How To Go Vegan Without Wanting To Kill Yourself

Going vegan has become increasingly popular for one reason or another, so much so that it’s almost annoyingly trendy. Barring some obnoxious reasons for going vegan (such as reading Skinny Bitch), you might want to try a vegan diet because A) it will make you healthier, and B) you love animals and would like to avoid hurting them. Clearly, your parents have been telling you to eat your vegetables your entire life — there is no way a (well-thought out) plant-based diet can be bad for you. But because here in America we tend to be obsessed with steak and cheese, going vegan can be really hard. Or it can be really easy, depending on how you go about it. So whether you’re looking to make a complete lifestyle transition, or you’re just curious to see if it’s for you, do your research first and foremost! But also read these helpful tricks I have discovered on my journey to almost-vegandom.

Get a blender. Whether you are vegan or not, blenders are your friend — they are primarily good for disguising “superfoods” (read: things that are good for your body but taste weird, like green tea or flaxseed oil), in delicious fruit smoothies. They also take the guesswork out of eating. Just stuff a bunch of fruit/spinach/protein powder/other healthy crap in the blender with your choice of non-dairy milk or ice cubes and make yourself a yummy drink which will keep you full, vitamin-ridden and feeling good about your life until the next meal. Super easy.

Don’t worry about replacing everything. Eating vegan can be very expensive, which is one reason why many people end up shying away from it. But it really doesn’t have to be — it only gets really pricey if you drop all kinds of $$$ on faux meats and cheeses, or basically anything processed or packaged. You don’t need all those direct meat “substitutes,” just get creative in the kitchen. Make your own veggie burgers and freeze them for later or whatever. All you really need to buy is a good cookbook (or five) and the rest will fall into place.

“It’s vegan, so it’s healthy.” NO. Biggest mistake. One time I decided to become all healthy and buy a “natural” deodorant, which only resulted in a horrible rash. The moral: “natural” doesn’t mean “good for you,” and “vegan” doesn’t entail “healthy.” Eating vegan junk food all day won’t make you healthy. Don’t be fooled by cute packaging filled with trees and Papyrus font. Just read the damn ingredients.

Know your weak spots. For me, those weak spots are hangovers. I can be all veggie-filled and content throughout the day and night, but one too many shots of Jager and the next morning I’m like Godzilla stomping through the land of cheese fries. The solution: have vegan snacks on hand, live in an actual city where delicious bad-for-you vegan food is readily available, or drink less. That’s basically all.

Don’t beat yourself up. It’s not the end of the world if you succumb to a piece of pizza, or forget to order your latte with soymilk. No one is perfect. It’s not like I threw out all my leather jackets upon deciding to cut out animal products. And I can assure you I’ll be eating pierogies at some point (I’m Polish, it’s required). But it’s no big deal. Going vegan should be about wanting to be healthier overall and living a more compassionate lifestyle, not becoming The Perfect Vegan and thinking you ruined your life and everything you stand for by taking that one bite of cheese. Don’t apologize for your past; just make better choices in the future. TC mark

image – SweetOnVeg

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  • Nishant

    Good points. But I would like to add something I say to European friends. The best way to get vegan/vegetarian and not want to kill yourself is to cook in cuisines which were designed around such food in the first place, namely any of the several Indian cuisines!

    • Kelsea

      Agreed, but also just learning to cook in general will save your ass. It can be pricey to rely on prepared foods or eating out, and it’s a really fun, creative journey learning to cook vegan!

      • Nishant

        yes! learning to cook was an awesome experience! :)

        i think everyone should cook. like, everyone.

  • katarzyna

    I was reading this the whole time thinking “but what about pierogi?”
    crazy
    veganism+polishness don’t mix well
    ;D

    • Danielle

      @katarzyna Ever looked up vegan pierogi recipes? :D Even if you tried one before and you did not like it (we all have different taste buds for sure) It’s alright because there’s more vegan pierogi recipes out there, and you might even find one you love. Hope you give it a try! ^^

  • Anonymous

    This was a great article.

  • Sesamesnaps

    Step 1: don’t become vegan.

    • weirdo

      Step 2: continue to devour corpses without shame somehow

      • GUEST

        Step 3: Have shame about something that’s completely normal on the planet we live on.  Ponder own existence.

      • Blah

        no shame required.

      • guest

         Step 4: Don’t read articles on how to be a vegan if you don’t want to.

      • Guestropod

        Step 5: boogle your snoogle while you brumdum your noonsberries

      • Anonymous

        concentrated animal feeding operations and industrial fishing methods (a significant concern of many who choose to avoid animal products) have only been seen on this planet over the past ~50 years of the ~2.5 million years that humans have existed

  • mademoiselle

    #2 totally, whenever I hear people saying that being a vegetarian/vegan is expensive I always cringe; i spend way less than other people on food – i rarely buy processed of packed food – of course one has to cook but then homemade food is always superior, vegan or not.

    And green tea tastes good :p

    • http://www.facebook.com/caitlinvee Caitlin Vernon

      I completely agree with this! Chickpeas, lentils and other beans are way way wayyyyy cheaper than meat and cheese. I live in the UK (don’t know what the equivalent would be in American dollars) and I can make a massive meal with couscous/brown rice + some form of bean/legume + veggies for about £2. Two chicken breasts alone will be at least double the price of my entire meal.

      I’m definitely not a strict vegan, but I tend to shop for and prepare vegan meals because they’re healthy and cheap. 

