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WHY GO VEGAN
Welcome to Day One! I hope you're excited to begin what can be one of the most transformational periods of your life. Despite the guide being formatted to help you go vegan in 30 days, take however long you need to reach your goal (whatever that may be). I personally went vegan in a little over 2 months and on the other hand some people feel best going vegan over night! The bottom line is we're all very different and if you want to read this, say, all in one day- then go for it. The format I use in this guide might not feel like the best thing for you so if that's the case, definitely alter it so you can get the best outcome. For example, if you feel like getting rid of eggs is going to be really hard for you.. you might want to eliminate all other things first to make it seem less overwhelming.
Most people who are transitioning to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle probably don't know anyone who eats that way, so it's easy to feel alone on this journey but I want you to know that you can always contact me with any struggles you're having, any questions, or if you just wanna talk. [All my social media + email is at the bottom of the page]
So with all that being said, let's get into day one!
I think it's important that, before you start physically making any lifestyle changes, you know why you're doing it. What's going to drive you to go through with this? Not only do you want to know just the basic reasons of going vegan, you want regularly be reminding yourself of the ones that mean the most to you.
I go into more detail for the 3 main reasons to go vegan (planet, animals, and health) in the later days but for now I'm just trying to emphasize the importance of having goals to work toward.
When I was transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, I found it very helpful to watch vegan-related videos everyday. From What I Eat In A Day videos to ones simply explaining the benefits of veganism, anything to keep you on track helps. Now I'm not trying to say that if you don't spend 5 hours a day watching youtube videos about food you'll fail at trying to go vegan... But even if you sit down for 5 minutes one day and read an online article about the correlation between the Standard American Diet and heart disease- that helps to keep changing your diet + life relevant in your mind.
It's kind of like creating a vision board- just being able to look at it a few times a day helps you accomplish your goals.
So throughout this guide, I want you to set your own goals for your own reasons and make sure that you're keeping yourself motivated to achieve them. If you feel like your struggling mentally, watch videos, documentaries, read articles, books, studies. I'm totally not trying to make going vegan sound super hard (because it's really not!) but if you're ever feeling unmotivated, hopefully you will remember to just surround yourself mentally with things that will help you make the change you wanna make in your life.
That's it for Day One- just a quick little prep for your journey ahead. Tomorrow we're gonna hop right into meat and slowly (or all at once, whatever you choose) getting rid of that. Maybe you choose to just start by one meatless meal a day, and then bring it up to 2 and so on. Or maybe you just eat the stuff you have left in your home and don't buy anymore.. whatever works for you is what you should do. All I have left to say is.. make sure when you go to the store next that you're buying some vegan things. We'll get more into what to eat/staple foods later on- but for now just get some basic things like potatoes, rice, beans, oats, etc :)
REDUCING MEAT CONSUMPTION
Okay so today's the day where we start reducing meat consumption. If you feel ready for this step then keep reading (maybe this is Day One for you or Day Four- disregard the day numbers- do this at your own pace). Anyways, most people start eliminating meat first when going vegan and that's the way I did it so I think this is a good place for most people to start. Just to give a little overview of the guide: the next eliminator will be honey on Day Eight cuz that's pretty easy, Day Thirteen will be eggs, Day Eighteen will be dairy and Day Twenty-Four is kind of bringing it all together and getting rid of all the more packaged /processed foods that contain the things previously mentioned. If you want to do your own order- feel free to mix it up so it feels the best for you!
Before I went vegan, I consumed a LOT of meat and dairy. My step-dad is a hunter and so 4-5 times a week I would have some sort of steak for dinner (for years) and toward the end of my meat eating days I absolutely could not stand eating that stuff anymore. It didn't taste good at all to me anymore and every day I dreaded having to eat it. My family also isn't the type to go out to eat very often so the majority of the meat I consumed was: steak (90%), salami or turkey in the form of lunch meat(7%), homemade burgers(2%), and the occasional orange chicken or bacon etc (1%). So this made me going vegetarian relatively easy. Well I actually ended up going pescetarian (where you don't eat meat except seafood) and the only meat I consumed was salmon- but that's beside the point.
