Updated: Mar 3, 2021
I want to start by discussing my journey with food. Up until about three years ago, I ate like the majority of the population. Meaning I ate meat and eggs and cheese. I do not now. Within the past six months, I decided it was time to go vegan, something that I thought I would never do. Even after going vegetarian, I thought going vegan would be too extreme, too complicated. Spoiler: veggies are great, and I was wrong.
Sometime in elementary school, I understood how I was able to enjoy eating a burger. I vividly remember sitting in the local Applebee's with my family and ordering a burger. I remember eating and feeling upset. Upset that my burger was once an animal. That feeling of guilt did not last long because, as a kid, it is hard to understand the unknown. Everyone around me was eating meat so that it justified it in my mind. I was never introduced to being vegetarian or vegan, until much later in life. My sister was the first person I knew to start adopting a vegetarian diet. She is now one of the few vegans I know.
When my younger sister first went vegetarian, I told her you're not going to change anything. I told her you're only one person; you can't make a difference. Yeah, I was a b*tch, an uneducated b*tch. I was completely ignorant of the impact you can make by going vegan. Luckily, I realized how naive I was to believe in the various marketing schemes to make animal products more appealing. If you care about the animals, help them, and go vegan. Thus, my sister's vegetarianism led me to this revelation and to start changing for the better.
If you told me five years ago that I would be vegan and advocating for the environment, I would have never believed you. I never thought my sister going vegetarian would be one of the best things to happen in my life. She educated me and transformed my views and turned my world upside down. Suddenly, I found myself watching documentaries about food and health, about the environment, and about the animals. I won't go into detail in this specific article, but there are so so so many reasons to go vegan. The least you can do is educate yourself and then make a decision. For now, I'm only going to discuss the food reasons here.
First, the ice cream is really, really good. I promise you, and I'm not just saying that. Go out to your local store and get yourself some non-dairy Ben & Jerry's or Haagen-Dazs and. You will not be disappointed. It is amazing. Like, I almost wish it didn't exist because then I would never be tempted. Second, chocolate!! While you're buying your non-dairy ice cream, pick up the Endangered Species Chocolate. They stand for amazing causes, have vegan chocolate, and don't use plastic! If you find a better product than that, let me know (you won't). Third, veggies are good. Like Brussel sprouts? OMG AMAZING. I never knew and never would have tried without going vegan. Same with Kale, have you heard of kale chips? They are incredible. I'm the worst cook, and I can make bomb veggies. Season with olive oil, Adobo, nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, black pepper, oregano, and whatever else you want (garlic is always a good idea). They'll be great every time guaranteed, and you'll suddenly love your veggies.
Going vegan means more veggies and more fruits, meaning (for the most part) eating healthy. You may need to take some supplements, but this based on your diet and the nutrients you're getting. As long as you know what you need to eat, you will be fine. It isn't that bad. One thing I didn't think about was the commitment it would take when eating out, but it's worth it. For example, there can be hidden ingredients in some dishes that are not in the descriptions, like fish sauce. So this is something you want to do your research on if you intend to strictly follow a vegan diet.
Since going vegan, I have tried dishes I never knew even existed. I get to enjoy eating healthy! (Like what???) I feel good about myself and my decisions every single day. I hardly ever feel guilty about what I'm eating, even if it is the occasional treat. Going vegan honestly helped me with my relationship with food. Not to mention I am living my values, so how could I not feel great about that?
Lastly, even though I believe you should totally go vegan, you might disagree. If this is the case, following a vegan lifestyle for a day still has a significant impact. One piece of advice I would offer is that gradual change makes the whole process less scary and more feasible. I never had the intention of going vegan until suddenly I was only eating eggs and store baked goods (which usually are not vegan). Then, I looked into the consequences of going vegan and decided it was the right choice for me.