Let me start by saying that I am fairly new at Veganism. I only strive to become better and continue to educate myself on this new-found passion of mine. I recently took a poll on which topic my next blog should be about and “My Biggest Struggles with Being Vegan” definitely took the cake. Secretly, this one is one I really wanted to touch base on. Open hearted, truthful and completely honest with the world about my experience thus far with being Vegan.
Of course everyone will have struggles with any new path they choose to take but I’m here to tell you that usually it means it was meant for you. I’m sharing my story so I am able to document this journey I have decided to take and most of all help those of you who are thinking of maybe taking this path someday. (Or you just want to support me which is pretty awesome. Thank you!)
If you are anything like me, you like change and change can mostly mean a good challenge. My first challenge after having my daughter Maddy was becoming free of dairy and red meat to achieve my goal of becoming fit. My second challenge came 2 months after having my son Theo. That one was becoming Vegan and finally cutting out any kind of meat and sea food from my diet. (I would love to go more into detail as to why I chose Veganism on another blog post. Let me know if you are interested). Alright, let’s get to the reason why you are here; to read what my struggles have been so far and how I’ve overcome them.
- Eating Out, What To Order
We don’t usually eat out but when we do, it can be pretty difficult for me. Choosing a place to eat for us was never easy even before I became Vegan (it always looked more like the infamous meme from the movie The Notebook) so you could imagine how much “easier” it became afterwards *insert eye- roll here*. My favorite way to judge a restaurant was to order their Buffalo Wings along with a side of fries. I mean, if you mess that up than I know everything else will suck (to me at least lol). How did I overcome this battle? Well, the truth is that I have yet to overcome it but it has definitely become easier. With becoming more knowledgeable on how to survive with living a Vegan lifestyle, I have become more and more creative with the limited options I have at times when visiting a not-so-Vegan restaurant. If I have to pack myself a little something and whip it out on the dinner table I shrug my shoulders and say “A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do”. Thankfully some restaurants are becoming aware of people being Vegan and are offering one or two options for us folks. Here are some ideas on what I order and actually feel full afterwards (with mixing a few options) :
- Black Bean Burger
- Chips & Salsa
- Fries (of course)
- Hummus & Pita Bread
- Most Soups
2. Visiting with family
If you have always eaten meats, poultry and other animal products it might be hard on your family to see this sudden change. Even though it should be all about YOU making this change, family naturally becomes concerned about your health. “Where do you get your protein?” “You are going to become anemic!” My Dad for example takes so much joy in sharing foods he loves. The first time I visited with my parents and I explained I have chosen Veganism my Dad kind of shook it off. When it came time for dinner, on Thanksgiving day no less, he would offer me chicken and savor out loud as if trying to tempt me with it. He was in no way being mean about it, just pops set in his ways and super confused on how I was able to give up something I once loved so much (Cubans love their chicken). Here’s how I overcame (read: overcoming) this:
- Explain how much this new path means to you. Make it clear that you are not going to judge them of THEIR decision of eating meats but to please not judge yours.
- Pack, pack, pack your lunch and snacks!
- Be prepared to get asked many times if you are sure of your decision.
3. Takeout & Frozen Yogurt
What do I miss the most? I would definitely have to say being able to bum out and order take out. If you are not careful with what you order, than what you think is a “healthy” choice could have hidden secrets you NEED to know about. Like for example, I went to Meso Maya Comida y Copas and ordered Refried Black Beans, Cilantro Rice, Fried Plantains and a Vegetable Medley. I told the waiter that I was Vegan and wanted to make sure none of the things I ordered had dairy. Dairy was my main concern at this point because I’m used to that being my number one question. Luckily, the waiter was nice enough to advise me on not ordering the refried black beans. A little confused I asked “Why’s that?”, he then explained to me that they used pig lard to cook their beans. I was shocked. When cooking refried black beans at home, they come out perfectly fine without using pig lard.
If you’re careful and do your research, choosing healthier options is possible. The following things help me with my cravings, because I still have them.
- Nadamoo was heaven sent to earth. Seriously, the best non- dairy ice cream that I’ve EVER had.
- There are so many Vegan options for take out so I’ll just insert the link here.
4. Packing Up for the Day
Now this could be a little tough only if I don’t have things on hand. When going grocery shopping I have my “go to” items that I make sure are in the cart. However, if I have an activity planned or a trip to the museum with my kiddos for example I make sure to add things that will be okay to pack in a cooler. Other than that, adding a cooler to my already long list of things to grab before heading out has become second nature.
Here are some ideas of things to pack- kid and adult friendly:
- Boil Edamame the night before and pack away in a glass container. These are delicious with a bit of sea salt and make a great protein-packed snack.
- Popcorn because who doesn’t LOVE popcorn.
- Granola Bites (Or Lactation Bites for a nursing mama, recipe here)
- Pretzels & Peanut Butter
- Morning Rounds (these are so filling and great with almond butter on top)
- Baby Carrots are always great for a busy toddler just wanting to run around and play. Quick and pretty much “mess free”.
You can find more recipes or snack ideas here in this blog post I made a while ago. 🙂
I’m not saying that becoming Vegan would be easy for anyone. It takes consistency, reason, passion and dedication to have this lifestyle but it’s totally do- able. If you have any questions at all, I’m an open book. I’m here to share my story with all the ups and downs. All-in-all this journey has been great and has helped me accomplish my goal of thriving on a plant based diet.
As always, thank you for taking the time to stop by and be a part of my journey. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a post. Do you have any suggestions on what my next post should be? Drop a comment below, I’d love to hear what you have to say!