Today marks exactly one year since I’ve been vegan. As cliché as it sounds, this year has gone by so fast. When I started my vegan journey I had no clue how long I would last and thought that the change might be too hard for me to maintain. I’m happy to prove myself wrong; one year on I’m happy, healthy and never turning back.
To mark this anniversary I’m sharing with you ten things I have learnt throughout my first year of veganism. I’m so excited to keep learning more things this next year but first, here are the things I have learnt so far:
- Fruit is awesome. I’m starting by stating the obvious! Before I was vegan I liked fruit, but this past year I’ve really fallen in love with it. I eat such a variety of fruit now and in so many different ways; veganism has really taught me to love pure food.
- Veggies are just as cool. Just like with fruit, you can’t go wrong with vegetables. I fell in love with avocados, brussel sprouts and mushrooms this year, and just vegetables in general. Again, this pure form of food is something I’ve grown to really enjoy.
- Intuitive eating. Learning to eat intuitively has been a big lesson for me, and I’m still learning it now. Before I was vegan I had a little voice in my head telling me “you already ate two hours ago, you shouldn’t eat again!” whenever my stomach grumbled. I’ve since realised that if my body needs food, it’ll tell me. So on some days, I eat every two hours; so what! Instead of gaining weight (which I, and many others, assume), I’ve actually shed some pounds.
- Creative cooking. I’ve always loved cooking, and veganism has taught me to be more creative in the kitchen. When I started I struggled to create meals without my usual “staples” such as meat and diary. This pushed me to find alternatives, and has resulted in some great original recipes.
- There is a amazing vegan community. I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again; I really love the vegan community. Over on my Instagram profile I love interacting with like minded people, sharing recipes and just discussing life. I’ve met some great new people this year, and it’s really been a blessing.
- Carbs are you friend. I know the vegan community has a reputation for always saying this but it’s true: eat your carbs! I, just like many people, used to see carbs as the enemy. Rice, bread, potatoes, pasta; those things make you fat, right? WRONG! I now have massive helpings of carbs with every meal, and my body loves it.
- Stop caring what people think. I’ve mainly had a lot of support from family and friends this past year, but of course there has also been some criticism. I’ve developed a thick skin to inconsiderate comments regarding my diet and lifestyle change. If people don’t agree with me, that’s fine, I’m not going to let it affect my day.
- Always carry snacks. This might seem simple, but it took me a while to really learn this lesson! I naively assumed there would always be a vegan option for me wherever I went, but I was repeatedly proven wrong. I’ve learnt to always have a snack with me; granola bars, bananas, dried fruit, anything to keep me full.
- Do research beforehand. This ties in to the lesson above; do some research on vegan options before you go somewhere. This lesson especially applied to me on my two month solo travel adventure in Thailand. Whenever I went to a new place, I checked Happycow for vegan eateries. This saved me time and never left me hungry!
- Be kind to yourself. This lesson might be last, but it’s also the most important one I have learnt. This past year I’ve made mistakes. I’ve accidentally eaten foods with traces of dairy, lost my temper at ill-informed questions, used a skin product which was turned out to be tested on animals. I had to teach myself that it’s okay; everyone makes mistakes. I was learning, and still am. Part of the learning process is making mistakes and learning from them, there’s no need to be mad at yourself about it.