9 Tips If You're Thinking About Going Vegan

9 Tips If You're Thinking About Going Vegan

All vegans have once said, "I'll never go vegan"
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June will make one year since I have been vegan and if I am being honest, I wouldn't go back to eating meat or dairy products. I am still easing my way into veganism as a whole but veganism is as easy or as hard as you make it. And keep in mind that if you choose to go vegan, it is your own path. You cannot let people dictate your path for you, yes, even with a new lifestyle change regarding food.

Here are nine things to keep in mind if you are thinking of going vegan:

1. Everyone says they can never go vegan

I said it and the other vegan you know said it too. We have all been there. I knew six months before I went vegan that I was going to have to go vegan for my health and no part of me wanted to do it. Not until the time came did I just pick up and get rid of everything in my apartment that wasn't vegan, and it was honestly that easy. "No" becomes so easy after that.

2. Ease into it

One thing that people don't understand is veganism can either be a long process or just an easy clean cut, but either one is fine. I still find myself eating cupcakes that someone has made or certain types of breads, knowing that neither are vegan. I know people who never had a problem with saying "no" to certain foods that contained animal product but I also know people who spent years trying to do that. Take your time, there is no need to rush. It's your life.

3. Not all vegans are "preachy"

But we do talk about it a lot. And no, you don't have to tell people you are vegan. I am starting to learn that, "I am allergic to that" is a little bit easier. It saves you so much time and effort for those who do not and cannot understand.

4. B12 and Vitamin D

Don't forget these supplements for you will have a difficult time finding them in a vegan diet. Unless you eat dirt and get enough sunlight.

5. PROTEIN!

I, as well as every other vegan, cannot stress this enough. You do not need all that protein and the protein that you do need can be found in so many vegan items.

6. Do your research

Nothing I hate more than vegans who do not research anything. I am probably biased because a year in and I still research things every day, but research is so important. Find out where your "fake" meat is coming from, find out why you do not need all the protein people push down you, and then find out ways to argue your side on why you do not need a lot of protein.

7. Not all products in the "vegan" section of your store are vegan

GOVEGGIE CHEESE IS NOT VEGAN. Casein is important to keep your eye on and definitely read labels. Don't think you know it all because you don't.

8. You will hear so much shit about it

Honestly, I have never gotten as much shit about anything than I do about being vegan. From family members, from friends, and definitely from strangers. Whether it's about them not wanting to go vegan (but no one asked?), my protein intake, me dying anyway, or about how plants have feelings, you will legit hear it all. And no, I have no idea why people are so against a lifestyle difference.

9. Limit soy Intake

When you are fresh into veganism, your first thought is to buy tofu and soymilk. You will find numerous articles about how soy is good for you or reasons soy is bad but that sounds a little sketchy. Processed soy is worse than unprocessed soy, but either way, both should be limited.

Soy affects your estrogen levels and not in a healthy way, especially women who suffer from any hormonal imbalances (and no, soy is bad for men too). I have read my fair share of studies and have talked to a nutritionist about eating soy products, and it's just safer for you to stay away. Do your research!

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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More Burgers, More Food to Talk About

February of last year I wrote my very first post about Little Bad Wolf's highly underrated burger in Chicago. Give that one a read, my detail is comical – no joke.

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Since that tasty treat at Little Bad Wolf, there are others to share the spotlight and applaud! Here are my recent and ever-growing list of burgers to try when you are in the Chicago city limits.

Easter came early last year, April 1, and you bet I took full advantage to get a burger right after that day. I set my sights on Southport Corridor Brewery's burger. Listed at a reasonable $14, your plate presents itself with a double-steak patty, mustard herb mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, Detroit pickles, and a sesame bun! Pair that sandwich with a tasty beer on their rotating menu, and its lights out. Beer, burgers, and oh, did I mention their vinyl selection? Make it a top stop the next time you are in the area.

A few months later, enjoying a week away with the boys, we stopped at a local establishment in Richmond, IL called the Richmond Brathaus. They have a Hawaiian-take on what they title, the Maui Wowee, and boy was I floored from that creation. Swiss cheese, sautéed onions, cherry wood smoked bacon, grilled pineapple and cherry chipotle BBQ combine for what is an excellent sandwich – but to top it off, I got the "Haus fries," which contain chili and cheese – savory heaven. If you are just over the border in Wisconsin, map search "Richmond BratHaus," I guarantee you are going to like what you eat.

My last burger of 2018 was at a newer establishment in the West Loop from the West Coast (California), known as Ballast Point Brewery. The Ballast Point beers speak for themselves, from their "sculpin" line to specialty barrel aged, and rose-influenced beers. They are always top quality. On a cold winter night, there was nothing I wanted more than a delicious burger from this establishment. After a thorough look at the menu, my eyes kept wandering back to the West Coast Griddle Burger, which had American cheese, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, and "wonder" sauce on a brioche bun. They also offer you the option of three in-house sauces as dipping options for your fries. Do it. Even if it is not for the burger, go to the place, especially in the summer for their rooftop!

After four months, my journey for the best burgers in Chicago continues. I continually check Google for listings and names, making sure I am still on the best path. If you have any suggestions, feel free to shoot me a comment or message – recommendations are always welcomed by this guy. Until next time, keep eating, good eats!

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