A few years ago, tell someone you’re vegan and they’d probably respond with hostility. The death of your borderline-obsessive halloumi habit would have been mourned with sighs and perhaps even condolences.
After only 10 weeks of being vegan, I can already see why vegans have more chances of being complimented than said to be congratulated. Plant-based diets are more popular than ever, so vegans are far more likely to get compliments than being commiserated.
It’s true that I was skeptical at first. It was no surprise that I became interested in Veganuary during my parmesan cravings and dreams about pizza (as you can see, I have a special relationship with cheese).
While I once thought I wouldn’t last a day (Day 1 of Veganuary was obviously New Year’s Day, and my hungover self really wanted doughnuts), I’m now totally plant-based for 10 weeks, and I don’t think I will go back.
Here’s what I mean.
The positive changes I’ve noticed in such a short period of time have been enough to keep me going even though I’m not quite an evangelical vegan – I don’t photograph my meals and I don’t mention ‘I *3 vegetables’ on my dating app biography.
Sure, there are a few non-vegan foods I find myself yearning for (no prizes for guessing what they are), but overall, I feel far better mentally and physically after becoming vegan.
The advantages of veganism extend beyond ethical and environmental concerns. Numerous studies have documented how veganism lowers cardiovascular disease risks and protects you against diabetes.
Having gone cold turkey (and meatless) recently, I’ll share a few observations.
My yoga obsession has turned me into a radioactive unicorn
No sarcasm there, but perhaps this would have been something I’d say last year, when vegan friends raved about the perks of chickpea pasta, while my cheeseburger indulgence was in full swing.
The discovery of yoga has, however, turned out to be a life-changing experience for me. As I mentioned before, I have not reached quite the enlightened spiritual level that the vegan yogi stereotype would suggest – I don’t say “om” or “namaste” or sweat coconut water, but I enjoy a slower, more mindful approach to exercising that is also tailored to my relationship with food.
The classical definition of yoga contains the key component of restraint known as “ahimsa,” which translates to “compassion” in Hindu and Buddhist traditions.
There’s something wrong with my digestion
Due to an increase in fiber consumption, vegans have good gut health. As a result, inflammation levels may fall and digestion may improve. I have noticed this as well.
It doesn’t matter if I eat no more or no fewer calories than before, I find that almost every meal I consume takes me approximately one hour to digest – regardless of how quickly I consume it or how greedily I consume it. In addition, quickly rebounding from the odd occasion when I overate (because vegans are also people), I was back to normal within a couple of days.
I used to feel awful for rising the next day after eating a large meal the night before, but now, it’s as though I never ate it.
Plus, I rarely feel bloated, which means that even gluttonous days will see my high-waisted jeans through with a fully zipped, buttoned front.
My energy level has increased
However, your legs seem to be tired all the time, aren’t they? All non-vegans have said this to every vegan.
No, not really. As a wayward 23-year-old, I am, I must admit that should I have had a late night out until 4 am, I might feel sleepy the next day, regardless of my diet.
My energy levels are higher now than they were when I stuffed myself full of meat and cheese.
Getting in the habit of waking up before my alarm is also one of the benefits of eating vegan. I no longer get that 4 pm slump after too many cappuccinos, and I rarely fall asleep early during the night. Tell me, I can roar!
The condition of my skin has improved
When I returned from vacation after six weeks as a vegan, I was receptive to the idea, but I wasn’t convinced until three colleagues complimented my “glowing” skin after I returned to work after my holiday in the US.
I behaved like a smug, spotless vixen for the next week, no exceptions.
‘The vegan way’ has taught me to indulge
My favorite foods are hummus, pitta bread, and peanut butter – how can I resist you? Here are some ways I can help.
Chocolate made with raw vegan ingredients… You’re my favorite too, but your price means retailers are taking advantage of “vulnerable” and “hungry” vegans who should know better.
Having been vegan for just a few weeks, I quickly learned that there are ways to eat some plant-based treats without succumbing to the inflated price tags and easily accessible junk food staples that are vegan.
If you consume vegan foods in moderation, you can indulge without breaking the bank or the waistline.
So, if you have recently gone vegan and are feeling judged, scorned, or pushed aside by people who do not understand veganism (and I have experienced this quite often), remember that your identity is not determined by your diet – and thank goodness for that.