Two Years Vegan: My Experience

In the summer of 2017, I made a completely random decision to go vegan. I went from someone who regularly ate meat and was obsessed with dairy (especially cheese), to cutting out all animal products from my diet. My initial goal was to complete a month of veganism. I had always been curious about being vegan and thought if I set a low goal, I would be able to accomplish it no problem. I was right. It was no problem, so much so that two years (and four months) later I am still vegan. While my experiences are very personal and everyone might not feel the same or be able to do the same, I know that many people are also curious about the diet. I don’t know absolutely everything about veganism, but I am learning every day and trying to spread that knowledge onto others to the best of my abilities! This is why I want to explain what I have gone through as a vegan so far over these past two years.

The reason why I wanted to try veganism was because I had been feeling quite unhealthy at the time and knew that many vegans promoted the diet as being generally good for you. Of course, this does not apply to everyone due to certain health restrictions, but I knew that overall a plant-based diet was going to make me feel a lot better internally. I noticed a very immediate effect on my overall health. After going vegan, I felt as though I had a lot more energy, bloated less and never got the same overly full feeling I did when I was eating animal products, even if I had eaten a regular/healthy amount. I have been careful about monitoring my intake of the essential vitamins, minerals, etc. and have been taking supplements to ensure I get the right amount as a vegan. While people seem to like to joke around with vegans and ask questions such as “well how do you get protein if you don’t eat any meat,” many people who follow a vegan diet have absolutely no issue getting the necessary calcium, iron, proteins, fats, etc!

A common misconception that I think exists around veganism is that if you follow a vegan diet you are automatically going to be healthy, but this is definitely not the case. It is 100% possible to be vegan and have an unhealthy diet, I have certainly been guilty of this at times. What many people may not know is that vegan junk food exists and it is very good and very tempting. It can also be easy to get caught up in “vegan replacements” for certain meat and dairy products as well, instead of focusing on eating unprocessed/unrefined whole foods. There are a lot of things that I sometimes miss eating so I’m very glad when I’m able to find something that mimics the taste of that food. While these replacements are great to enjoy sometimes to make up for those foods you may miss, eating fresh plant-based meals is definitely the way to go to live the healthiest and most sustainable vegan lifestyle. Many of my favourite foods from before were vegan already, so I can still enjoy them now, which may mean you don’t have to give up everything you love. I can still eat bagels, pasta, veggie sushi, Oreos, fries and more because these foods are already vegan! There are some vegan foods I now prefer way more than I did the non-vegan versions, oat milk being the best example (over regular dairy milk). People seem to think all vegans can eat are salads and I’m going to let you in on a little secret here…I don’t like and don’t eat salads. Vegans eat so much more than just lettuce and veggies, and the food we eat is (mostly) good for us, animals and the environment all at once!

The reason why I ultimately stuck with my vegan diet after that initial month was because I believed veganism better aligned with my personal morals in comparison to how I was eating before. I am an absolute animal lover and going back to eating meat seemed completely wrong to me once I gave it up. The ways that animals are treated in the food industry is absolutely horrific and there are many documentaries that you can watch if you are looking to find out more about this mistreatment. In addition, I am someone who cares a lot about the environment and am trying to do my part in the fight against climate change, so I see my vegan diet as a way of helping out. I personally think that everyone who can, should try to decrease their meat and dairy consumption and eat more plant-based meals due to the positive impact it would have on the environment. These industries are particularly harsh on the environment in terms of the fossil fuels produced, so eating vegan - even if it is only for certain meals or days- would make an impact. I respect everyone’s choice to make their own food decisions, but I do think if you are interested in veganism in any way, you should definitely give it a try. Although it may sound dramatic, I see going vegan as an accomplishment that I am very proud of and maybe one of the best decisions I have ever made!