumptions for them. What’s weird is that all of us have become so comfortable and non-questioning about being served food in all kinds of environments without having any idea what we’re being served. Now, THAT is weird. But alas I certainly didn’t stop to think about what I actually eat for most of my life, so others are often responding in ways that feel totally reasonable to them and within their scope of life experience. Thanks for a really thoughtful post.

  51. Matt – as always, a wonderful piece and you hit on so many important points. As a vegan (and a vegan chef & instructor), I cook for and teach people who are on all parts of this spectrum. One thing that I’ve found that’s important to others on the journey is that they seem to want feel less alone. While there are so many vegans (and vegetarians) and the numbers are growing, its often within our own families and social circles that we feel most alone. Connecting with others to hear that they too, struggle with the jokes and questions, being ostracized and having personal challenges and dilemmas with this path they have chosen are all important things to share and think about. Thank you for being an important voice in “veganville” for so many people. Kudos to your commitment, courage and sense of humor.

  52. Heather Jade says:

    I’ve been vegetarian for a while. Been eating fish, but giving that up soon too. I wasn’t eating cheese or dairy for a year or so, then started eating it again recently, lot’s of it… cheese and yogurt mostly. I also wasn’t eating wheat for a long time, now do occasionally… I believe that wheat is unhealthy. I feel like a little kid who was denied candy so long that just one piece led to a constant desire for more, making it a daily food item and even staple.

    I feel that organic dairy obtained in a caring way from the cows/goats is not unhealthy, the same for eggs. The thing is that it IS strange to do… and I wonder how “ethical” we can really be about it, even we are trying our best in every way, not just for the animals, but for the environment.

    I may continue to eat eggs, but will likely be giving up dairy again soon. I might still eat some local goat and sheep milk products… It is difficult when I live in an area full of local farms, farmer’s markets, and friends and boyfriend eat cheese often… Where does your “strength” come from for turning down these things? I used to have it and have since lost it. I think I need help learning to combine foods and eat correctly to feel and be healthy. I was lacking something when I cut out animal products all together before and it led to just over eating the things I did eat and pouring oil and nuts on everything… eating tons of veggies and beans… I had more digestive problems then than I do now eating more cheese and things… maybe it was the fiber?

    Sorry for the inconsistent ramble, I think I just needed to let that out somewhere that people might understand. ; )

  53. Great post Matt! This truly is how it goes when you choose this lifestyle. I wouldn’t do it any other way. On a side note, dropping cheese was really hard for me. Once I got past that the rest was easy.

  54. Thanks for sharing your intelligent thoughts! your analysis is equally valid in Spain.
    My path to vegan was a little different. Over one year or so I stopped eating milk, butter, and cheese, anything sweet, and pork. By the second year I had also cut out meat, eggs and most fishes (large ones). I stayed practically vegan during almost two years. Now I combine a vegan diet with small fishes sometimes, or clamps, shrimps. I found the biggest impact in my wellbeing to be the sugar and milk/butter/cheese.

    Great blog!

  55. Any vegan lady athletes out there have trouble around their period?

    I’ve been running since I was 8 and have never had cramping around my period until I became vegan. I had no problems while training for and competing in triathlons and half marathons as a vegetarian for the past 6 years, but whenever I go vegan the cramps come.

    I just had a bad cramping experience during my last race and am feeling discouraged. I have an appointment set for some blood work, but wanted to see if you all had any ideas about what I might be missing that I can try now.

  56. Swimbikerun says:

    Ok, this has been enlightening for me.

    I do eat poultry, honey & eggs. However, trying to live as much a vegetarian life as possible around that, I am grateful for the suggestions made here. These comments make it much more helpful to eat a healthier lifestyle and get what I can from the ideas here. More so is the support of living a lifestyle that doesn’t center around McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and … whatever the alternatives are. LOL. I haven’t eaten fast food or what the equivalent is now for about 20 months. I also don’t do sodas but drink water or vitamin/mineral type of waters. I do some sips of apple juice now and then and some coffee in the same way.

    So I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who, although I don’t lead the lives you do, you all have still helped and supported in living a much healthier and cleaner lifestyle. Even if people aren’t vegan or vegetarian, my suggestion to everyone is to work on supporting people for at least not eating fast food and its ilk every day and eat vegetables now and then. Even one day without meet is possible. That doesn’t mean cheese pizza for lunch and dinner either.

    I think that sort of help would probably be greatly appreciated by a lot of people who want to lose weight, get healthier, are concerned over the environement &/or animals. Even a little bit helps.



  57. Gene Sacks says:


    Great web site and great information. I went Vegan 11 mod ago in preparing for a 300 mile bike ride through the Negev desert in Israel. Have been biking a great deal in the MTS of Colorado and have lost 25 lbs, feel great. I am not philosophically wed to Veganism, have read the books and seen the videos, and now have added fresh salmon to my diet as I see advantages to the added healthy protein. All my best, Gene Sacks

  58. Roz Brown says:

    I totally relate to what you are saying. This path I have taken has saved my life. I love telling the story how I became a vegan, but I won’t here. I am a diabetic type II. I was on insulin, and three other oral medications. Now after four months I am off insulin and only take one med a day and as a bonus lost 17 pounds to date. My daughter is the one that guided me and still does, to go vegan. It works for me and will be a life long path I will take. I am learning everyday. I stopped telling people I am vegan, I just let them notice the changes and when they ask what I have done as I look amazing (LOL) their words, then I tell them my story. My sister while visiting ate what I ate and commented she felt better. But no commitment to change. I have learned that if you show by example, more people will make a conscious effort to at least think about it.

  59. Excellent post! Word for word, what you wrote is completely true to my own experience.

  60. One thing missing from the post is the environmental effects of the meat based food economy.

    Water use – 2400 gallons to grow one pound of meat, 10 gallons to grow one pound of produce
    Carbon footprint – It varies, but animal food production, especially beef products, have about twenty times the carbon foot print to grow the equivalent amount of produce.
    Land use – over 70% of the world’s food producing lands are used for animal food production. This includes areas used to grow supporting crops, namely grains.

    Animal food production and consumption is a very unsustainable system. Animal foods are the easy way to produce calories, not the best.

  61. This is a fantastic post! Enough said.

  62. Your points had me laughing with recognition.

    All right on, in my experience. Embracing my inner weirdness has been an unexpected “benefit” of becoming vegan. In my case, I became vegan in the same year (2010) I took up ultramarathoning–not sure now which weirdness caused the other.

