|Salad with romaine lettuce, hummus dressing, Morning Star nuggets, & fresh dill.|
What have I learned this year?
- It's not like you lose your vegan status if you mess up. Even though it might seem like it online, there really aren't any vegan police. You'll learn as you go and trying your best to be vegan is still doing a hell of a lot better than all of the standard American dieters out there.
- Not to get worked up about mistakes. Go out to eat and your only option is salad? But you forgot to ask for no croutons because the brand of croutons you buy are vegan and it doesn't occur to you that every other freaking crouton on the planet has milk in it, until it shows up on your plate.
- There are animal products in everything. Legit, just when you think you've got it all figured out, you'll come across some stupid loaf of bread with an egg wash on top.
- Produce can be coated in shellac (not vegan, bug stuff). And you get all these people online saying, just go to the farmers market, they don't coat their stuff because it's fresh. Okay, maybe that works in California where you can grow shit year round, but here in the Midwest, we only have farmers markets like four months of the year.
- When in doubt, just don't eat it. At a family gathering and there's a tray of cookies? Just don't think about them, you know there's egg in there.
- Food is fun! I look forward to every meal now. I can't wait to try something new. I love cooking different things.
- Speaking of trying new things: I try new things! I don't get afraid of something I've never had. I'll retry something I know I didn't like last time. I am way more open to different flavors. I love trying new recipes and figuring out creative ways to veganize things.
- In the rural place I live, nobody knows what the hell vegan is. Even my dad still gets confused. Went to a restaurant just a couple weeks ago, asked the waitress if there was milk or egg in the fried pickle breading, she told me they came out of a bag... lady, that's not helpful and doesn't answer the question... I really question how people with allergies survive eating out.
- There are different levels of vegan. Some people won't even eat a vegan thing fried in the same oil as a non -vegan thing. That blows my mind. These people must never go out to eat.
- Check all the labels. See a snack you really want, you never know! Check the label. And when you already assume it's not vegan, but it actually ends up to be okay, you'll be even more excited!
- Buy any new vegan products you see. At the store and there's a new vegan hot dog? Buy it. Even if you're not super excited about just another veggie dog, you still want to show there's a demand for vegan stuff. Also, if there's a new vegan item you super love, buy all of the boxes on the shelf because it might not be there next week. :( Like our favorite teriyaki tofu from Aldi. :(
- When in doubt, french fries. But even check those too! Frozen Rally's brand fries are not vegan.
- Vegan ice cream is just as freaking delicious as dairy ice cream. Yes, it gets more expensive, not gonna lie, but ice cream is supposed to be a treat anyway, right?
- Being vegan can be super cheap. Some of the cheapest items ever are vegan (think rice and beans). But if you get into the fancy stuff (vegan dairy products first come to mind), it can be a little more expensive. Like my husband says anytime we go to the grocery store together, "why is all the healthy stuff cheaper than the junk food?!" Good question, dear, good question.
- I actually pay attention to nutrition now. I know what vitamins and minerals I typically miss out on and how to fix that. I take a multivitamin plus extras like calcium and omegas. I've taken a multi before, but never did I actually care or know what I was lacking.
- Being vegan really is easy until you try to go out for dinner. Seriously, going out to eat can be a pain in the ass. For this reason, I always try to figure out where we're going beforehand and get online to find their ingredients or allergen menus so I can decide what I'm having ahead of time.
- Finding vegan makeup isn't hard, a lot of brands have vegan sections on their websites these days. You can't just shop for the hell of it as much though (which I've been trying to avoid anyway).
- Avoiding leather is easy when you're a cheapskate and only buy $20 purses.
- I own way too many lip balms. I still have non-vegan ones that I'm trying to get through. Lip balm can be a tough one, so many have beeswax, then just when you think you're clear, you'll find one with lanolin!
- I'm very lucky to have an accommodating family. My sister has been vegetarian for a few years now. And my mom even went vegetarian just recently! So when we have family gatherings, things are really easy for me. I don't have anyone trying to force me to eat something I don't want to, everyone's very supportive (at least to my face ha).