Veganism: An Autobiography

Whenever I tell someone that I am vegan, the first questions I get is: “Where do you get your protein?”.  There are some funny memes out there that no one cares about your protein until you tell them you are vegan.

Almost seven years ago I received a book called “Skinny Bitch” from a co-worker for a Christmas gift exchange.  I wanted to the book but I had no idea what it was about.  People were talking about the book and recommending it but I figured it was just another self-help book.  Little did I know, this book would forever change my life.

I waited until Christmas to use my gift and I read the entire book in one day.  When asked, I describe my experience as the mothership calling me home.  When I read the book, it all just made sense and it felt like becoming vegan was my calling.  Previously, I read “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair and pretty much stopped eating beef and pork, except for special occasions.

Within three weeks time I transitioned fully into veganism.  The first week, I gave up all meat.  The second week, I gave up dairy and eggs.  The third week, I gave up things I didn’t even know had animal products in them.  I am happy to report that Oreos are vegan.  My final non-vegan meal was a pizza from Anthony’s Coal Fire Pizza (I now eat their cauliflower pizza with no cheese).  And as the saying goes, the rest is history.

If you are considering a vegan lifestyle or just curious about it, here are some things you need to know:

  1. You can get enough protein being vegan
  • If you do research and eat balanced meals, you can get enough protein. I even met with a nutritionist who reviewed my food intake and gave me a gold star in this area.  Every meal I make sure I have protein, such as beans, lentils, nuts, peanut butter, tofu, veggie burgers, etc.  By following the food chart and including enough vegan protein at every meal, you can get enough overall protein.  Working with a nutritionist can help you figure out if you are getting the proper amount of nutrition.
  1. Being vegan is a lifestyle choice
  • Veganism is about where you go to eat, what you wear and who you interact with. My lifestyle choice keeps me from going to places that serve foie gras (as much as I possibly can).  Being vegan impacts many of the choices I make in life, including shopping , social activities and eating.  Luckily though in South Florida there are plenty of vegan spots so living the lifestyle here is pretty easy.
  1. Veganism is more than just food
  • Another fun fact that I tell people about being vegan is that I don’t wear leather products or any products with animal products. This is another choice I decided to make.  Some vegans may wear leather they previously owned or used leather products in an effort not to be wasteful.  The same goes for my furniture, I don’t have any leather products.  When I went to buy a new car, I only shopped for brands with faux leather.  Thank goodness for Stella McCartney so that vegans can splurge on her high-end bags.
  1. Animal rights are a part of veganism
  • Having a vegan lifestyle means that I stand up for the rights of animals in a variety of settings. It also means that I donate to charities around animal rights and vote for candidates that care about animal rights.  As an animal lover, it comes naturally for me to think about the welfare of animals.
  1. Meatless Monday is a great start
  • If you want to try out veganism for size, you can begin by going meatless on Monday. It makes me very excited to see #meatlessmonday trending on Twitter every week.  Try cutting out meat one day a week and go from there.  Try a local vegan restaurant or ask for the vegan option at your favorite restaurant.  Mexican and Asian restaurants are usually very vegan friendly.

Another thing for me is that I don’t take myself too seriously about being vegan and I don’t try to convert other people into veganism.  It’s more like I get excited when I meet a fellow vegan and it’s an instant bond we share.  If you are interested in learning more about Meatless Monday, you can visit http://www.meatlessmonday.com.

 

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