    Love your blog, by the way.

  63. Wow! Every point felt like it was coming directly from my own mouth. I have been Vegan for 5 years and still relate to each of these issues. A fantastic article for everyone to read but I’m not entirely sure people will really understand it until they have been Vegan for a while.

  64. Great blog, I am a professional athlete myself, and I follow your regularly. Keep up the good work!

  65. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I don’t find eating out and being vegan difficult. I’m also gluten free. Granted, I eat a lot of salads and usually have to order appetizers as main dishes. I do have to do a lot of calling ahead and asking questions. If I’m tossed into a situation where I don’t know the menu (and it isn’t Mexican place) I eat a salad. Italian is the only time I have an issue and I’m Italian. 😉

  66. just went vegan this month after being vegetarian for a while and i am going through the exact same things ;A; especially the jokes and hunger pangs for more food

  67. This blog was spot on! I was THE baker. If it was a cake, cheesecake, pie, bread then everyone looked to me to for that little slice of happiness. The first thing that anyone said upon hearing that I’d ‘gone vegan’ was “So…can I have your stand mixer? It’s not like you need it anymore”. Really people?! One even asked for my cookware since I “only eat salad and beans” now. I made a killer mac and cheese. No seriously it had 3 cheeses, heavy cream and chicken stock. It was so good that I could stop time…or your heart with it. Some things are just better non-vegan. I don’t like the vegan remakes of cheesecake and a few other things so I just cut those out entirely.

    On weekends I have fun days and try some of the more processed things. I’ve got a large amount of people(Vegan/Non-Vegan) hooked on the vegan crab cakes at WholeFoods.

    I remember visiting some family and friends who were still skeptical about my choice. They asked about the health benefits. I didn’t want to be “that militant vegan” and gave them an example that they might relate to. One of the things that I really love is the fact that I don’t feel like taking a nap right after a meal (we call it “the itis”) We began to eat (I’d brought mine with me and went into the room to work on the computer) and I overheard one say to another “You went a little heavy on the meat tonight.” Another called me back in there when she noticed that a couple of them didn’t have the energy to do anything aside from sit there. That’s when we had the real discussion and I was glad to answer anything that they genuinely wanted to know about. Ethics weren’t a huge issue for them but health concerns had them questioning a lot of what they had been doing.

    I went to college for pre-veterinary medicine and was prepared to work with run of the mill cats and dogs. Boy was a wrong. We took lectures and labs on farm animals. Horses, cattle, poultry, goats and swine. We raised them, breed them, vaccinated them, sterilized the males and even slaughtered the “food” animals. I didn’t make it through the first slaughter and thought of all of the burgers out there…and my brand new calf-skin wallet. That was NOT what I’d put in 4 years of study to do! My beef instructor (Yes the class was called “Beef” not Cattle or Bovine management) assigned a paper on general meat preservation. He actually smiled when I turned in a paper on carbon monoxide use to make meat look fresh even when it wasn’t. Going to the meat department is like going to a little cemetery with see-through coffin lids complete with a gassy embalmed body parts. Does anyone know if the FDA ever did anything about that? Hmm, I’ll have to look that up after I post.

  68. I started going vegan a little over a month now, but I’ve been vegetarian for quite some time and honestly, I love the jokes but not so much the really weird questions (while I was ordering food one day someone said: “wow! You’re vegetarian? So do you eat turkey?”
    Most of the jokes make my day because they keep me laughing and wondering about everyone’s views of vegans or vegetarians. By far, my favorite was when a relative visited and ordered food for the family and said: “I have chicken and fish for the fam, and I brought extra napkins for you”
    Weird but funny. 🙂

  69. dave knappett says:

    I started to eat an animal free diet for two health reasons.
    1. Mine.
    2. The animals’.

  70. Interesting, partly for the American idea of English (traditionally and where I come from, the past of ‘fit’ is ‘fitted’, and ‘impact’ as verb remains as inelegant as ever in its short newfangled life: I prefer ‘affect’). But more importantly, there are distinct parallels in your account with learning to become celibate. The difference is that I seriously doubt that I could ever become vegan — and even less that I would ever like it. Perhaps becoming celibate is sacrifice enough for me. I don’t need yet another arena of asceticism. Eggs and cheese are two of the greatest gifts ever given to mankind, in my view. (And milk, though I hate the taste of it plain, is important as an ingredient in any number of baked dishes and breads.) I also really like plain yoghurt mixed with my own choice of heated, juicy fruit. Dairy foods are part of what make life enjoyable. But I’m talking like a sex person to a celibate, aren’t I? And I know what the celibate’s answer is : )

  71. About a year ago I decided to start on the long road to eating healthier and becoming vegan. I can say from personal experience that this list is so true. Making healthy choices is especially hard as a college student, where it seems like everyone around me is not making healthy choices.
    I specifically want to comment on number six in the article. Number six talks about how vegans are known as being “skinny and weak”. It is hard for me to break that stereotype when it fits me perfectly. I have always had a very high metabolism, and have never been much into strength training, so most of my life I have been skinny and lacking upper body strength. I have never been at an unhealthy weight, just skinny. I am also a runner. Adding running to someone who already has a hard time keeping weight on makes it hard to eat enough food. I managed to do ok until I started to become vegan. My journey to becoming vegan has made it even harder to consume enough calories. Relying on college eating options (I live in the dormitory), it is hard to find healthy vegan items besides fruits and vegetables. Because of this, I often simply don’t consume enough calories in a day. Not having enough calories has made it very hard to continue training as a runner.
    To keep this post short (or shorter than it already is), I simply want to say that I am inspired by reading about you choosing not to fit the stereotype of being a “skinny and weak” vegan. I hope to find ways that I can eat a plant-based diet and still consume enough food to help give me strength to become a better runner.

    • heatherjade says:

      I run for fun and exercise, so I am not sure if you have a more complicated thing going on here and I am sure that you run A LOT more than I do (maybe a mile at a time most days of the week so far). I love running, and I love eating… most of my diet is vegan and I eat too many calories, mostly in the form of oils and nuts or nut butters. Coconut oil is excellent, having ground pumpkin, sesame, hemp, and flax seeds in the fridge is too. Soak some raw nuts, they are easier to digest and chew soaked. Use nut butters of your choice, high in calories, vegan (read ingredients to avoid added sugar/oils if you don’t want them). Again, you may be burning a ton more calories than I can understand right now… I’ve been vegetarian for two years and am still transitioning to “vegan”, working on ditching eggs and fish now. I found that I gained weight when I cut out animals and most animal products… maybe it’s all the oils and nuts ; ) Good luck!

