I have no qualms about letting you guys know that being vegan is harder than it looks! (Or maybe it seems hard, but it didn’t to me, initially.) I entered into this vegan challenge (Veganuary) optimistic that I would succeed without any obstacles. As it turns out, nine days in and I have already fallen off the wagon with a trip to Burger King. Yep, already screwed up, but hey! I understand that this will be a process and not to expect absolute perfection. That being said, I want to share with you the challenges that I have encountered as a food obsessed fatty on a budget and help you learn from my mistakes!
- Expect Missteps – Slip ups will happen! I had my first meat-mistake (Is this a new catchphrase? Can I copyright this?) in the first two weeks after 28 years of an abusive relationship with food and history of binge eating on my tail. I’m actually proud that it didn’t happen sooner or hasn’t happened more often. I have dusted myself off, apologized to the cow that was so delicious, and moved on. Be steadfast in your decision, but don’t be deterred by mistakes. Kno that you are working to better your health, appease your personal ethics, or both. Just keep going!
- Meal Plan – This helps so much! Not only does it allow for you to be certain that there will always be vegan options available to you when you are hungry, but it also helps you to budget. Youtube is a great resource for vegan meal plans and meal ideas on the cheap. Here are a few of my favorite vegan youtubers:
The Chic Natural – So much more than a vegan Youtuber!
Caitlyn Shoemaker – College girl with vegan on a budget!
Cheap Lazy Vegan – Exactly what she sounds like! And judgment free!
- Eat Whole Foods – It is very possible to eat vegan and still be unhealthy. There are more and more companies creating vegan options that are cruelty-free, but not necessarily the most healthy options. For example, Oreos, America’s favorite cookie, are accidentally vegan. That doesn’t mean that you should replace every meal with Oreos. If you have an expectation that vegan automatically means healthy, you would be mistaken. Now that you know, be sure to spend a good portion of your time in the produce aisle when doing your grocery shopping, then reference the meal planning to help stay on budget!
These are the top three things I have learned, thus far. Being so sure of myself, I did not take the time to account for any of these things and believe that I have made the past two weeks harder than they should have been. I budgeted for cereal and almond milk, then ran out before the end of the week, ate meat and a lot of applesauce, but all in all, it hasn’t been awful. I know that as I become more accustomed to vegan ways, that I will be able to eat healthier, but as I said, I know that it is a process. I hope my tips will help some starry eyed newb who hates the idea of baby chicks being crushed at factory farms, but I don’t want to pretend as if veganism is an easy transition. Good luck and we’ll meet back here at the end of Veganuary to see how everybody faired!