Vegetarian- Does not eat meat
Vegan- Does not eat meat, dairy or eggs
In the sixth grade, we had to write a report and do a presentation about our opinion of a controversial topic and I got animal rights. Almost 11 years later and I still remember this damn report because of the things I learned and saw. Kentucky Fried Chicken (a place my family frequents and chicken that I ate) was under attack from P.E.T.A., an animal’s right group, at the time for the inhumane treatment of their chickens. I read horror stories about what Burberry did to the animals that they made products out of. I learned about poaching and hunting laws and all of it horrified me so much so that I have never eaten KFC to this day. I can’t afford Burberry products but if I could I probably wouldn’t be shopping there either. When people tell me that they hunt, I am automatically sickened… and yet I still eat meats and other animal products.
Going vegetarian and maybe even vegan was something that always crossed my mind but, because of what I had been taught in the fitness industry, had never pursued. Getting in your protein is a huge thing in fitness and chicken/turkey was always my cheat to how I got in enough everyday.
I hate chicken though. I like chicken nuggets but those aren’t healthy and I can’t stand having fat or eating the edges of meat (I know, really weird) so most of the meat I bought ended up in the trash. Eggs make me want to gag unless they are in a cake or cookies.
To fill my protein needs, I researched other plant-based ways to get in my protein and complete proteins at that. I found a small mix of things that I could eat a little bit of everyday and still scratch my fitness itch.
So, with all of that mind and all of the research I did in sixth grade, I decided to try and become vegetarian. For my acne’s sake and also for an animal’s sake, I tried my best to be as much of a vegan as I could but I was not perfect… Here’s what happened and what I learned:
1.EVERYTHING has animal products in it
Oh. My. God. Not even joking about this. My first grocery shopping trip as a “vegan” I walked around, picked stuff up and thought, “Surely this can’t have milk or eggs in it” only to discover that 95% of the time it did contain milk or eggs. It blew my mind to think of how much dairy and other animal products I was eating without even knowing. I used to think that I really didn’t have too much dairy in my diet before other than the obvious coffee creamer, cheeses and eggs. Even marshmallows have pig fat in them! Who would have thought…
I learned that my best bet was to go to vegan friendly stores like Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme and Fruitful Yield for the things I couldn’t find at an everyday grocery store.
2. You will fart…a lot
Gross, I know. But very true. Beans happen to be a main source of protein and it’s unavoidable.
3. Your hair and skin will feel AHH-MAZING
Within the first week, my hair became mad soft. We are talking a softness I hadn’t felt with any other moisturizer or hair product. I was touching my hair all day, asking other people to feel my hair, it was great.
My skin broke out really bad the first week and I was pretty disappointed because I was hoping all the veggies and no dairy would help… and then bam. My skin cleared up the second week and I haven’t had any major acne problems since.
4. You will have a great impact on animals and the environment
I went to a website with a simple calculator to tell me how many animals I saved from being vegetarian for one month and here is what I got…
Animal lives saved: 17
Pounds of CO2 not released into the atmosphere: 134
Now, I know this is a basic calculator and is probably based off of how much meat the general population eats but holy cow!
5. If you have vegan/vegetarian friends, they will be your biggest help…
All of my currently vegetarian/vegan friends were the biggest sources of help in the transition for me. They gave me recipes, brought me samples of things along with encouragement. If you know any, use them to lean on.
6. …along with Pinterest
Pinterest has all the recipes! And most of them are very good. To follow my vegan Pinterest board click here!
7. You don’t need that midday cup of coffee anymore
…matter of fact, if you do have that midday cup you will be awake for hours at night. My energy went through the roof.
8. Getting enough protein is not that difficult
Beans. Nutritional yeast. Vegan protein powder. Pea protein. Spiralina. Nuts.
ALL vegan-based proteins. And contrary to popular belief, there are complete protein options for vegans!
Eating a vegetarian/attempted vegan diet was definitely a growing experience. I learned a lot about food and how certain foods effect my body along with the world and environment. I got the chance to take a walk in someone else’s shoes and gained a new respect for people that are vegan because, let me tell you, it is not an easy task.