Since I wasn't a big meat eater by choice- I was truly excited to not have to eat meat anymore! But I realize this probably isn't the case for everyone out there. It might be pretty hard for you to give up meat- but if you realize that the 'struggle' you may have is all mental- it will make it much easier.
(It might be best to read both of the columns below because there's different info in each)
If you want to eliminate meat all at once:
If you're like, 'okay, I'm totally ready to just jump right in' like I was, then take your last bite of meat right now and don't look back. When I went vegetarian- I lived with my parents so I didn't have to worry about not finishing any meat products I had previously bought- because they would. But if that's not the case for you, maybe you live alone, then I recommend either:
- Finishing them off (and then come back to this day when you're done)
- Giving them to family/friends/neighbors or
- Donating them (say you have canned chicken noodle soup, you could give that to a local food pantry)
Once you've gotten rid of what may have use to be a big part of your daily meals... you're going to have to get other foods to replace those things. But since most people who've eaten meat their whole life don't exactly know how to replace it, let me give you the run down.
- All vegans eat very differently- so there's no right way to eat.
- Don't be scared to experiment and try new things.
- Basmati + jasmine rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pasta, beans, and tofu (tofu conforms to whatever flavoring you put on it so add some kind of sauce- like any vegan one from the House of Tsang, my fav brand) are all staples.
- You have to eat enough food (even if you're trying to lose weight!!!) If you're satiated after every meal, you will not get cravings. Plant foods are less calorically dense than animal products so you will have to eat a greater volume of food to feel full.
If you want to reduce meat consumption gradually:
I recommend starting by getting rid of the meat products that you think will be the easiest to remove from your diet. Which ones do you eat on occasion but don't really love? Just take those out of the equation right away... right now in fact. Don't underestimate yourself. If you're the type of person that needs a visual then maybe write out a list of the different things you eat that are meat or contain meat. Cross off the ones that you feel good about not eating anymore. Then with the remaining ones, find a way that you can (at your own pace) eliminate those too.
Some things you could do are:
- Only eat what you have left in your house. Once you've finished off those products, don't buy any more of them.
- Educate yourself- This is the topic for tomorrow so I don't need to go too in depth but once you know more reasons why not to eat meat... you just won't want to anymore.
- Find some good brands of vegan alternative meats. You might've had a really bad veggie burger experience before but I promise there are some very good vegan meat brands out there such as Gardein (which is pretty reasonably priced too). Begin to replace real meat with those a few times a week.
You may have chosen this route because you feel like just going cold turkey overnight would be way to hard for you. And I'm trying to pressure you into making changes you're not ready for but I can tell you from my experience and what I've heard from many others, going vegan/vegetarian is SO much easier than you would ever think. Don't convince yourself it is going to be extremely difficult cuz it's not!
So congrats on either diving right in or doing it gradually! Don't ever doubt yourself throughout this process. If you feel like you're craving meat, remember the tips above or try some vegan meats- I promise a lot of them are actually really good. My ultra carnivorous step-dad has said many times when trying some vegan chicken strips, barbecue wings, or orange chicken that he couldn't even tell a difference between them and real meat. One time I slipped some vegan salami in his lunchbox for work (cuz I didn't like it) and he put it on his sandwich and ate it. When I later asked him about it later he said he didn't even know it wasn't real meat. So moral of that story is don't judge food without even giving it a chance!
When I went veg I didn't eat vegan alternatives for quite a while and I never found myself craving animal products because I hadn't had them in so long. So that's a possible approach you could take. If you don't think that'd work, then the alternatives are great choices.
How to find them:
- Go to the store
- Note that even if you live in a small town- there will still probably be a few choices. If your population is about 300 and your grocery store is a gas station.. well you might have to take a road trip to bigger city nearby. If your pop is 5,000-15,000 then you'll hopefully have a pretty good selection (this does depend on the country you live in though). And then if you live in a place like LA you shouldn't need my help for this :)
- Trader Joes and Whole Foods are jackpots but if you're like me and don't have any around you then don't worry.
- So you're now at the store and you've kept both those things in mind and now you just gotta find the stuff. Many stores may have a natural section where there'll be a ton of plant based things. Otherwise the vegan versions of things might be right by the non-vegan versions. Another good place to check are Asian food stores or even if there's just a foreign food aisle in a store, there will generally be a few really unique (accidentally) vegan things. So you'll just have to do some exploring!