  72. Vic Nicholls says:

    Just saw the post about B12. I have gone B12 low, anemia, Vitamin K low, zinc, at various times. I still eat clean as much as possible. I’m still healthier than I would be otherwise. The other thing I have been doing is using Vega. Used to use Garden of Life. That’s not a “I’m a sales person” just what I do.


  73. Elsje Massyn says:

    I first became pescatarian, then vegetarian and thanks to the information that was posted on Facebook about cruelty against farm animals, the fur-trade (dogs, cats & other animals) etc. I switched to veganism and I am not looking back. My husband followed not long after that – the same sequence – Pescatarian/Vegetarian/Vegan. This has isolated us from real staunch meat-eaters and yes the teasing that goes with it, but it also sparked the interest of so many others that have crossed our path (even some family members are beginning to look at food differently after 5 years of checking us out). Today I look at cheese and think of the cruelty against calfs separated from their mothers and sold off for veal and their mothers having to endure rape-racks season after season. When I look at eggs – I see battery hens cooped up in tiny cages, and their chicks being grinded while still alive and used for dog-food.

    I dont care if people love me or hate me for my decision to be a VEGAN. I am the one who has to live with my conscience. My life has become simpler. We make meals in under 30 mins and bargain shop at fruit and vegetable stores for special prices on fruit and veggies.

    We found out that you can make bread, cake, muffins & almost any other sweet food by replacing sugar with dates and replace the use of eggs by using bananas and apple mouse as binding factor.

    We save on dish washing liquid as we don’t have to struggle to clean greasy pots and pans stained with animal fat anymore.

    I have cats and even the fleas stopped biting me, maybe because I dont eat animal flesh & blood anymore, he he.

    No who says being a Vegan is not exciting!!

  74. Elsje Massyn says:

    Matt – I have just 5 minutes ago received a message from a VEGAN hater who told me to go and hang myself – animals were made for eating!!

    So we live a dangerous life and many peace-makers are killed because they are just that: peace-makers. Ghandi was killed and so was Martin-Luther-King. If Mandela plight for freedom and peace caused him jail-time for 27 years.

    So yes – many meat-eaters are blood-thirsty and will kill to protect their habit and trade.

    Its nice not to make waves and cause a stir about being a VEGAN, but many times we will have to jump in and intervene and save an innocent animal from the human claws of an animal abuser.

  75. jay ben says:

    This whole thing is sad, im a vegan BY BIRTH, not by choice, do you understand that, if humans stopped eating meat, the worlds population would decrease cos first off many would strave, you need to do studies into ecology and farmland, much farmland cannot be developed, and ecologically, many natural habitats, preserved for the use of using animals for the purpose of sustenance would cease to exists, it would revolved around 20% of humans left, eating gmo, factory farm sources of plant protein, this is absolute fact…..there is not enough natural developed farmland available, with the correct, climates, nutrient rich soil and predictable weather patterns to ensure even those lastly 20% of humans surviving, and before you give me a study of some aborigines that lived off berrys and the bark of trees till 75yos, they might have but their nutrient depleted offspring wont last long….and their offspring definitely wont…..

    Eating meat is not bad, as I said im a vegan by birth, I detest animal protein in any form, eggs cheese meat, fish YUCK I hate it all, does that mean im better than you? Or saving the planet? NO, And neither are you by denying your body what it wants, and is crying out for, when you say, oh i really love meat, oh I felt so much better eating tuna, fish, meat, eggs, then listen to your body, im not a vegan through ethical choices, shit my ethics are low, I might just kill and eat my neighbour if nothing else suffices (half kidding), but yes plz follow your body,

  76. Leslie Ackerman says:

    Food is killing me. I really do not know what to eat. My body wants something with sugar or protein I think. I know it hates red meat but some vegetables I can not longer eat like broccoli to beans. So if I went Vegan I really do not know how to start. You all are all right what they do to animals are cruel. The Tyson plant in Plymouth NC makes the whole take smell like sulfur when we passed by. I have stuff animals of every species on my desk. Cheese though yeah is my draw back is their an easy step by step way to ease in to vegan . You know are Vegan cookbook for dummies you can buy at a store or can you suggest a book I can find something I could start on
    My body is always covered in hives and all the doctors do is medicate me. I want a new me! Thank you Leslie Ackerman Ps I love your blog!!!

  77. Hello,

    Please hear me out and try not to cringe.

    I loooove meat. Chicken, pork, bacon, all of it. I was raised eating it, and pretty much everyone in my family eats it as well. It never occurred to me that there was something bad about eating meat or killing animals for food…if we could kill fish for sport, hunting, etc, why not for food? Animals in the wild kill and inflict pain on other animals for food….so what’s the big deal? Or so I thought until I read this blog and all of your comments.

    As I type this, I am a meat eater. However, I have always been grossed out by meat on a bone, veins, etc. and have been told that I waste food for these reasons. For the most part, my diet consists of chicken, turkey, and fish in forms that I can’t see all of the gross clues that it actually was alive i.e. Nuggets and such. However, I have been considering a healthier lifestyle, and crave more variety in my meals. I have been experimenting with limiting my meat per meal and increasing the vegetables. This has certainly made me feel generally better, but I have also limited fried foods, starchy foods, etc. I am not sure how I will ever make the big leap, but everything you all have shared about your food choices is inspiring and helpful. Your comments are so uplifting and positive…i don’t really see any meat eater bashing, and for someone who is considering the transition, it’s nice not to have to also feel bad about your previous choices.

    This blog just made me feel so much better about my decisions to change the way I eat. Little by little, I now know I can enjoy a meal without meat.

    • For you it may be incredibly hard to quit meat permanently; however, you can definitely come to significantly reducing the amount you eat by as much as 90-95% for a lifetime; however, it may not be possible to quit 100% for the entire duration of your life (your brain will eventually defeat your will).

      From a biopsychosocial perspective, it is clear that you have been raised socially and biologically to become a meat-eating machine. The human brain adapts to the lifesstyle we are exposed to as we are growing up; your very neurons and synapses have meat written all over them. Synapses are ultimately responsible for human behavior. As we grow up, some synapses form and survive, while others die. For example: a person exposed to eating meat and consuming alcohol while growing up will develop synaptic connections to neurons about meat and alcohol, but if that person was never exposed to vegetables while growing up, then that person’s brain will turn the person into a meat-eating machine and a potential lifelong drunk, but also a vegetable hater. Your neurons (brain cells) last a lifetime (unless you get i.e. schizophrenia). Whatever neurons and synaptic connections you developed while growing up, will last you a lifetime.

