Being vegan for almost eight months, I've experienced quite a range of reactions to my lifestyle. Some get quite repetitive while others simply make me shake my head. Don't get me wrong, I love when people are curious and want to be educated about what being vegan is like! However, there are some comments and questions I could just do without.

1. "But how you get your protein?"

If I had a dollar for every time I'm asked this, I could pay my tuition. My response is, "Where your 'food' gets it." Protein sources are found in all whole plant foods and plant based foods. How do you think cows maintain their weight and build? Why do you think apes are so strong and large? Their diet is plants and, in the case of apes, some fruits.

Protein is easy for me to get with all the vegetables, seeds, and plant-based meals I consume. Yes, I am one of those vegans who enjoys tofu. If you make it correctly (with plenty of seasoning and sauces), it can be the most satisfying lunch or dinner. My favorite is teriyaki tofu with chili sauce. It packed a great amount of protein.

2. "Don't you miss bacon?"

Simply put, no. I don't miss feeling the heaviness and discomfort in my stomach. I also do not miss contributing to animal cruelty. Bacon also factors into high cholesterol and increased risk of cancer as well as heart disease. By removing this processed meat from my diet, I have decreased my risk for these diseases significantly.

3. "What do you eat?"

Pretty much the same foods I ate when I wasn't vegan but they're just adjusted. I never was a big meat eater beforehand and I had a lactose allergy as well (ice cream was my biggest vice). I simply leaned more toward plant-based, dairy-free options while I transitioned and soon my diet became 100% vegan. Foods from brands such as Daiya (cheese and pizza), Follow Your Heart (cheese), and Gardein (meatless products) helped me in my first few months of veganism. Now I tend to eat more whole plant-based foods and as little processed food as possible. I eat a lot of pasta, rice, tofu, vegetables, seeds, nuts, fruits, and plant based milks! You just have to get creative with cooking.

4. "Won't you get tired and weak?"

I'm the most energetic I've been in years. I found my recovery time after workouts is faster and I can sustain longer workouts than when I wasn't vegan. I was anemic and prone to hypoglycemia before becoming vegan and after I found I was eating enough to sustain my blood sugar and iron levels. I rarely take my iron supplement anymore and have felt incredible. It is recommended to take a multivitamin for overall body health and, in the cases of some, a B12 supplement. Personally, I haven't needed a B12 supplement but everyone is different. My body is also leaner and I feel overall healthy.

And finally....

5. "Why?"

I became a vegan, at first, for the animals. I never felt right consuming meat and even felt guilt for consuming the flesh of another being that had once been alive. After watching a documentary which revealed the truth of the dairy industry, I felt like such a hypocrite to consume dairy which is a result of exploitation of a female body. I no longer wanted to be part of a corrupt and deadly system.

I do not regret becoming vegan for a moment. Sure, sometimes it's a bummer that a restaurant might have to modify my option. But I would rather have one minute of modifying my order than contribute to the suffering of innocent animals. Being vegan makes a difference. All you have to do is educate yourself and make the connection.

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