But that's it for today and tomorrow I'm gonna be educating you about educating yourself.
All throughout this journey, it's going to be crucial to take in as much helpful information as you can. If you want to succeed, you need to prepare, right? And obviously in this guide I will try to give you some of my advice and tips and help educate you but for the most part you're gonna have to do the majority of the researching on your own. Sorry for sounding like a mom but I think it's pointless for me to just copy and paste a bunch of links right here. While I'm trying to make going vegan as easy as I can, I think it's be better for everyone to research things when they're wondering/concerned about them. There are sooo many great websites (one of the best being nurtitionfacts.org), blogs, youtube channels, books, and documentaries that are packed with great info.
So I have homework for you today:
- Go check out Nutrition Facts (the link above), explore it a little.
- Find another website related to veganism that you enjoy.
- Find 5 youtubers who put out vegan content that you like.
- Find answers to 2 questions you have.
And how do you do those things- well simply by searching for exactly what you're looking for.
Also, two great presentations you should check out are 101 Reasons To Go Vegan and The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear. They're both about an hour long and are extremely informative so whenever you have a little extra spare time I recommend checking these out!
EATING ENOUGH FOOD
Arguably the biggest reason people go back to eating animal products is that they were just craving meat, dairy, or eggs. And they may think the cravings were because humans are meant to eat meat, they were lacking in protein or other nutrients, or their body just isn't suited to only eat plants.
But the reality is that those cravings were most likely caused by not eating enough food. So how does this happen?
As you can see from the picture above, plant foods have a much lower caloric density than animal products. This means that you have to eat a higher volume of plants to get the same amount of calories compared to eating meat, dairy, or eggs. If you set out 2000 calories worth of fruits, veggies, and starches on one table and 2000 calories of animal products on another. . . the plant table is going to have a lot more food on it. But most people aren't aware of this (I wasn't for months after I went vegan) so when they're changing their diet to a more plant-based approach, they tend to not eat enough calories.
So when you're taking meat, dairy, and eggs out of your diet, you need to replace them with an equal amount of calories from plants. And you know what that means... you get to eat more food!!!
But since you probably don't know the exact amount of calories in everything you eat, you might want to try recording what you eat on a site called CRON-O-Meter. It's not only great for tracking calories but also carb/protein/fat ratios, vitamins, and minerals. It's not something you have to use religiously, but I found it nice to use about once a week for a while just to know about how many calories I was consuming- not to restrict myself, but to make sure I was eating enough! If you do have a background of restrictive eating or unhealthy calorie counting- it might not be a good idea to use this but it's up to you to decide if you want to or not.
When you're not eating enough food, your body is going to try to tell you that it needs food by making you feel hungry. Now we all know that when you get hungry- you're not usually craving celery or iceberg lettuce. You're usually craving high calorie, high fat foods because the more calorically dense something is, the less volume you need to fill you up (and fat has 9 cals/gram as opposed to carbs and protein having only 4 cals/g). And we know that meat, dairy, and eggs have a high caloric density and (most) are high in fat, so those are going to be common things for you to crave when you're not giving your body enough fuel.
So please, even if you're trying to lose weight, eat until you're full. Never restrict. Never go to bed hungry. Always make sure you're satisfied after every meal and if you're not- then just eat more food. That doesn't mean you have to eat every meal like it's your last, but after a while you'll get the gist of how much plant foods you need to eat to satiate yourself!
I will talk about cravings and messing up later but for now while you are eliminating whatever food group you chose I thought this would be a good time to briefly talk about the importance of eating enough. So if you think you'd enjoy using cronometer once in a while then that's something to definitely go check out today and mess around with. Other than that, keep your goals in mind, find some inspo where you need it, continue whatever you're working on, and have fun.
GETTING ENOUGH PROTEIN
The number one concern people seem to have about vegans is: Where Do You Get Your Protein!?!