      But, it is possible to develop new synaptic connections (i.e. by becoming vegan), but this will mean having to fight your very own brain chemistry! It will be a very tough battle. It is not an impossible battle, but it is very difficult (i.e. addicts of alcohol/smoking/drugs/food).

      I have a degree in psychology and biology, and I have studied eating from a a biology and psychology literature, so based on what I have learned I have to tell you that it will be an incredible challenge for you to go against your very neurons and synapses, but you can do it, w/ a very strong will.

      In contrast to you, I grew up w/ a diet high in carbs and very low in meat+dairy+eggs, and very low on lots of other things. I went vegan two weeks ago and so far it is easy, but of course, only time will tell how long I can keep it up until I fall for a nice piece of fried chicken or fried shrimps from Popeyes :), or a non-vegetarian pizza. I love carbs! I became vegan because I love carbs to death and rarely (if ever) desire meat/dairy/eggs, but also equally because of humanitarian reasons (watched many documentaries).

      I love carbs, but it actually is possible to quit eating what you love. I did the ketogenic diet for two years (you eat < or = 30 net carbs/day, can eat anything else, but I kept it low-cal) and it worked for me, and I lost over 100lbs of fat and got super fit, but eventually I decided I was physically/emotionally/psychologically ready to love carbs again :). Few years later I am now 21lbs fat again and I am now on my new and improved: low-carb-low-cal vegan diet 🙂 (<=500cal/day; only eat fruits/vegetables/almond milk/water/and powder zero-cal sodas). I have 5 weeks left (started a week ago). I love carbs and although it was hard to stop eating the carbs, I did it, and in 5 weeks I'll be done. After I am done, I'll go eat lots of carbs again :). Being vegan is easy for me due to my brain chemistry that resulted from my upbringing. Did I mentioned how much I love carbs?

      Anyway, the point is this: it IS possible for you, a meat-lover machine, to significantly reduce your meat consumption, however, it may not be possible to quit 100% over a lifetime. In the best case scenario you may be able to quit 90-95%, but that 5% will remain (i.e. you will not be able to resist eating meat on a few occasions, but you will not love it as much anymore). You may be able to quit 100% for a few months or a couple years for a couple years, but eventually your biology will win (your neurons and synapses were exposed to meat for too long, making permanent-lifelong-connections).

      Anyway: you can do it! But, it will be a huge challenge to go against your very own brain chemistry. It WILL be a lifelong war.

      • Is that the same across the board with habits instilled from childhood.. that really sucks for society as a whole and the increasing number of lazy and or bad parents with terrible lifestyle choices and how that will effect future generations… kinda sucks hearing that as at a few months short of 30 im STILL battling to be my true self rather than the bad habits accumulated from being raised poorly.. but i guess thats why so many people suffer from anxiety depression and all sorts of mood disorders these days

  78. What a great blog Matt and something I can really relate to after becoming vegan recently. And I love your humour about it all and the typical things that people say and how they view it all. As for me, I just feel alot more liberated, confident and happy since I made the change, but my son is an avid meat eater who is finding it hard when eating my meals! However the good thing is that he knows where I’m coming from and that’s good enough for me at the moment.
    Like you, I don’t want to preach and just get on with it, trying to eat in a balanced way with a variety of foods. And yes it was harder to give up the (goats) cheese, but I got there in the end substituting with nuts and (humous) dips etc.
    Overall it’s been quite a journey and an interesting one at that. I’m still learning and hope to be able to make an array of gorgeous vegan meals in the near future, even though I’m not a fan of cooking! But I’ll never go back that’s for sure, and reading all that harrowing info about factory farming on websites such as Raw and Compassion in World Farming makes me more determined and happy that I made that transition.

  79. Great article, thanks for writing it.

    However, I am hugely disappointed that you never mentioned anything about how animal suffering. You probably do not care at all about animal suffering; if you did, it would have been absolutely obvious even from just one line.

    Good article.

    I want to add my two cents:

    I grew up w/ a diet high in carbs, but low in meat, dairy, and eggs. I decided to become vegetarian two weeks ago. So far it’s really easy.

    The point is – upbringing and culture can have a tremendous impact on – your eating habits; even the research supports my claim. So – for anyone reading this comment – when you have kids and you want them to remain vegetarian as adults, you educate them early!

    • Thank you for mentioning this.

      My complete (and only) reason to stop supporting corporate Centralized Animal Feeding Organizations and corporate farms with my dollars is that animals suffer.

      There are plenty of health-related reasons to switch in the context of most folks not really trying to learn about the foods they take in to begin with (in other words, they’re eating junk in the meat world, just like they could eat Oreos and candy in the vegan world just the same). The fact that a lot of meat happens to basically BE junk food is somewhat arbitrary. The fact that animals suffer is the ONLY important reason, for me, to approach a vegan diet.

      I still will support local/grass-feeding/small farms. But the price ($8/lb instead of $2/lb) for well-treated animal products is cost prohibitive. It’s not practical, economically. So I won’t be doing it much.

  80. Hey,

    I will never give up running! Is there still a chance for me to gain weight?

  81. Rune Heggedal says:

    Why should we need to put a name on everything? Vegan,vegetarian, who cares? I live on a vegetarian diet, but I don’t call myself vegetarian. If I invite my friends over i make some plant based food of course, and I expect them to at least try it. But, I also eat whatever is put on my plate when a friend invites me over to his/her place. To me, that’s the least I can do when someone welcomes me to their home and shares their food. Be thankful for every gift that life gives you; a smile, a friendship, good company..
    Instead of building a wall, build a bridge.
    In time, people will turn. Have a little fatih 🙂

  82. Marian Lorrison says:

    Not sure if you’re all still writing and commenting on this blog but as a recent convert (6 weeks vegan following six months vegetarian) I am desperate for some nutritional reassurance. I’m feeling physically pretty lousy, losing my oomph and battling one virus after another. I’m really careful to eat vast quantities of leafy greens (fortunately I love them), beans etc- am including nuts, coconut milk etc and still feel lousy. I am desperately hoping I will be able to continue my vegan lifestyle as I absolutely love it and feel its an ethical/spiritual/emotional commitment I am utterly committed to. Any advice?

