Things I Wish I Had Known When I First Went Vegan

I'm coming up on my 12th anniversary as a vegan and experiencing some serious nostalgia.

This is me. In 2007.

It's not about being perfect, it's about doing your best.

Often people ask me what would happen if I accidentally ate cheese or some other animal product. They are usually shocked when I tell them I would just go about my day. The truth is, we aren't generally helping animals when we pester people about the sourcing of mono and diglycerides, etc. Do your best. That's what matters.

You can eat what you want!

I relapsed once on my journey to veganism. It was winter and I needed Amy's tomato soup, which has dairy in it. At the time I didn't know how to make it myself or what vegan alternatives I could buy, and I caved. But now if I am craving something that traditionally comes from an animal, I just buy the vegan version. Ice cream, oriental chicken, pizza, whipped cream, corndogs? Sky's the limit.

Surround yourself with a vegan community.

It's easier with friends. Sometimes you want to have a brunch buddy, someone to vent to, or simply to ask questions. Check Meetup and Facebooks groups to see if there is a vegan community in your area. You might be surprised! And even if you there aren't a ton of vegans in your region - you have us at Island! You can even get a Vegan Mentor through Vegan Outreach!

Your dog may be able to join you on this journey, but your cat cannot.

When I first went vegan I was so psyched about that it I wanted my cat to join me. I bought her vegan food (which she refused to eat) and so it didn't last long (read, five hours). I'm glad she knew what her body needed, and demanded it. The fact is, cats are obligate carnivores, and they need meat. Dogs, though? Check out v-dog.

This is going to be the best decision you ever make.

Even though being vegan is such a normal part of my life now, it is a decision you renew each day. When I made the decision initially, I had no idea it could possibly improve my life so much. Not only do I truly enjoy delicious vegan food and fashionable clothing, I love knowing I am not harming animals, the planet, or my own body. I am absolutely in love with this way of living.

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  • Saint Louis