It's been asked millions of times and answered millions of times and to someone who's been vegan for a long time... it can seem like one of the dumbest questions ever. But the reality is- almost everyone has been raised thinking that protein is pretty much synonymous with meat... that they are interchangeable words that basically mean the same thing. And when you're brought up believing one thing for years and years, you're unlikely to challenge that belief without any reason to. So one of your concerns may be that you won't be able to get enough protein as your eliminating meat from your diet. And I'm gonna let you know that that is a completely reasonable concern to have, because of the reasons listed above.
Now where do we vegans get our protein from? Well a nice place to check is google images- just type in 'vegan protein sources' and you'll get a bunch of fun little lists like the one I provided to the right. There's honestly tons and tons of vegan protein sources that you may have never thought of (or even heard of).
Another important thing I want to explain is how much protein we need. It's common for people to look at protein as something that you can never get too much of.. but that's truly not the case. The Dietary Reference Intake for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (0.36 g/lb). The WHO also states that we only need about 5% of our calories to come from protein. Now that amount can easily be met on a vegan diet. The only way you could possibly not get enough protein is by not consuming enough calories. You don't need to go out of your way to eat high-protein products or take protein powder- but if you want to you can! If you're a body builder you might want to consume more protein but otherwise it's not something to think about. Feel free to research more about this though because you shouldn't just believe everything you read on the internet!
If you're worried about getting protein deficiency- don't! It's not real. It doesn't exist. You can research it yourself and like every other statement relating to health- it will be debated and you will find sites that say one thing and some that say the opposite. But I, as well as many other vegans and vegetarians, can tell you from experience that it doesn't exist (unless you're underrating, and in that case you'll be deficient in many other things too). It's possible for people to feel weak and then just blame it on lack of protein, but there can be deficiencies in other areas that may be the cause.
Bottom Line: Research both sides of the argument. Once you know one side to the story it's easier to understand the opposing side. When I was doing all my homework during my transition to veganism, I remember reading through tons of pages of 'Why there's no such thing as protein deficiency' and 'Why you don't need as much protein as you think' and after learning so much about that side I went to sites saying the exact opposite. And when I read through those, everything they said made sense. Not in a way where I thought they were right, but more in a way where I could understand where they went wrong.
So that's what I have to say for today. Tomorrow I can hopefully introduce you to some health benefits of a vegan diet that you never knew before and congrats for being 1/6 of the way through this guide!
(P.S. There is protein in every food (except certain condiments like oil and vinegar and other misc. things) But there's protein in even fruits and veggies! Chronometer is great and will tell you how much is in any food.)
Despite saying just a few days ago that I wasn't going to be making out lists of links, that's pretty much what I'm going to be doing today. Why try to rephrase a bunch of things from other websites when I could send you straight there! My hopes are that these sites are going to be ones that you -not only can learn from - but can look back on in the future for lots of good factual knowledge, possibly when you need to answer questions for someone else. So here are some things a vegan diet can help with:
Low Energy Levels (1)
Today I want to share with you 30 good vegan staple foods.
Bananas- So many different uses. You can just eat them plain, make banana ice cream with them, or use them to make smoothies.
Frozen Fruit- Great dessert/snack option and mixing any kind with fresh bananas makes for a great smoothie. Go well with oatmeal too. Also can be less expensive than fresh fruit in certain areas.
Mangoes- Might be expensive where you live but if you can find inexpensive, high quality mangoes- they go great with a lot of things and are great snacks.
Apples- Great if you don't live somewhere tropical or in a huge city because everyone has apples!
Peaches/Nectarines/Plums- Along with apples, they're everywhere.
Melons- Refreshing, hydrating snack.
Lentils- Lentils (also called split peas) can be used in making burgers, soup, dahl, and so much more. Very filling, a bunch of protein, here's 21 recipes that use lentils.
Rice- Now this is a STAPLE. Rice goes so well with just about everything so it's great to have some basmati (not sticky) and/or some jasmine (sticky) rice on hand at all times. And even brown, wild, or black rice is fun to experiment with as well.
Potatoes- Regular and Sweet Potatoes can both be used in so many different ways and are super easy to just throw in the oven or microwave.
Ketchup- Self explanatory.
Sriracha- Spicy sauce but goes good with everything if you like spicy food.
