One of the first times I was introduced to veganism is when I stumbled upon a content creator by the name of Freelee the Banana Girl. If you’re familiar with the content of the stuff she very openly states and shares online and has been doing for a while now, you know that her ideology is a bit…Out there.
She’s very passionate, I’ll give her that, but she puts down everyone who isn’t capable or simply does not want to go vegan. I was very young but I remember being quite fascinated by her videos because I’d never seen someone so loud about transitioning to veganism before.
And long story short, she really inspired me. I wanted to try it out, and I did – so I’ll tell you all you have to know about this rigid yet fun diet, so you’d know what you’re getting yourself into.
Here’s a little intro from me, just so you know who’s typing behind the screen.
I was vegan for about 6/7 months, and although I felt great, I also felt terrible. And I wasn’t one of those vegan folks who’d only consume fries and other quick and effortless vegan meals – I genuinely put effort.
However, I ultimately found out that keeping it at 70%/30% works best for me! 70% of my meals are vegan, and 30% are not.
Do I think veganism works for everyone? No. Do I think it’s a sustainable diet? Yes and no, depends. But luckily, we have all the info we need online, which will all be included in this blog. If you’re thinking of going vegan for a week even, this info is for you.
Why do people transition to Veganism?
I wasn’t going to start this blog with the good ‘ole “so what is veganism really” bs, because we’re all familiar with it at this point.
The better question is why do folks ultimately choose to live meat, dairy, and any animal-derived product-free life?
Well, some do it just for the animals. Others, for their health, weight-loss goals, the environment…I mean the list goes on, and veganism truly does have a plethora of health benefits as you would be consuming a lot more fruits, grains, and veggies on a daily basis.
What I am trying to say here is, if you want to go green, make sure you have or find your steady why your biggest drive and reason. Even if your biggest why is just weight loss.
In all honesty, it is not easy sometimes, and your reasoning could be the only determinator at the end of the day. This brings me to this next part:
How practical can Veganism really get?
It sucks when you go out to dinner with your friends, and the restaurant you all love doesn’t have many or any vegan options. Breadsticks (if vegan) with wine? I suppose so…Or when you’re on your period and crave a certain animal product? That one was the worst for me personally.
And no, to go vegan doesn’t really cost any more than having an animal-based diet. You should simply stack up on things such as rice, potatoes, beans and lentils, bread, oats, bananas, etc, as those aren’t even expensive items. No more expensive than the latter anyways.
Next, you genuinely get a lot of mixed reactions, stares, and comments. Not to mention having to explain yourself every time you turn down some food or a product. And no, it’s not that bad, but, it genuinely gets tiring after a while.
But the worse thing I left for last is the food prep. My God, it is the absolute worst. And don’t come at me, because I genuinely could not find time to make up recipes every single day. I worked night shifts back then, and couldn’t tell you where I start or begin on most days.
Come to think of it, that is partly the reason why I couldn’t keep up with the diet. My lifestyle. The night shifts and college lectures the morning after left me drained, and in desperate need of quicker food preps and protein. I felt light but droopy. Healthy but tired. And in all honesty, my skin didn’t change that much at all. And before you even ask, yes, I’m one of those people who drink a gallon of water a day. But no vegan diet helped me clear my skin, so I suppose it is maximally individual.
How to Manage Veganism
We all know that a complex diet takes more of our time during the average day. Especially if you have a full-time job or are a full-time student, making these meals every day can be draining occasionally.
But here is somewhat of a solution.
The way I managed to get everything done is by meal prepping. I would cook on Sundays, and make sure to cook enough lunches for every day of the following week. I would put one in the fridge to take with me to work the next day and add the rest to my freezer. Whenever I’d need a meal, I’d just pull one out and defrost it in the microwave or oven. Fast and easy.
Now as for the lunches themselves, they would either be packed with plant-based proteins and loads of leafy greens. The biggest salad trick is to buy a lot of greens and chop them up into containers, then store them in the fridge. This way, you don’t have to waste time chopping and can make a side salad in less than 5 minutes.
Another way to make this a lot easier for yourself is to follow a lot of vegan content creators, who update their socials with a lot of recipes and motivators to further promote the vegan lifestyle.