    • Hey Marian,

      I just hit the one year mark on 9/16. I went through a period where I was working a lot and my habits became quite poor. I tend to supplement (B-12 etc.) instead of focusing on fortified foods and long story short suffered from a severe B-12 deficiency and developed cluster headaches. As you can see one small thing can quickly spiral out of control.
      It may simply be the result of your transition to a much less calorie dense lifestyle. It looks like you have the right idea for protein but you might want to go through an average day and count your calories at the end. You can then go from there and add accordingly. I’m a huge fan of sweet potatoes.
      Good Luck!

  83. armadillo17 says:

    To those of you “passing out” and “feeling weak” I have a couple suggestions, which might help:
    1. For protein and energy I find that sprouts give me a terrific lift. I used to go to a farmers market in LA where 8-10 different varieties of sprouts were available. Here in Chicago the choices are more limited, but keep looking wherever you are. The energy and protein payoff is tremendous. And you don’t need dead animals to get it.
    2. You might look into nutritional yeast. This used to be called Brewer’s Yeast and is available for relatively low cost in any health food store (I got like a 6-month supply for about $25). You get your B-12, some protein and a host of other vitamins and minerals. You can dump it into soups, sprinkle it on salads, throw it in shakes, and it has a pleasant, tart taste.
    3. Dare I say that some of our “carvings” for animal foods are more emotional than nutritional? You only need about 1/4 gram of protein a day for each pound of body weight. So if you’re a woman who weighs, say 135 lbs, 35-40 grams of protein a day—easily attainable from veggie sources—is plenty. The only long term concern is vitamin B12 and you can get that from yeast, marine algae supplements and other sources. Omega 3s are in flaxseed, walnuts, etc. So what is really going on here? We have powerful emotional ties to traditional ways of eating. I think when we cave to those impulses it is easier to think it is our bodies talking. I congratulate everyone here for making a difficult and challenging choice! The road to real change, it seems, is never smooth.

  84. Hey I’m not a vegan nor a vegetarian. I’m guilty of being one of those jokers. I’m really glad I read this post. My brother in law and and my wife’s sister are both now vegan. Of course I’m a glutton and pig out on any meat I can find. They would both do the same before. I guess it’s hard for me to think about never eating meat again because I feel like a meal is not complete without it. It’s funny though I can make a steak dinner and eat all the veggies first because they taste so good. I’m always bugging them about the whole no meat thing. Honestly I never thought bout how it would make them feel. I am consciously going to try to change my ways on that after reading this. So I thank you for opening up my eyes on my rudeness. I actually found this post by googling vegan meals that I can make because I really love cooking and I want to challenge myself by having them over for a totally vegan meal. We have gone to totally vegan restaurants with them and honestly I wa not impressed with the meals. Not because there was no meat but because I feel they tried to hard to make stuff seem like meat that it took away from the natural flavors of the food. Am I wrong about this? Is there any recipes that anyone can suggest that are yummy for all. I do enjoy the cauliflower Alfredo sauce.

  85. I’ve been incorporating more plant-based food into my diet in the past few months. I cut my meat and diary consumption by about half. I’m doing it for a number of reasons, mainly environmental and world hunger related (it’s also healthier and I’m pretty adventurous with food)

    Problem is: I don’t have such a high income, and I like my food as uncomplicated as possible. I live alone, and I don’t eat much, so I can’t exactly stockpile, and I’m no kitchen miracle either. I find it easiest to have a meat-replacement that I can put in a pan like a piece of meat, and the regular old veggies and potatoes along with it.

    I have found an excellent vegan webshop in my country which allowed me to replace cheese, coffee creamer and meat.

    I doubt I will ever go full-on vegan, but I feel pretty good about at least reducing the amount of animal products I use. It’s a point of confusion for people around me, and I get the idea some worry I will become a ‘preachy’ type, but eh. It’s a good filter for people with an allergy for simply trying something different to make a difference.

  86. I read this thing over ten times now. it really helped. it really made more sense than anything else I have read. im glad im not alone.

  87. Humans eating meat is normal and natural, our dentition is proof of that. We developed our cranial capacity due to the cooking and consumption of meat. Just be thankful your ancestors did, or you wouldn’t be able to debate it today – instead you’d still be picking nuts and berries off the trees in the forest and cowering in fear from its predators.

    • Veganism isn’t about not eating meat, I think of it more as a protest to the factory farming processes. If all animals were allowed to happily roam until a time they were slaughtered I actually wouldnt have a problem with eating it. But the practices used are actually disgusting. Look into battery hens for an example.

    • Meat does not require cooking for its benefits on the brain.. there are many animals that ARE carnivores and require meat in their diets to sustain them (felines) and omnivores that eat primarily meat diets (canines) plus a multitude more i dont see them gaining self awareness and knowledge yet it supports their brain function as it does ours yet our brains capacity is different.. we as humans were not naturally carnivores thats what we evolved into due to our own influence and effect on our own diets hence why we have an appendix.. cows have 2 stomachs and they DO NOT eat meat.. many cultures that are not western have not been bred carnivorism into their diets they are raised on and flourish on vegetarian to vegan diets depending on manh factors but the key factor being religion.. maybe you were bred to be a carnivorejust because its natural to you does not make it natural to humans as a whole

  88. I went vegan four years ago my health has improved a lot blood pressure dropped
    I lost 40 lbs so I feel great!

  89. Erica Jack says:

    Thanks for this blog. I love it! I’ve been thinking about going vegan on and off for the past 6 months. Tonight I decided I’m going to go for it. I don’t know any vegans personally and I don’t expect it to be easy, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and lifestyle change. This blog is a great heads up. It’s great to read the ccomments also and find out how many people are vegan.

  90. Jennifer says:

    I am having some digestive issues with meat and especially milk now. I’ve never been a milk lover, only in cereal and yogurt but lately I cannot even choke it down. Meat is becoming a issue for me too. Not because I want to save all the animals in the world (I do love animals) but because of digestive issues.
    Please help anyone

    • Jennifer try cutting out all dairy, meats and processed foods for 3 days and if you enjoy the difference in how you feel then continue the path of nature’s perfect diet which will keep you healthy with an enormous abundance of energy. I highly recommend the Jack la Lane juicer ($30 on Craigslist or your local thrift shop). Start juicing fruits and vegetables daily. Start buying organic vegan food and watch how amazing you will look and feel within a short span. Read Doctor Norman Walker books as they are very eye opening and best wishes!