Salad Dressing- If you like salads then having a vegan salad dressing on hand is necessary. My favorite brands are Annie's and San-J (keep in mind not all dressings from these brands are vegan, just some).
Liquid Aminos- This is just low sodium soy sauce.
Noodles/Pasta- Super easy to make and cheap to buy.
Pasta Sauce- You've gotta have some sauce to go with the pasta.
Coconut Milk- If you like curry and things of that sort, coconut milk is nice to just store until you use it.
Sweet Chili Sauce- Goes nicely with rice! And other things... but i use it mainly with rice :)
Beans- Kidney, garbanzo, black, lima, great northern, etc. There are so many varieties of beans that you can eat with so many meals to satiate you.
Hummus- Nice snack idea along with some chips or pretzels.
Plant-Based Milk- There's tons of varieties of this too: almond, soy, cashew, rice, hemp, etc. so you're bound to like at least one kind. If you're looking for the least sweet kind (and the one that probably tastes most like cow milk) it's gonna be unsweetened almond milk.
Cereal- Great breakfast idea.
Oats- Another good breakfast idea- except more filling.
Cliff Bars/Granola Bars- Any vegan granola/protein/fruit bars are nice to have when you're to lazy to do anything but are a bit hungry.
Dates- These are fruits that kind of taste like caramel and are SUPER filling but at the same time very rich so you can't eat to many at a time... but make for great snacks.
Broccoli- There's so many veggies I could list but this is just one that you can add to lots of different meals.
Lettuce/Spinach- It's nice to have some kind of leafy greens to add to different food combos.
Corn- I honestly eat corn with everything, baked potatoes, pasta, rice, burritos.. you name it- just a nice way to enhance any meal.
Tortillas- So you can make tacos or burritos.
Peanut/Almond Butter- As you probably know, a very filling snack.
Maple Syrup/Agave Nectar- Alternatives for honey. Also a great topping for sweet potato fries along with tahini.
Tahini- Basically just ground sesame.. many people don't like tahini because they don't know this one simple trick, mix it with the maple syrup or agave nectar and it's amazing as something to dip your fries in. (This is a bonus one because I just realized I listed 31)
So today is another #getridofthatfood type of day. Last time we eliminated/decreased meat and now we're onto honey. This should probably be pretty easy considering most people aren't addicted to honey or even eat it on a weekly basis. Because this one is so easy I'm gonna challenge you to dive right in and fully eliminate honey from your diet right now as you're reading this.
If honey is something that you do consume somewhat often, I recommend replacing it with agave nectar or maple syrup. Agave Nectar is probably a lot closer to the taste and consistency of honey compared to maple syrup but both are great to use instead.
If you have a bottle of honey that you no longer are going to use than I recommend giving it away to family or friends rather than throwing it away.
And since this day would be super short with me just saying that, I want you to take a moment to reflect on the first 8 days (or however long it is for you) and just think about how much progress you've made. It's important to realize that no matter how small of a change you may feel like you've made so far, you should feel really good about having accomplished any goals you've created for yourself.
So the next food we'll be getting rid of is eggs on Day 13, and I figured that gives you a good amount of time between meat and eggs with honey kind of stuck right in the middle! Hopefully you've been enjoying your journey so far.. don't forget if you have any questions or concerns you can always email me!
Well we're now almost a 1/3 of the way done and I think this is a great time to talk a little bit about how eating animal products effects animals. I wanna break this up into sections for each type of food (meat, dairy, eggs, and honey) and just explain a little bit about how each of them negatively impacts the animal(s) it comes from. The links provided are all to videos/articles that will hopefully help explain everything further.