      • mademoiselle

         Exactly! That is what I do too, I  rarely use soy, tofu or meat replacers. And chick peas, lentils, black beans quinoa, cous-cous, rice – everything is so delicious and cheap. Not to mention all the variety of veggies one can buy – which I know that in some countries are a bit expensive, but thankfully here they are not.

        I’m not vegan either but I have been a ovo-lacto-vegetarian [very little ovo-lacto for the past few years, but alas I have a soft spot for all types of cheese] for 13 years and I am happy and still alive.

  • http://twitter.com/alisonwisneski alisonwisneski

    There’s nothing cute about Papyrus.

  • Anonymous

    I made vegan pumpkin cheesecake once and my aunt told me it was crap.. and then I made it again and told her it wasn’t vegan and she loved it.. #6 don’t surround yourself with people who have unjustifiable hang-ups about food

    • Domino

      YES. my family are total dicks about me not wanting to eat animal corpse and all

  • http://twitter.com/Oliver_and_SJ Stephanie Johnson

    I was skeptical when I first saw the title. Only thing more annoying than Skinny-Bitch-trendy veganism, is pseudo-informative articles that make being vegan the butt of the joke and write about how pretentious or hard or unnatural veganism is. Or about how much they love bacon. We get it, already.

    But this was funny, accurate, and completely realisitic. Thanks for taking the time to write and share it!

  • Aaron

    beautifully written and spot on!

  • Saradio

    I’m vegan (for five years) and Polish so I totally approve!  My one vegan “clause” is to eat my babcia’s pierogis. 

    Also a practical tip:  If you’re going somewhere new, EAT AHEAD.  and always have snacks on you. 

  • http://www.projectkale.blogspot.com/ Ali @ ProjectKale

    The tips are great and spot-on.  I have to say the title was misleading – I, too, was expecting a vegan bashing session, going on and on about cheese cravings.  But these are great, realistic tips.  

    I love how you de-bunk the “it’s too expensive” misconception.  Just eat FOOD.  Whole, real food.  Not that expensive, not that difficult, and the best thing you can do for your body.And even if it’s becoming “trendy,” what a great trend to follow!  Perhaps all the overwhelming research coming out about the dangers of eating animal products is helping push along this trend…..and maybe one day we’ll look at meat-eaters like we look at smokers.  People who are inviting disease into their bodies….

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    Thanks, but no thanks.  I’m getting a burger!

  • Nat

    I’m a polish, and a vegan. I eat cabbage/potato pierogi, just as delicious as the cheese ones! Just the check the label to see whats in the dough. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VYDVROKY4PUBOKUHB3QF42FH2Y Paul S

    Yeah, I have a vegan friend who just eats sugar and bread. Those are WAY worse for you than most meats. And as far as cutting out all meat,  let’s not kid ourselves – a fillet of grilled halibut is not the same thing as an Oscar Meyer wiener.

  • Heather

    I really like a lot of the faux meats and cheeses available now days. Yes, they’re expensive but they’re an excellent way to transition to a vegan diet. I generally wait for things to go on sale, and buy them then. Target and other grocery stores just recently started carrying Gardein, which makes some excellent vegan meat substitutes, and they generally charge a lot less than Whole Foods.  My #1 tip is to wait about 3-4 weeks before consuming any type of fake cheese such as daiya or follow your heart. Your taste buds need time to get used to not eating dairy products before you start to consume any of the fake stuff. When I first tried Daiya (about a week after going vegan) I hated it, but I tried it again a month later and loved it. Overall I would recomend to try to consume as many whole foods as possible, but don’t feel guilty for giving in to vegan meets and cheeses. They’re still generally healthier and better for the environment then their traditional animal based counterparts.

  • Mila Jaroniec

    Damn I didn’t realize there were so many Polish vegans! :)

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  • shannon

    love this. these are all great, realistic tips. there are so many misconceptions about veganism, mainly that it’s expensive and ~so hard~ but it can be a really cheap way to be healthy and once you get used to eating differently, it requires no effort at all, at least for me. a+++ 5 billion stars

  • Cheyney

     I have to eat vegan & gluten-free, & it is the hardest thing in the world :( didn’t realize how heavily I relied on carbs.

  • http://ziegstein.wordpress.com ziegstein

    I don’t think that so much shame should come from the actual eating of the animal itself, as I feel that it should come from knowing that the animal is practically tortured from the beginning of its miserable existence to the time that what is left of it arrives on your plate. It isn’t too difficult to make an argument for an animal being a food source. Where I personally have the problem with the meat and dairy industry is how inhumanely they treat these animals. Surely there have to be more compassionate ways to slaughter. As I’ve come to know more and more about the process (information is everywhere) over the years, it has started to feel like the only logical choice is to adopt a plant-based diet.

    • RayRayRayRay

      That IS the only way. There is NO WAY to rationalize other lives. Strict Vegan is the only way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dee.light.946 Dee Light

    Fun and enjoyable post. Thank you. Yeah my blender is becoming my new best friend.

  • RayRayRayRay

    Fuck you, you’re wrong. Some good material, but dont’ make Veganism into a casual on-again, off-again deal. If you’re compassionate towards animals, you WON’T EAT any. If you’re not, you’re not vegan. Sorry, Charlie.

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/you-are-what-you-eat-or-dont-eat/ You Are What You Eat (Or Don’t Eat) | Thought Catalog

    […] I made the transition from a nearly-vegan diet to a fully vegan one. I did this because I finally decided to pull my head out of my ass and […]

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/07/you-are-what-you-eat-or-don%e2%80%99t-eat/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] I made the transition from a nearly-vegan diet to a fully vegan one. I did this because I finally decided to pull my head out of my ass and […]

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