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5 Things I WISH I Knew Before Going Vegan

Hello, Dora here! I'm the only vegan team member here at Tabitha Eve and, as yesterday was World Vegan Day, I thought I'd share some of the things I WISH I knew before going vegan!

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First and foremost, I LOVE being vegan and this is just a light-hearted look at some of the good, bad and simply annoying things you might not think about before going vegan. Now, it's always worth it for me, but that doesn't mean it's always easy...

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1. Being 'that vegan friend'

Oh, the good ol' days of going round to dinner at your friends or families without having to pre-warn them of all the things you can and can't eat, seeing the looks on their faces after they've cooked a meal for you and you actually, in fact, can't eat any of it. The horror on Great Great Aunty Margaret's face when you first tell her you're vegan, you might as well have told her you're dropping out of university to be a full-time, fire-breathing morris dancer.

To begin with, you feel like a terrible person, like your choices are a huge inconvenience to everyone else and you're making everything difficult. But you'll eventually learn that the choices you've made feel good for you and that's really all that matters! Fundamentally, the people who respect and support your decision won't make you feel like a terrible person and hey, Great Great Aunty Margaret might well surprise you with a vegan birthday cake one day! You just have to give them some time.

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2. Meal-Out Minefields

Or how about going out for dinner anywhere you fancy and being able to browse through the WHOLE menu? Nope! Luckily, most places cater for vegans now, especially bigger, chain restaurants, but you'll have to get used to having your menu options significantly chopped. If you're lucky, they'll have a vegan menu! But, as any vegan will tell you, they've been out for dinner countless times where all they've ended up with is some chips and a sad salad.

Eventually, you'll find the most amazing vegan options and vegan restaurants to eat out at. If anything, I found that having my meal-out options significantly cut back made me try so many new, amazing foods that I otherwise would have turned my nose up at before going vegan.

I also think, when there are so many things you suddenly cannot eat, it really makes you appreciate the things you CAN eat. No joke, I nearly cried when I had my first packet of vegan cheese and onion crisps in over a year, and don't even get me started on vegan jam doughnuts...

Basically, when you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want it, you do start to take it for granted. That doesn't just apply to food either!

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3. It's not just food

The further down the rabbit hole you go, you realise just how many things there are to consider. For example, there's leather shoes, wool jumpers, make-up, skincare, cleaning products, clothing - even what kind of compost you use in your garden!

It can feel absolutely mind-boggling and stressful but it doesn't have to.

Everyone's views differ, depending on how far you decide to go with your vegan journey. For example, as a vegan for both animal rights and environmental reasons, I will not buy a brand-new pair of leather boots, however I will still wear the perfectly good leather boots I already own and love before throwing them away to get pair of vegan boots, because that would be environmentally wasteful. I also have wool jumpers that I've had for years and will never throw out.

Some vegans (or 'veggans') even still eat eggs! If they know for certain that the eggs they are eating are from happy, well-looked after, ethically treated animals then they will eat them, often they might have their own chickens that they've taken in.

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4. You have to be perfect

Now, when you first decide to go vegan, the pressure to be perfect from day one is REAL. I think that very same pressure puts people off from even trying in the first place.

Honestly, you WILL slip up; you'll sneak some cheese late at night, you'll accidentally put milk in your tea, you'll order those chicken nuggets because you're hungover, and that's absolutely okay!

Yes, the goal eventually as a vegan is to not do those things, but to expect to be perfect right away and then beat yourself up every time you slip up, you're wasting your energy. Rather than wasting your time and energy beating yourself up, use that time to learn and grow. 

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5. The bubble bursting - now, this ones a little deep!

Once you go vegan, you're stepping away from years of believing the world was a certain way and onto a different path (or at least, it was for me!). Once that bubble bursts, you realise just how, well, messed up and contradictory a lot of things are, including your own past behaviours, which can be hard to come to terms with at times. 

Let's get real and I'll give you some of my past contradictory beliefs and thoughts. I was one of those 'Oh, I LOVE animals, I'm an animal lover' but still ate meat and dairy. Yep, that was me! What makes it even more unbelievable looking back is that ducks are one of my favourite animals, but duck was also my favourite meat to cook and eat. I'd be vocal about my horror towards animal testing, dog fighting, hunting and all manner of animal cruelties - but I'd still eat meat.

When that bubble bursts, you realise how warped and strange a lot of the ways we, as a society, view animals are; the value we give them depending on their species, which ones we choose to fight for and which we don't. It can be rough, upsetting and overwhelming - but it can also become fuel to continue to fight for what you believe in.

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I could go on but like I said, it's not always easy but it's always worth it for me. Veganism isn't for everyone and some of these reasons are why many people choose not to go there.

There is not a one-size-fits-all way to become a vegan, we all experience it differently, make mistakes and figure it out as we go along.

It can be tricky and frustrating for those reasons, but if you feel truly passionate and believe in it, then I PROMISE you'll get there!

 

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Fancy reading more on the topic? Have a look at our 'Flexitarian VS The Impact Of Meat' blog post here>>

 

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