So today I wanted to go a little more deep in thought than I have in the past and talk about being a vegan in a world where most people well, aren’t.
Being vegan at home is insanely easy. Matthew and I buy our stuff and know lots of recipes to make. It has never once been an issue, and even my parents have been very accepting of it and we even had a meatless Thanksgiving. I am also lucky to have friends who are super accepting and are willing to accommodate when it comes to social gatherings.
However, it’s not easy.
I have never been someone who liked to cause an inconvenience. I used to let me friends pick where we went for dinner, and I am usually a pretty indecisive person. I am also the type of person who likes to talk about what goes on in my life, and being vegan is one of them. I always worry that my veganism is always front and center, when that has never been my intention.
Now, I am sure that my friends would read this and say that I am being silly and that there is no issue. I even told one of my friends that we can go wherever she wants to eat and she said that she doesn’t want to go somewhere that “discriminates against vegans” (she’s so sweet!). I love that my friends are supportive, but I do feel bad sometimes. I get that as long as both people are happy, it’s no issue, but I wish that there wasn’t one at all. I wish ever restaurant had vegan options, and all junk food was vegan. That way, I’d have a much easier time. I know it’s hard on Matthew as well since his friends love getting fast food. One day, there will be vegan options everywhere. I genuinely believe that, but until then, I may continue to feel bad about feeling like an inconvenience.
It’s also difficult because I don’t have it to be brought up. Veganism has such a stigma, and so many people think that vegans just want to tell them that they’re vegan within seconds of meeting them. SO not true, at least for me. I will talk about it if it gets brought up, but I really don’t want to. I know that I was at a big dinner, and many people asked why I wouldn’t try the mozzarella or the calamari. I played it off, but I was worried that it would get turned into a conversation, which I did not want.
My advice for vegans would be to be as reasonable as you can when it comes to eating out. Suggest places when you can, but also allow your friends and family to enjoy their favorite restaurants as well. You might always feel like an inconvenience, but realize that your true friends and loved ones will not criticize you for having a diet preference. I especially feel bad for those with allergies since they have to be extra careful. If my food is processed in the same place as say, eggs, I would still eat it because a trace or two is not the biggest deal (at least in my opinion, feel free to disagree). I won’t die if I eat something. It makes me feel even more annoying since it is all preference, but I have to remember that being vegan is extremely important to me for so many reasons, and I shouldn’t have to feel bad about that.
My number one tip would be to just do your best. Be willing to work with those around you try not to be overly difficult. You can bring your own food if that’s what it leads to-I know a girl who has a gluten allergy (a legitimate one, not the one that people claim to have without any evidence), and she would always bring her own food places just in case. She has stuff she can eat. Everyone else has stuff they can eat. It’s a win-win. If you’re reasonable, people will be fine with it, and your friends and family will most likely be supportive. I realize that some people are not as lucky, but if all fails, try to find a vegan community in your area (I still need to get one that) and make some friends with like-minded people. Don’t lose your old friends, but it’s never bad to welcome new people into your life. They might make you feel better about your compassionate decision.
I know that there are some downsides to being vegan, but they never beat all of the amazing upsides! My life has changed for the better, and these last 10 months have been the best. I have loved all of the benefits that I have found on a vegan lifestyle, and while it’s not always easy, it sure as hell is worth every second! Don’t feel discouraged by the small stuff, look at the big picture. I truly believe that vegan is the future, the you ARE making a difference right now.
Fitting in at a restaurant isn’t worth it. Making a big difference is.
My birthday is next week, and I had a hard time choosing where I wanted to eat with friends and family. This is what sparked my thoughts in the first place. I was able to figure something out that everyone is ok with, which is great since I did not want any trouble during a weekend that I am really looking forward to. Ultimately, I am realizing that there is more to social events than food: you know, socializing. I am excited about my plans, so I know that I will have lots of fun and will be able to indulge in delicious food. That’s all I really wanted! I am lucky to have awesome friends and family, and that is what is worth celebrating. This is my first birthday as a vegan, and frankly, I can’t wait. Vegan dessert is amazing, and I might not even get an awful stomach ache afterwards (but might end up with a hangover).
Everything is going to be ok, in fact, it will be better! This is going to be the best birthday I’ve had. I just have that feeling.
I hope you all have an awesome weekend, and wherever you are in your life, never feel guilty for doing what makes you happy.
Make sure you check out my most recent posts: I shared my thoughts on non-vegans and shared a super healthy strawberry and cherry superfood smoothie.