  91. Thankyou very much for writing this article, answered a lot of questions I’ve had about going vegan, which is my eventual goal after I get vegetarian sorted. 🙂

  92. I became a Vegetarian many years ago when I was just 14 years old. Two years ago, I decided that I would begin the steps towards becoming Vegan. I say “steps” because it really is a slow process, giving up the dairy that so many of us are used to consuming everyday. I had given up milk at age 14 but it was the cheese & scrabbled eggs that had held me back. What I did was watch a million of those horrible videos online, showing how the poor animals are really treated, & that did the trick. I gave up scrabbled eggs easily after watching those little chickens suffer in those battery cases. Then I watched a dairy video where the mama cow gave birth. Within an hour of her giving birth, the farmer came & took her baby from her. The mama cow chased after the farmer, trying to get her baby back. That ripped my heart out because I felt her suffering. She’d never know her child now & I could see it in her big beautiful eyes, the extreme suffering of the loss of her child. Dairy Cows have no one to love them. They are used for their milk, then killed for their meat. That mama cow only wanted someone to love her & that little someone who would of completely loved her, was taken away from her. No one there to help her get the baby back. Boy, that was it for me. I gave up cheese that day. That video truly made me hate dairy farmers & showed me how completely “greedy” & cruel those men & women really are. And how completely cruel people who still eat the flesh of cows really are. I no longer crave red meat but I have noticed that when I have Vegan lunch meats like Vegan Turkey, my body seems happier once I taste it. I think this is because we humans, have been so imprinted with meat flavors from birth, that our brains really do crave it. It’s kind of like what an alcoholic goes through. Take away the bad stuff, but the brain craves it back. “Meat” is bad for us. It causes cancer in some people. Cow Milk is super bad for us, because it causes high cholesterol in humans. With all of the great non dairy milk replacement products out there, there really is no reason why we should ever drink “real” milk again. Silk Brand Soy Milk Light is one of the best products on the market today. Not only is this soy milk pure white when poured, but the flavor is much better tasting then real milk. Silk Brand has also put out a line of soy yogurts in the grocery stores. They have (4) flavors & although it doesn’t taste like “real” yogurt, it works. I think most people would become, or at least consider becoming, Vegetarian or Vegan if the products we have to eat weren’t so expensive. The grocery store near me is notorious for marking up those Vegan products, they’d rather we eat cheap junk food then healthy items. Being a full Vegan can be very, very pricey so if you’re considering go full Vegan, you need to have a solid income to cover your large monthly food bill. I am able to control any kind of “meat craving” by eating piled high Vegan/ Veggie Burgers & Veggie Hotdogs. Once you have a really good Veggie burger or Vegan hotdog, with the works on it, you won’t want to eat animal based burgers or hotdogs ever again. It’s all about trial & error in finding the most tastiest Vegan food, in order to fully convert to a cruelty-free lifestyle. Being Vegan is not about just eating plants & veggies. It’s about eating in such a way that makes you feel good about yourself & the other creatures we share our World with. Becoming Vegetarian or Vegan is one of the most “selfless” things a human can do. It shows you have a huge heart for those that suffer. It shows you have the “gift of compassion” from God. It shows that you have life “figured out” & have become a more “enlightened soul” then any of the rest of the humans around you. I think Vegetarians/ Vegans are hand picked by a higher power, that we’re somehow more special then others because we do see the suffering of animals & we know it’s not right that these poor, helpless creatures are tortured, their fur ripped off such as those poor, precious Angora Bunnies in China, their happiness stolen from them such as the Poor Mama Cow in California, & so many others that just want the basic right to life, just like the rest of us.

  93. AnnaLouise Brunton says:

    This has been my favourite blog post about veganism. It’s refreshing to know there are vegans like you out there x much love.

  94. I recently went raw vegan (18 days now) for health and beauty reasons. I went from periodically eating pizza and everything with animal fat to a 95% plant based diet. I still want to eat one slice of spinach, tomato, mushroom pizza with a salad and a Coke once a month because after tasting and hating vegan pizza I figured it can’t really hurt to give my tastebuds that enjoyment. My acne and fat belly issue is decreasing and I am feeling the joy. However, I believe that God made some animals for food and others for pets so I don’t subscribe nor ride the PETA bandwagon. I’ve known people who eat meat, smoke cigars and drink coffee into their 80’s and 90’s and die happy, so not every meat eater is suffering or at a severe risk of a deadly disease but I do believe that a plant based diet does yield a better quality of life free of most pain and severe health risks. I am a 44 year old male, 5’4″ and was 183 lbs overweight. I am now at 165 and my goal is to get to be between 115-130 lbs, free of acne and with a flat stomach so I can continue enjoying pizza once a month.

  95. I am having a hard time not being the preachy type of vegan because it hurts me so much to think about people eating cruelty products. I feel like people would opt not to eat products that meant someone or some animal suffered tremendously in order for them to eat it. But people don’t want to know. They want to remain ignorant and it drives me crazy. I know that being a quiet vegan might be more effective, and sometimes I do it that way, but sometimes I just want to shake people! I want to show them what had to happen so they could eat that chicken on their healthy salad or the cheese on their broccoli….

  96. I love number 10 haha.
    I wish I knew how to communicate better before I went vegan. There are a lot of things I say differently now than I did at the beginning of this journey.

  97. Love this post so so true!
    We initially went organic and GMO free after the birth of our first child. Then we just kind of evolved into vegetarians and in the last 12 months into full vegans. Its funny how it can all just go like that isn’t it? We also ditched the microwave a while back, growing all our own veggies, cutting back on consumerism, ditched the social media and so on. The funny thing is EVERYONE comes to our place now for meals because they love our animal free cooking. And it really has inspired a few of our peeps to start a few meat free nights.
    Happy cows for all! =)

  98. This is one of the best articles I have read. This perfectly describes my life as a vegan. And your last point of getting weird killed me. It’s so true!! Ugh all of it is so true – too funny. I easily fit in the group of people who discovered their passion for cooking when I went vegan. I love it! Thanks for this article, I definitely need to share this with my friends.

  99. stephen kent comer says:

    Everyone has an opinion on Vitamin B12. No one is quoting research.

