Why Being Vegan Isn't Actually That Hard

It happens more than you’d think. I’m making myself cereal, putting something in the oven, or simply reading an ingredient list, and I hear the familiar question: “So what do you eat as a vegan?”

The question is so vague that I’m often at a loss for words. I consider just saying “food” and leaving it at that. I know people usually mean no harm when they ask, but I’ve heard it so many times that I know what follows: “I could never be vegan.”

Despite what you might think, being vegan actually isn’t that complicated. You can’t give up after googling “how to be vegan,” because the results are vague, just like the question. But when you sit down to consider it, the options aren’t overly complex or confusing. You can replace meat with beans and leafy green vegetables, dairy with dairy alternatives like almond milk, and even non-dairy ice cream.

Most people say they couldn’t give up cheese, chocolate, steak; what they don’t know is that most vegans have been there and said those same words. When you look into what to actually eat as a vegan (not just salad, because from what I’ve seen, very few people actually enjoy salad) it’s easier to see what you can and cannot eat.

There are plenty of vegan “what I eat in a day” videos on YouTube now. The last few years have shown that a lot more people are going vegan, which means more vegan products in the market. Being vegan is more accessible now, and you can always be careful with the amount of money you spend on groceries. Not every vegan has to be a professional chef - you can find vegan options or vegan hacks at most fast food restaurants!

When it comes to cravings, it’s simple: you get over them. It may be a month of remembering what you used to eat and wishing you could have it, but once that’s over, your body understands you won’t be eating that anytime soon. With the vegan desserts bakeries are making now, I look back on the Pillsbury cookies I used to eat, and they don’t appeal to me at all. If I went back in time to tell myself that, I wouldn’t have believed it. What changed me was seeing what animals go through and realizing I could never do that to an animal again.

Honestly, the hardest part of being vegan is what people have to say about it, and being expected to answer everyone’s questions as if you invented veganism yourself and have an informational booklet in your back pocket at all times. The hardest part, for me, is trying to wrap my head around the fact that millions of happy, living animals are getting killed all the time, and that the world hasn’t fully woken up yet. The hardest part is not giving up that burger that makes you feel sick anyway.