Here are my favorites:
A lot of these guys like to take traditional meals and create vegan versions, meaning you can still enjoy your favorite food but with a twist.
Additionally, you can always find motivation in the cooking you do, as you get to measure and decide what kind of things you are putting into your body. It comes with a greater sense of power and nutrition over your meals and overall gut health.
All in all, veganism really helps you get more organized, cook more homemade foods, and come up with recipes, and it even makes you feel like you’re contributing to some sort of higher purpose.
Is going vegan healthy?
The all-around, not dig deep answer is yes, because it is never unhealthy to eat a ton of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. I usually kept it simple. Oatmeal for breakfast, with a TON of berries, protein powder, cinnamon, and nuts. Lunch was fun (when I had the time). I’d usually go for a chickpea salad or spring rolls. Sometimes even a veggie stew, which is still one of my faves. And dinner would be stirred veggies and rice, or veggie cheese mushrooms. Yeah, there are a lot of health benefits of going vegan.
I still make all of those and more, but for me personally, it was not the peak of health. I genuinely felt tired. But enough about me, let’s listen to the experts here.
Despite an increase in vegans around the globe, experts state that we still don’t quite know much about the diet, nor its short-term and long-term consequences on the body and mind.
We’ve all seen many athletes, actors, and celebs praise veganism and how it changes their lives, however, the experience is much different for us common folks. With no private chefs, gyms, and expensive vitamin supplements, is it even fair to compare or take their word for it?
“A recent study involving 48,000 people over 18 years compared the health of meat-eaters, pescatarians – who eat fish and dairy but not meat – and vegetarians, including some vegans. They found that people who eat vegan and vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease, but a higher risk of stroke, possibly partly due to a lack of B12.”
Now, one of the biggest misconceptions is the lack of protein trope folks like to throw around.
“We’ve never [seen] issues with protein deficiencies, only in people who don’t eat enough calories. Protein is in everything”, said researcher Tammy Tong, a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Oxford.
To put things into perspective and in a nice bullet point fashion, here are the real benefits and going vegan side effects:
- It promotes weight loss; (Speaking of body changes after going vegan, you may lose some weight due to a switch in diets).
- Manages Diabetes by lowering A1C levels;
- Promotes colon and gut health;
- Promotes a higher intake of natural daily nutrients and vitamins;
- Provides more antioxidants from fruits and vegetables;
- Provides larger fiber intake;
- Promotes better heart health;
- Lowers risks of certain illnesses;
The list goes on, however, not all vegan diets are created equally. What works for some might cause more issues for others, it’s all based on individualism and personal health journeys.
With that being said, if you are considering going green, here are the following vitamin supplements you might want to look into.
- Vitamin B-12 is typically present in animal-based products, it aids the nerves and red blood cells. Plant-based sources for this vitamin are nutritional yeast or plant-based milk products.
- Calcium promotes bone health and is very important to add to your daily diet. Tofu and dark leafy greens such as spinach are filled with it.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for the heart, eyes, and brain. Additionally, we have three types of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA, DHA, and ALA. “Walnuts and flaxseeds are good sources of ALA, but seaweeds and algae are the only plant sources of EPA and DHA.”
- Iodine is vital for thyroid function. Your plant-based options would be seaweed and fortified foods.
- Zinc aids our immune system and helps repair DNA damage. Beans, nuts, nutritional yeast, and oats are very high in zinc.
- Vitamin D protects against chronic health conditions, and it helps maintain the bones and teeth. Spending time in the Sun helps to gain this vitamin (but please use SPF)!
- Iron promotes blood health. Beans and dark leafy greens could be useful plant-based sources.
My overall thoughts on the experience were mixed, but I still incorporate a vegan-based lifestyle as much as I can. I still have the habit of eating a lot of greens and fruits, as well as being super conscious of the makeup or other product I buy, making sure they are cruelty-free.
My advice would be to test the vegan diet out for a couple of weeks and see how you feel. See if you can fit the lifestyle and diet into your everyday life, and make sure not to stress about it.
Even if you mess up, and take an animal-based product by accident or due to cravings, you’re still trying, and that’s all that matters.