  100. This is a website with a lot of nutritional information. It has helped me tons on my journey.

    I am only on day 3. I was diagnosed with PKD (polycystic kidney disease) 10 years ago. PKD is whrn your kidneys develop multiple cysts inside and out, until eventually they cause the kidneys to fail due to the cysts taking over. There is no cure, dialysis and transplant are the only treatment. I only found out because one of the cysts on my kidneys is so big that you can feel it on the upper right side of my abdomen. My kidneys are still functioning without any problems, but my doctor told me I have a few years before they’ll start failing. She said once they start it will only take 3-4 years before I’ll need dyalasis and a transplant. I started researching what that meant and what I was facing… I decided that I don’t want that future, I decided that I’m taking my health into my own hands. Doctors don’t tell you to do anything different, they only treat the problem when it happens. I starting researching how to heal my body. I came across a website dedicated to PKD and PLD (polycystic liver disease). She talked about an alkaline diet. Basically there is a pH level for all foods, your body takes all the alkilinity and acidic foods and turns them alkaline. Your blood needs to maintain a pH of 7.3 ish. Feeding your body acidic foods will cause it to have to work too hard to maintain alkalinity. Foods like meat, dairy, caffeine, sugar, processed foods, alcohol, and many more are highly acidic for your body. Surprisingly enough, lemons and other citrus fruits are the most alkalining. It’s not how acidic a food is uneatten, it’s how your body matabolizes it. I decided that this made a lot of sense. The whole, you are what you eat saying makes a ton of sense now.
    I may not have come down this road for the same reasons, but researching about meat and how the animals are treated, what they feed them, and all the hormones they put in them is a real eye opener.
    I can’t have a lot of foods, no meat, dairy, gluten, peanuts, tomatoes, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, soy, very little salt and more… I already feel great, it is going to be a challenge being a working Mom, but I will get through it. I’m learning more about beans, grains and nuts than I ever knew. Like the phytic acid in them and how soaking them releases this acid that blocks your absorbtion of their nutrients. By soaking them properly your body absorbs about 50% more.
    I haven’t had any problems yet, I don’t miss all the stuff yet and it has yet to look appitizing. I’m sure I’ll run into multiple challenges and am not looking forward to my first awkward conversation. I keep rehearsing how to turn down food… lol I’m not eating to indulge anymore, I’m eating to give my body what it needs. Dont get me wrong, I love to cook so I’ve been making some yummy (one dish) dishes. It just feels different. After I enjoy it, I’m full and safisfied like I’ve never been before! It’s a big change, but I wish I would have done it sooner. I hope to live a clean life and shrink my kidneys back to the size they’re supposed to be and never have them fail. I finally feel like a future without kidney failure is possible. I feel great!

  101. Great post! I have very recently decided to make the switch to vegan and am hoping that it will work out. currently taking it one day at a time. I was wondering if you could recommend any good vegan recipe sites? I am in the process of making a shopping list for the essentials and was wondering if you have any recommendations for that either? Whilst I do enjoy veg and the fresh feeling vegan eating is leaving me with, I would like to try and get as much variety into my diet as possible.

  102. zumayna Ebrahim says:

    Im not hungry and have no appetite now that im vegan but ive experienced that when I get hungry Im so weak, dizzy im also nauseas and feel I have a need for something solid like normal bread with jam, I dont crave meats and I was a meat eater before I became vegan but mind you it was the easiest think to cut out!so does anybody have advice for me please

  103. Rochelle says:

    I’ve been vegan for two weeks now and I feel great! I’ve not craved meat or dairy at all and I really don’t miss it. My energy level is way better and I don’t plan ever going back to meat. I’m trying to go strictly plant based of course with fake meat but that’s it. I’m more of a relaxed vegan as well but when my parents roll their eyes when I eat my fake meat and tell me I should go eat real meat I didn’t really care at first but when they kept saying it day after day I find it hard to hold back. It really bothers me when people say we need meat to survive when we really don’t…

  104. Sheridan says:

    3 isn’t true if you know where all the Asian and Indian/Pakistani markets are 😉
    Look into ’em!

  105. i have nothing against vegans i have even had quite a few vegan dishes over my years that i have enjoyed most of them but im surly not going to stop eating meat i dont have an issue on doing meals for a few of my mates that are vegan my only beef with some vegans is the ones that are ready to criticize us that choose to eat meat and other animal products i dont believe that is right i usually avoid the topic like the plague but there is a number of vegans now on facebook (and other places) that seam to be actively looking for an argument over how eating meat is cruel etc

    and yes i know you can either stock up on vitamin supplements or eat a lot of green veg and other veg for the supplements etc but for it to be a proper quantity for what you need sometimes its just impractical to me and i like meat anyway and that’s my choice

    sorry guys bit of a rant and only came across this post looking for reputable info on dietary needs for the choice because of someone calling me out and saying how bad of a person i am for not being a vegan as i really can’t be bothered with typing up an essay over this subject and im a bit offended in there way of pushing things onto me

  106. I literally cried while reading this. It’s all so true.

  107. I love number 10!! It is so true. Doing something so different really changes you for the better. Becoming vegan opened up a whole new world for me.

  108. I just turned vegan 2 days ago and I feel so good about my decision.I must say though, it is hard because all the other members of my family are not vegan.Most of my friends are judging me for what I decided and are not supportive at all. I tried to make them see why I chose to change my lifestyle but the just don’t get it…Anyways, I hope things will be better in the future! Your article is amazing,so helpful and relatable,it almost made me emotional.Thanks for posting.xx

  109. Hi Everyone!

    So as of last night I had made my decision to go vegan. I watched this incredibly amazing speech on YouTube and I’m never touching animal products again. I’m in my early teen years so it’s harder to just eat a plant based diet around my family who loves meat. Can anyone give me any tips? Also, right now I’m with my grandmother who puts meat products in every single meal, and if I don’t eat her food she’ll feel bad. Thanks!

  110. Marcy Mary says:

    Love the blog. I am recently vegan and your story resonates for sure. I have always wanted to go vegan from being a mostly vegetarian, but really did not think I could give up the dairy. Then I found the Banana Girl On youtube. I took her advise for the first week of my vegan diet and since have been tweaking it to fit my own needs. Anyway, now I am pretty sure this is not going to be hard at all. I ordered my first cheese-less pizza a few days ago and because the place i ordered has amazing crust, well seasoned veggies and plenty of olive oil, it was just as good as with cheese, NO LIE.. I live in Texas and do not have any close friends that eat this way and yes they all make fun of me, but I feel really good about this choice and hope what you say is true, that I might influence others without being preachy. Take care and look me up. I put pictures of my vegan meals on Facebook as Marcy Marcy and Instagram as Walking.My.Dog! Another think I am giving up is leather handbags.