Meat: So I'm sure this is the most obvious out of the 4 because this is the only one where you must kill the animal to get the product. But depending on how much research you've done prior to this, you might not be aware of how the other 3 harm animals. That's ok. Most people aren't aware of the cruelty of those industries. As for the meat industry, it's fairly easy to see how meat consumption is only possible through killing animals. The conditions that they go through, even in 'humane' farms, are probably not ones you would want to live in. It's really easy to separate ourselves from animals and their lives because we tend to see humans as the superior species to all others. But if you take a moment to place yourself in the animals position- it's a lot easier to connect to their circumstances. Picture yourself as a pig who's entire life purpose is to be made into bacon. You spend your entire life locked in a cage so small you can't even turn your body around. You're never able to go outside or communicate with others of your species. Your living space is dirty and dark. You live for a few months or years in absolutely horrible, disgusting, and crammed conditions and then to put you out of your misery they send a bolt through your head. And because profit is the main goal and the more animals killed, the more money made- effectiveness isn't the main priority. So sometimes the bolt doesn't kill, and they'll just slit your throat while you're hanging by your feet from the ceiling and let the blood pour out of your body while you flail and scream in pain or you might just be scalded to death. You can feel free to look up videos of this, I'm not making stuff up. These are not isolated cases either so don't for a second think that the animals you may eat are actually treated with lots of love. Before you came upon veganism you might've unconsciously been disconnected to animals, but now that you know some of the pain they go through- it can be easy to consciously disconnect because it causes you pain to know that others are going through pain. That was one mistake I made when transitioning to veganism. I tried to block that stuff out and therefore didn't really have that to push me to transition faster than I did. So I'm not saying you have to wake up and watch videos of animals being slaughtered everyday, but just to have that awareness of where your food is coming from.
Dairy: First I recommend checking out this 5 min video on the dairy industry. It's super short but still packs in so much information that (based on comments) has made so many people stop eating dairy instantly! If you're not into the graphic stuff then no worries, there are many other non-graphic videos out there that explain the cruelty in the dairy industry... or you can just continue reading! We'll start with the very basics. All animals that produce milk, produce it for their babies. Humans, cats, dogs, rats, cows- it doesn't matter- mothers produce milk for their young. So the only way for a female cow to produce milk, is to make her pregnant. Now if you do the math, you'll realize that there is a lot of demand for dairy in the world and the dairy farmers don't have time to sit around and wait for cows to mate whenever they please. So they use artificial insemination, which is basically taking the semen from a male cow and putting it into the female. Then they wait for the baby to to born, let it pop out, and take it away. Take a moment to imagine being a mother and watching your baby get ripped away from you at birth... The reason they do this is because if the calf was left with the mother, it would drink her milk (as nature intended)- but that's not what they want because the cows milk is suppose to be for the humans. So back to the baby; if it's male it will be killed within a few months for veal, or sometimes just days after birth if it is intended for lower grade use such as tv dinners. I knew many people before I went vegan who would say they'd never eat veal because it's only a baby and thats just cruel. But it's honestly the least cruel of them all! I mean would you rather live a short life of cruelty, exploitation, physical and emotional exhaustion, and horror that ends in death or a long life of cruelty, exploitation, physical and emotional exhaustion, and horror that ends in death. That's what happens to the female calves, they are raised to live a life just like their mothers. I shouldn't say live a life though- because they just purely exist. For our consumption of them. They exist to have their udders hooked up to a machine where they unwillingly give the milk meant for their young... to us. And when they're no longer profitable, or when they are SO exhausted that they just collapse and can no longer stand on their feet, they're taken to the slaughterhouse where guess what happens...
The dairy industry is the meat industry.
Eggs: Ah, good old eggs. Once you stop eating them and learn what they really are- they become the most disgusting food you could ever think of. Just like female humans release eggs when they ovulate, so do hens. Just like humans, hens don't lay eggs (naturally) every single day. But thanks to genetic manipulation- they can! How great! So the hens can put their bodies unwillingly through tons of stress so they lay 250+ eggs/year in stead of just 10 to 15. Because, once again, it's never about the wellbeing of the chicken, it's about $$. So they don't care how taxing the laying of that many eggs is on the body of the chickens, they just wanna make some cash! And the more chickens they can fit into a small space the better, so they crowd chickens into cages where they have no room to move. But that's not before they're painfully debeaked like they're inanimate objects on a production line. That happens much earlier in their lives, only to the females because they're the egg makers. The males on the other hand, don't do anything of use to humans so they just get ground up alive right away. Like tofu in a food processor. So the ones we can't use, we kill right away, and the ones we can use become slaves to our system. Their entire life is over-producing eggs for people to mindlessly consume when they are absolutely not necessary to human health. And then at the end of their wonderful lives they get their throats slit or they get scalded to death. Next they're turned into chicken nuggets or hot wings for us to drool over. Just like with dairy, the egg industry is the meat industry. You can't support one without supporting the other.
