Almost two months ago, I decided to make the lifestyle change of going vegan. I had been a vegetarian for almost four years now, and I have always hated the industry as a whole. So I decided it was finally time to go forward with a plant-based diet only.
There were a lot of things that scared me about going vegan, and I think that's why it took me so long. I heard things about struggling to get enough protein, the difficulties of eating plant-based on a college campus in the middle of Michigan, and most importantly: how hard it would be. That was the kicker for me. Going vegetarian was simple for me. I quit cold turkey and never looked back, but I knew it would be different when I finally decided to go vegan. It scared me, and I didn't want to slip up and cave and, essentially, fail. I was someone that consumed dairy in most if not every meal, and completely cutting that out was cutting out a lot. I had done my research and learned a lot about being vegan, but the one thing that stood out in my mind was how hard it would be for me.
Except that... It wasn't.
Instead of quitting on the spot like I did with eating meat, I figured I would start slow. I made the decision to only have dairy with one meal per day, as opposed to all three plus snacks. And that alone was relatively easy. I started drinking almond milk instead of dairy milk, which I was surprised to find that, in my opinion, it tasted a lot better than cow's milk (and this is means a lot coming from me--I used to love milk. Like, drank multiple cups a day love). I stopped eating cheese and crackers and stuck with just crackers. I ate chilli without cheese or sour cream. I bought cashew milk ice cream (again: a lot better than regular ice cream).
And then I just stopped eating dairy altogether.
I waited for cravings to hit. I waited to slip up. I waited to lose any willpower to continue.
But I kept waiting. Because those thoughts and feelings rarely showed up.
The longer its been since I've eaten cheese, the less I crave it. Sure, I miss mac and cheese and pizza as much as the next (vegan) person. But Domino's makes cheeseless pizza, and I'm a fiend for veggie toppings. And it's pretty easy to make an imitation cheese sauce for noodles with carrots or cashews (I promise its tasty!). Sure, I even miss meat sometimes: but that's what veggie burgers are for and veggie "chik'n." Not the healthiest, but hey--it isn't as unhealthy as real meat, so I don't let myself stress over it. A lot of my daily diet consists of veggies like bell peppers, tomatoes, peas, green beans and so on. I eat baby kale (it tastes just like spinach!) almost every single day. And I get my protein through tofu, quinoa, lentils, beans and nuts. Yummy, healthy and filling.
Going vegan really isn't as hard as everyone says it is. Protein really isn't that hard to find. And cravings really do fade over time. Going vegan wasn't entirely easy, but it's gone a lot more smoothly than I ever thought it would. And not only do I feel good in my body, but I feel good knowing I'm not contributing to the meat or dairy industry.