  111. Collette says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I just stumbled onto your blog & I really appreciate your honesty & insight. I had wanted to be vegetarian from about birth, but my parents weren’t supportive, so I spent many long nights at the dinner table alone in front of cold meat that I’d “dissected” (in the words of my mother) & rejected & was told I couldn’t get up. I finally learned to eat some meat to avoid family feuds & unwanted attention at holiday gatherings. I even came to enjoy some. However, I also always wanted to be an environmental scientist as a kid (another conviction my parents scoffed at) & last autumn, I watched several documentaries on the environmental impact of meat production that really struck me. I had always felt an aversion to meat on the cruelty front, then I felt it on the environmental & resource management front. I expanded my research to include the humans negatively affected by the meat interest & it sealed the deal. I begged my carnivorous boyfriend to review my research as well &, with surprising conviction, he became an instantaneous vegan. We still struggle with dairy products, especially when we’re trying to eat out, but the conversion is nearly complete.
    The part of your post that most resonated with me was the “you will become weirder” portion. I had to smile. We are currently looking for an old farm house & barn where we could take in some rescue farm animals. Our family currently consists of 3 cats & a dog, all rescues, & we have a lot more room in our hearts to spoil other species as well. I’ve even been looking at my purchasing habits, from produce to clothing, & try to make them mindful & in keeping with our values, now that we have clarified them better & acted on them. I’d love to outfit a future home with a geothermal loop, some solar power, & a rain catchment system for the organic garden. We are certainly “weird” but we’re weird in a compassionate way that feels right in our souls.
    I had to laugh at “the jokes will never end” bullet point as well. My brothers are hunters & my friends are committed meat eaters that always make an excuse before eating in front of me & say “don’t judge.” The weird part is: I don’t. I think our food choices should be based on our own convictions & each person should be allowed to come to their own conclusions, but I don’t mention my choices unless asked. When my coworker ordered chicken with me the other day, she added the knee-jerk “don’t judge.” I said, “I don’t. However, I now envision that chicken as an individual with a personality when it’s mentioned & I can’t eat it anymore.” She responded, “Well, I don’t know this chicken.” To which I responded, “Well, I don’t know any Italians but they might be good with garlic.” We both laughed and enjoyed our meal together. I just try to keep it light 🙂
    Thanks again! I don’t know many people in my community that have chosen this path & it’s nice to see some of my thoughts & experiences are more shared than I’d realized!

  112. John Davis says:

    Being vegan hasn’t accomplished anything but making me FAT. I am super strict, and am on high carb low fat. I never eat processed foot, only fruits, vegetables, and seeds. Not even nuts. And I sit here and watch the pounds pile on. I must be insulin resistant. Veganism is NOT for everyone. For some people it really won’t work.

  113. When going vegan do you have to take vitamins?

    • You dont have to. The biggest vitamin your missing out on is b12 which is only found in meat. There are different ways of getting it such as adding a special activated yeast to meals or just taking a b12 tablet 🙂

  114. Some of the points I’d like to touch on that you mentioned include numbers 2, 3 and 6. Giving up cheese has been difficult, and sometimes I wish I could buy goal cheese to have with rosemary crackers and wine, or have a slice of pizza during a social gathering. But, luckily, as our society continues to progress regarding the vegetarian movement (since the 70’s I believe) and plant based diets become less alien and more common, more and more brands are experimenting with vegan cheese alternatives, many of which taste good, but are often high in fat and low in nutrients or protein.
    I have also found that, vegan food tends to be more expensive when it’s the less healthy, good tasting stuff like frozen food (amy’s, daiya pizza, etc.) or vegan meats/cheeses, but are not actually more expensive if you’re buying bulk dried grains or beans. But, the latter takes much more effort to prepare, and is bland tasting without seasonings or sauces.
    Finally, I think for men, being vegan may make it harder to “bulk up” (if that’s something they’re aiming for) on a vegan diet than a diet high in meat. But, I know going vegan has helped with my asthma, food allergies and eczema (all three have mostly disappeared!) and has also helped me become a much faster runner, and be able to handle longer distances without dying short of breath. I am always pleased to find more fellow vegans and vegetarians who are not upfront preachy or overtly radical, but who also do not give up on their beliefs just because of peer pressure. What I find the most frustrating is, when meat eaters or heavy dairy consumers refuse to acknowledge the several ways their economic contributions of the mainstream meat and dairy industries only contribute to climate change, animal cruelty and poverty within third world countries. My favorite of example of this, is explaining how all of the water/land used to grow grain to feed cows in factory farms could be used to grow grain/vegetables to feed starving people in third world countries. I become frustrated when meat eaters turn their heads like I’m crazy when I explain this, because they refuse to see the connection when its so apparent. Anyways, my comment is now starting to sound preachy.
    Thank you for this post.

  115. Seymour zenn says:

    I have been toying with a vegan lifestyle for a while. I have watched several Netflix documentaries on veganism/vegetarianism. I could give up meat I love vegetables I get sick of eggs as long as I could eat potatoes and rice and beans which you can’t on paleo id be in. I love animals and nature and beauty I’m a musician you can’t not. I’ve read some cool posts on here and I’m at the point in my life where I make decisions for me and my conscience and give a rat’s ass for any one who says anything. And as far as peer pressure it’s a bitch sometimes but I quit drinking and smoking 13 years ago and I’ve had a couple beers in that time but over all I’ve been committed and my environment and exposure to that has not changed. I still play in bars I still experience smoking, so it’ll just be like eating the only one who cares if people don’t agree is you.

  116. Markersable says:

    Honestly, it’s hard being a vegan. I love the lifestyle, but life doesn’t make it easy for you. The hidden “animal” ingredients, minimal choices, stores not even having an option for you, looking on the back of something and to your horror…contains milk, eggs, etc. I hope veganism gets to be more popular. As it does, people will be more accommodating. To everyone: the first step is always the hardest. I thought I would never be able to give up dairy, but once I did, it was easy. Now, if I accidentally consume animal products, which WILL happen during your vegan journey, I am mortified.

  117. I need a little help. I really want to be vegan. I’m currently vegaterian but I’m also a recovering bulimic and my head has been really misbehaving. My family are concerned and I Duno if being vegan is somewhat a way of restricting. Does anyone have any advice on how I can beat my demons and help protect animals.

    I did see a dietitian who suggested instead of eating all meat, cut out all products produce by a cow (this is because out of all my reasons for wanting to become vegan, cows are my biggest inspiration. No offence to chickens and pigs) she said this would give me the varsity I need to limit a relapse but help me protect the animals I love most. My only issue with this is that I’d feel like a failure 🙁

  118. I love this!


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