There’s a lot of information on veganism out there these days both good and bad. Unfortunately, not all of it can be trusted, or at least that’s the experience I have had. I read so many articles/blogs/books when I first went vegan that promised a myriad of amazing side effects to being vegan; some even called it a panacea for any of your ills. Other articles said that veganism is a terrible lifestyle and there’s no way anyone could survive eating only lettuce (dramatic much?). Everybody is different and will have varying experiences when making a big life change like going vegan. I want to tell you about my experience and my vegan truths.
Claim: Veganism will make your face radiant and your skin clear. My truth: Being vegan didn’t help with acne. In fact, I had the worst acne of my life in the 9 months after committing to a vegan diet. Unfortunately it was related to hormonal imbalances and no matter how well or cleanly I ate it didn’t go away without the help of 3 different prescriptions. Believe me, I tried waiting it out for 9 months for my diet to help. I ate clean, I ate raw, I juiced and nothing helped. I did not want to admit defeat and that my clean diet choices really didn’t have an effect on my skin…trust me I wanted it to work out. However when it came to the point that I started experiencing scarring from acne, I decided to go on medication. 3 months of medication cleared my skin up and balanced my hormones and now yes, my skin is radiant!
My skin last summer (not even its worst)
My skin now, so clear!
Claim: the weight will fall off and you will be naturally slim. My truth: I haven’t lost any weight from being vegan. No matter if I’m stuffing my face with anything I want, eating higher raw, exercising and watching what I eat…I stay within the same 3lb range. I have decided that my body was already at its happy weight when I went vegan so there was no weight to really lose. I have since put up the scale and started to focus on how I feel, not what I weigh.
Claim: you can eat whatever you want because vegan food is healthy food! My Truth: just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Just like with any other eating style, healthy choices are everything. You could eat soy meats, fake cheese, and coconut ice cream for dinner or you could have a dish made with grains, beans, and lots of produce. Both would be vegan, but which do you think is healthier? It’s all about greens and veggies people.
Claim: vegans are sickly and frail and can’t be athletes. My truth: I am stronger and more fit than ever! Since becoming vegan I have increased the weight I use during strength training. Oh and I also went from zero running to completing two half-marathons! I consider myself an athlete and vegan foods fuel my fitness, they don’t hinder it.
Claim: a vegan diet can help with your digestion. My truth: Yes! This is true. We are about to go into TMI territory here, but work with me. I always considered myself lucky to have good digestion before. A lot of women struggle with irregularity and I was never one of them. However, things have only improved since being vegan. I am extremely regular now and feel like my insides are more “cleaned out” than they were before. Aren’t you glad you know my bathroom details now? And it’s not just me…a quick google will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about vegans and their BMs.
Claim: vegan diets (specifically raw vegan) will give you so much energy that you can get by on less sleep (some said less than 5 hours a night). My truth: a solid 8 hours of sleep is non-negotiable for my health. While I do have great energy, I also realize that sleep is paramount to feeling my best. Just ask my husband…it bugs him how much I worry about getting my 8 hours in! I can do okay on 7 but if I only get 6 hours? Fugetaboutit…I’m just not myself. [do yourself a favor RIGHT NOW and google “cute sleepy kitten” …you’re welcome]
Claim: vegan diets are extremely restrictive (in fact, most of the time you read a mainstream article on veganism it says “strict vegan diet”). My truth: I think I speak collectively for the vegans out there when I say HA! I have a more varied diet now than ever before! Just check out the foods I eat on a day-to-day basis. If it weren’t for veganism I probably wouldn’t eat such a wide variety of produce not to mention quinoa, barley, buckwheat, kale, green smoothies, or beans (I ate NO beans before going vegan, gasp!). There is nothing strict about vegan food. Instead of thinking “I don’t get to eat meat anymore” I think “what delicious meal am I going to make next?!”
Claim: you will never be able to go out to eat again. My truth: now more than ever there are an abundance of vegan dining options. I enjoy vegan food in a wide variety of restaurants: Mediterranean, Mexican, Japanese, burgers and more. So many restaurants are becoming more accommodating to those with differing diet preferences. With a little preparation (searching menus online ahead of time) and requests from servers or kitchen staff, many meals can easily be made vegan. Don’t forget a nice please and thank you will go a long way!
Claim: Say bye-bye to your social life. My truth: I have had very little problem being a social vegan. In fact, when I make vegan food for other people it usually goes something like this: “there’s no way it could be good – wow that smells/looks delicious – okay maybe I’ll try a bite – wow this is so good.” If I am going to a party or on a trip, I just plan ahead and bring either a whole meal or a snack to eat while I am there (easy travel bites are fruit, nuts, Larabars, etc…). And now, I consider myself more outgoing than ever…somehow becoming vegan just feels right with myself and it makes me a happier and more confinement person.
I think the fact that a 7 day “vegan experiment” is still lasting over a year later is truth enough that this lifestyle works for me! Are you vegan? If so, what are your vegan truths?