Honey: This is definitely the least obvious of all of them. And part of that is thankfully because they are usually exposed to less cruelty than in the other industries. But that doesn't just make it all love and good vibes for the bees. Just like in a 'humane' meat factory, the animals still endure pain and worse treatment than you'd want to go through yourself; just like how in a 'humane, free range' dairy farm, it's not 50 cows roaming around in 4 acres of land; bees are not living undisturbed by man when they are used to get honey. They are not living in the way they should or were meant to be. They, like the others listed above, are existing to be exploited by humans for food that we don't even need to survive. If you'd like an amazingly in depth article about why vegans don't eat honey, which goes into more depth than I do in this paragraph, click here. Otherwise, the first thing I want to mention is that is bees don't produce honey so we can take it and eat it. They also don't produce it just for the heck of it. They actually make it so they can use it! Over the colder part of the year, they use it as a way to store food since they aren't able to go out and forage and gather much food. Honey is full of tons of essential nutrients that are necessary to be bees and they need the energy from it to help them go about their daily duties. So when beekeepers extract the honey from the hives, they replace it with a sugar substitute that is not nearly as healthy for them as honey is. Another thing beekeepers will do is clip off the queen bee's wings so they don't leave the hive. Obviously it's harder to empathize with insects as compared to other animals based on the way we are taught to see them, but it's important not to separate yourself from these amazing creatures who just want to live in peace and freedom.
One amazing documentary called Earthlings highlights so many different aspects of animal cruelty and although it's graphic it's definitely something you should watch sometime :)
TRYING NEW THINGS
It's never a bad idea to try new things, right? And we're certainly not making any exceptions here. Chances are- there are so many vegan foods that you've never tried or never heard of that you could eat one new food for the rest of your life and never run out of options. I promise there are more plant based foods out there besides just fruits and veggies. It's likely that before you started this journey you didn't scope out vegan things every time you went to the grocery store sooo you might not feel like you have many options near you. I know I already briefly went over this but obviously if you live in a town with a population of 1,000- you probably won't be finding vegan hot dogs at your local gas station. But there are tons of products that are just kind of accidentally vegan, many of which you've probably had before.
If you do live in an area big enough that there are lots of unique and diverse foods, then that's great! Something I think you should definitely do is go to you grocery store(s) one day and just look around for a while. Discover some new fruits that you've never seen before, go down the ethnic foods aisle or through the natural section (if you have either of them). Just check out the places you don't usually go to.
For example, some cool things I've found/made since going vegan were:
- This cool thing called jackfruit, in a canned version
- These delicious black bean burgers
- Homemade sweet potato fries
- Lots of plant based yogurt
- Boom Chicka Pop popcorn (not all are vegan)(my favs are the sweet + salty and the sweet + spicy)
- Quinoa Salad (Mex-Style)
And those are just a few things.
Now the only thing that's more important than trying new foods important is trying new food combinations. I could probably make 50 different meals involving rice (which is cheap, tasty, and super easy-to-make in bulk) because I've tried so many random, and sometimes gross, combos with rice. You can also do a lot with potatoes... and pasta... and homemade pizzas.. and burritos.. and that's where you can create tons of diversity. With potatoes- you've got regular and sweet potatoes, you can boil, bake, or make fries out of them. From there- you can eat maybe a baked sweet potato with steamed veggies and beans or a boiled reg potato with some vegan chicken wings on the side.
So while you might not be super excited to try tofu or vegan cream cheese or whatever it may be, I think it's a really good idea in the long run to just go out of your food comfort zone and try new things if you're able to. Don't afraid to whip up weird concoctions in the kitchen because they could turn out super good! This is all a learning experience and it should seriously be fun- don't think that if you go vegan you can only eat boring tasteless food. If you explore your options, you will discover so many great foods and meals that you'll love. If you're anything like me, you'll be trying out a bunch of different recipes from online or in cookbooks in the beginning and then slowly find a few favorite meals and just eat those every single day. But however you go about it, What I Eat in A Day vids are great to find more ideas.
So try some new things... and enjoy :)