Sunday Reflection: Yep, I’m Vegan (Gasp!)

You’re WHAT?

“Are you crazy?”

“Are you starving?”

“You’re WHAT?”

This is the reaction I often get when I tell friends, family or strangers that I’m now vegan.

I did not tell them that I’m dying or living in Antarctica, as the reactions may suggest.

In case you’re unfamiliar, vegan basically means that you avoid food that comes from animals. So, I don’t eat meat, butter, eggs, milk or fish.

***

I became vegan when my roommate made the switch for health reasons. She has a condition where eating anything from animals makes her sick. If she keeps eating that food, she could eventually develop cancer.

For five months, she avoided the diet change because, like most people, she thought maybe should would rather die than eat cardboard the rest of her life.

So we did it together. Five months in, we’re still alive! And to be honest, my body feels better.

***

I think even more interesting than the actual diet change itself has been witnessing people’s reactions. Sometimes I think about throwing some meat back into my diet, but then I think about all the fun comments I wouldn’t get anymore. And I think about all the interesting conversations I’d miss out on.

I’ve been amazed at how people freak out when I turn down meat in front of them. They proceed to justify their own meat consumption. And I proceed to tell them that I don’t think they’re bad people and that they should relax and eat their meat.

Truly, I don’t judge non-vegans. I can’t even say my way of eating is best for everyone. It just makes my body feel better so I keep doing it.

I also get questions like, “Can you eat sugar?” (yes) or comments like, “Oh wait, you can’t have gluten” (actually I can; gluten isn’t an animal by-product).

People also will break down and tell me about their struggles with eating well, or ask me how they can be eating better.

It’s kind of funny to me because veganism does not necessarily equal healthy! Oreos and sour patch kids are vegan (and I take advantage of that fact).

I’m finding that this choice that felt so insignificant to other people has actually impacted others more than it has me. I mean, yes, my life changed a lot in certain ways, but it wouldn’t feel like a big deal if it wasn’t for these other conversations.

Some people I know have been inspired to eat healthier, or to cut out certain things that their bodies don’t like. Again, I can’t say that veganism is right for other people, but I’m still glad that other people are trying to do what is best for them.

***

How about you? Have you ever made a lifestyle change that has impacted others more than you expected?

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9 Comments

  1. I've been off and on vegan but generally try to stay away from dairy all the time. It really is interesting how people feel the need to defend their own animal product eating choices to me though, when frankly people can do whatever they want!
    xx
    http://thescreensiren.com
    Stella & Dot giveaway on the blog

  2. In Kansas, not as much where I live, people think being Vegan is like voodoo. It's ridiculous and they are so small minded. I think vegan is actually really awesome and I am super happy that you wrote about it!

  3. I think the assumption that eating vegetarian and vegan is always healthy is so funny as well! I have a friend who gave up all meat and actually gained weight because she started eating a TON of bread and pasta, instead of fruits, veggies, and beans! I am not a vegetarian, but I gave up red meat a long time ago, this affect people more than I realized. I was happy to just skip that part of a meal if I was eating at someones house but they didn't seem to think that was okay!

  4. love this! I'm trying to move towards being a vegan. I've cut out most by-products for the most part with the exception of eating an egg in the morning. oops 🙂

  5. Good for you! I think the whole "my body feels better" is the best rationale for veganism. I have to say though, not all vegans are quite as rational. One girl I know said she doesn't eat honey because it makes her feel bad that the bees worked for it. I bit my tongue to keep from bringing up the laborers & immigrants that work to harvest all her vegetables! But good for you for doing what's best for you and not sounding so silly about it. I'm not a vegan but I respect anyone with that much discipline! xx

    Allie @ callmesassafras.wordpress.com

  6. I applaud your step towards better health! Although I do have to admit that my brother and sister in law are vegans and I felt sort of like a cannibal eating meat in front of them…things like eating Kabobs and them only eating veggies-and me quietly saying "Can I have more meat…" "what?" "Can I have more meat…" "what?!" "CAN I HAVE MORE MEAT!!" then glancing at them with embarrassment. I can relate though, as I exercise regularly, and enjoy it, which also emits feelings of inadequacy from others. Excuses of "I can't exercise, I don't have time." I can't exercise, it's too hard." It's almost as though they think I just started clucking my tongue at them chastising them for not exercising! LOL!
    Anway, people are funny that way!
    I'm trying to start eating clean, hard for me! I love "bad" foods too much! =)
    Natasha
    A Modest Fashion Blog:
    http://www.natashaatkerson.blogspot.com

  7. Everyone makes choices about their diet that no one else could possibly fathom. If someone says they don't like something you love, you say "what?! how is that possible, it's the best!" So the reactions seem pretty standard. But as far as I'm concerned, what is an oreo without milk?

    Chic on the Cheap

  8. Yay! I've been vegan for 4 years and I absolutely love it! Yes, you do have to watch your carb intake (which includes fruit too) but it's a fun challenge and always awesome when you meet other vegans:) Plenty of vegan options in LA, I'm sure Denver too!

    Boho Bunnie