5 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Going Vegan

So, here’s the deal.  I am a vegan.  There.  I said it.  I can’t take it back now.  Honestly, I’m afraid to tell people because of the backlash that comes with it at times…or maybe it’s the perceived backlash?  Seriously, when out to eat I’m that person that either whispers it to the kind server or tries to concoct something from the menu if I’m not at a vegan friendly restaurant. 

I know I shouldn’t be that way.  I should be happy that I’ve made a choice to stop my consumption of animal products and purchase of goods that contain animal products or were tested on animals.  I did, after all, make this decision for the animals and the planet.  My reason for being vegan is completely ethical.  But honestly, I have a deep-seated fear of judgement.  I’m always afraid someone is going to say something negative (as can happen so very often on the interwebs) and I’ll spend the rest of the night tearing myself apart because I could have said something different to appease all people.  But I know that I can’t.

So…. this is my official coming out blog!

My profession and passion is being a nutritionist.  I do not force my lifestyle on my clients.  I work with my clients and provide recommendations to them within the confines of their comfort area.  No, I don’t see it as a conflict.  Even if I ate pork, I would not push a pork dish on a Muslim client.  I take my approach to being a nutritionist and being a vegan in the same fashion.  If I have a client that is interested in the lifestyle, I openly share with them anything they would like to know.  I don’t force them into being a vegan, though.

Since this is my coming out blog, I wanted to share with you 5 things I wish I had known before becoming a vegan.

1. Apparently, everyone is a nutritionist…who knew?!
M

Now, remember I don’t tell many people what I eat or how I live.  But on the rare occasion that I do, the person on the receiving end puts on their nutritionist hat and goes to town.  Let me be clear…this does not happen every single time.  I’m not stereotyping here.  But it does happen more than it should, in my opinion.  As a nutritionist, I find this comical.  I have people that have read various blogs on the keto or paleo diet telling me how I’m going to waste away to almost nothing because I don’t eat meat.  In case you were wondering, I won’t.  Because I have a fear of conflict, I typically smile, nod, and say something like, “Is that so?”  My passive aggressive side hopes they find out that I am a nutritionist later on.

2.  I would have to defend my protein intake to complete strangers.
M

This could have been wrapped into number 1 but what fun would that be?  If you ask your grandparents or great-grandparents what they used to eat, it would be some sort of meat with a lot of veggies.  Over time, we’ve gone from protein being a side dish to now protein being the main attraction.  I don’t know when this started but it really needs to stop.  We do not need gobs and gobs of protein to survive.  Realistically, we need 0.8-1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight…that’s right…I said KG not LB.  This would be the minimum.  That works out to be about 10-15% of your daily caloric intake coming from protein.  You can bump this up slightly…and some people with health conditions may need more.  So, for the average bear, that’s about 50-70 grams of protein daily.  That is EASILY obtained through plants because…drum roll please…all plants have protein.  Let me say it again….ALL PLANTS HAVE PROTEIN!  If you take nothing else away from this blog, remember that last bit. 

3.  Maybe we have an unhealthy obsession with bacon around these parts.

I see a lot of back and forth on social media when it comes to vegan posts.  There’s the group of vegans defending their choices and the group of meat-eaters defending their choices.  There’s always one or two that throw this out, “But bacon.”  Yes…many think bacon is tasty.  But I’m almost certain the speaker of those word’s life does not revolve around bacon.  I’m even more certain vegans don’t miss bacon.  When they see bacon, they see poor piggy’s that died for the coveted bacon…and that makes us sad.  So, “But bacon” is not a funny retort (cue to backlash I was afraid of). 

M

4.  I would spend more time on Google then I’d care to looking at make-up ingredients.

Being vegan is more than just not consuming animal products.  It’s about not purchasing products that were tested on animals or anything that contains animal products…this includes personal care products.  I’m thankful that a few make-ups lines have come out with vegan products and specifically mark their products as vegan.  This makes my painful trip to Ulta slightly easier.  However, there are so many things that contain animal products or were tested on animals than I ever though before becoming vegan.  Nail polish is a great example…who knew I would need to seek out specific nail polish brands.  And mascara!  It’s gotten easier over time and I am ever so thankful to the blog Gods that have created a few easy blogs for me to peruse so that I can find vegan friendly personal care products.

M 

5.  It was sooooo much easier than I thought it would be.

I thought about being vegan for a good year before actually making the leap.  And during that time, I built up what it would be like in my head.  I thought temptation would be everywhere.  The funny thing is, I’m not really tempted.  It can be annoying having to read the ingredients of any “new” item I want to consume to ensure it doesn’t disagree with my morals, but that’s very short term.  I went vegan overnight…cold-turkey.  I decided I thought about it enough and it was time.  And it’s been a breeze since.  It doesn’t consume my thoughts.  I don’t spend every waking hour thinking about how I can convert my fellow man to veganism (I leave that to those who are not teetering on the edge of a meltdown).  I don’t stay up at night wondering what I’m going to eat tomorrow…how can one have brunch without bacon!  The horror!!! It’s honestly a breeze.  I eat…a lot.  I enjoy brunch.  I have nachos.  I eat pizza.  I’ve even had “hamburger” and it was delightful!  I don't eat those things all the time because it's not really healthy...meat or no meat.  It’s easy.

M

So…there it is.  What did you learn after becoming vegan?

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Sunny Brigham, MS, CNS

I'm Sunny! I'm a board-certified clinical nutritionist with an MS in Clinical Nutrition. I help individuals reduce fatigue, eliminate bloat, and lose weight by healing the digestive tract and balancing hormones. I provide individual and group nutrition consultations nationwide. Join my closed Facebook group today! https://www.facebook.com/groups/140571826548289/

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