What To Expect From a Vegan Diet
When I decided to plunge into a Vegan diet, I knew that it was going to require motivation, sacrifice, persistence and commitment. I was raring to go, or so I thought. Here are just a few things I’ve encountered and still deal with on this journey. Some are good and some – not so much…
#1 Glaring Eyes “aka” Utter Confusion:
When you tell people that you’re Vegan, be prepared for the blank stares with heads cocked to one side. These are the same people that struggled with trying to register the thought of you eliminating meat from your diet, but now you’ve gone and threw dairy in the mix. They will either idolize you or feel sorry for what they perceive as self-destructive behavior. Face it – – you’re an anomaly to them, so get use to it.
#2 Always Explaining my Reasons:
This one is subsequent to #1. Your answers will become scripted. Your husband will even interject sometimes and mimic one of the textbook responses that he has heard you recite so many times in his presence. Will you get tired of the questions? Yes. Will you feel like you’re involved in a political debate? Sometimes. Will you wish you were on another planet when the interrogator gives you a full body scan upon learning of your Vegan diet? Absolutely. Will you falter? Never.
#3 Frequent Trips to The Throne:
This is definitely a plus, plus and doesn’t require much explanation. Let’s just say, you’ll have a lot of Dr. Oz-approved moments and never need an Ex-Lax.
#4 Bloating is a Non-issue:
I’ve spent most of my adult life feeling just a little pudgy in my mid-section. I actually did not know what it felt like to not have a little bloat. I thought bloat equaled womanhood. When I started my journey, however, the difference was instantaneous. That little pudginess was diminishing right before my eyes. It was my definition of instant gratification that did not require a scalpel. I’ve even tested its validity. One night, during a momentary dairy-relapse, I had a slice of cheese pizza. The next morning, I was not only slightly nauseous, I looked to be about 4 months preggers with my 3rd baby.
#5 More Energy:
My energy level skyrocketed when I went Vegan. Starting out as a vegetarian, I don’t remember feeling as energetic as I do now. Today, however, I feel physically ageless. If I stay the course and get my sleep, I’m unstoppable.
#6 Spending a lot of Time in the Grocery Store:
I was not prepared for this little nugget. I spent so much of my time in the grocery store that the produce guy knows me. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of worse things. I would hate for the fast-food guy to call out my name when I enter (like “Norm” on an episode of Cheers). Just know that this will get better, easier and faster as you become more vast in your Vegan knowledge. For example, I’ve learned that in order to avoid having to constantly buy fruit for my juicing, I buy a bunch on sale, wash it, chop it up and freeze it for later use.
#7 Some Slip-ups Are Not Worth it:
This one is best explained with a personal story. One day, I was having fun with the hubby and the kiddos on vacation at Downtown Disney on the hottest day ever. I got ahead of my myself, blinded by family bliss and the record temperatures, so I decided to join my husband in an old non-Vegan favorite – – a Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino with, yes whipped cream. Oh, how it felt good going down – almost euphoric. I was truly having a taste bud orgasm. Skip to several hours later… I would have preferred another C-section to the Greek tragedy in the hotel bathroom. I’ll never look at whip cream the same again.
#8 Your Loved Ones will Hold You Accountable (especially your kids):
Once your loved ones are hip to your transitioning Vegan diet, be prepared to get the occasional, “Is that considered Vegan?” question. It happens quite often to me, especially if my precocious 8-year old catches me staring at a piece of non-Vegan cake. If I slip up and take a bite, she’ll ask me if I’m “taking the day off.”
#9 Monkey See, Monkey Do:
You’re a trendsetter when you transition to a Vegan diet. Others will consider joining the ranks and even try it out. Although it’s quite the feat to totally change someone’s mind about meat and animal by-products, most will at the minimum consider eating less of them. Score 1 for being a trendsetter.
#10 It’s a Triathlon, not a 400-meter Race:
This is by far, the biggest and most essential lesson. A dietary and/or lifestyle change of this magnitude requires tenacity, commitment, patience, sacrifice, persistence, motivation, creativity, and the unconditional love of oneself. There will be moments of weakness, slip-ups, and 2nd guessing. That’s all normal and okay. I still struggle with my triggers and probably always will. At the heart of it all, however, I remind myself that I am doing something worth doing. I know that my body appreciates it, the environment benefits from it, and those closest to me will ultimately grow from it.