An Honest Look at What it’s Like To Be Vegan After a Couple of Years

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  1. I was vegetarian for about 8 years before taking the plunge to become vegan. My husband had been vegetarian for 20 years before becoming vegan. After knowing what I know now about animal abuse, I could never, ever go back to eating animals or dairy. Anyway, at first I found it difficult to find foods that satisfied me, but now i am LOVING it. We’ve been vegan for three years now, and we eat the most amazing things. We’re lucky to have a few vegan places in our area, but mostly I do all of the cooking. I loved to cook before becoming vegan, and that hasn’t changed. There are so many great recipes and tips online, and we now have about 15 things we make pretty regularly…things that I would go to a restaurant to order if I was unable to cook them for myself. My hubby keeps telling me to start a vegan blog, but I just don’t have the time. lol! The main challenge for us has been acceptance of our lifestyle with friends. But we always hold firm, and the only thing we miss is cheese. Hopefully they’ll come up with some great melty/stretchy vegan cheeses because if they do, it will be life-changing. I think it will also encourage a lot more people to make the switch to being plant-based.

  2. So when the pandemic hit I was looking for a house and finally bought one June 2020. I was lucky because it was only 95k but it needed some work one being new gas pipes..and my stove was on back order….so in a way that forced me to go vegan BC I couldn’t cook raw meat..I only had a microwave and toaster oven. Then in jan 2021 I watched gamechangers and said well that’s it no more meat or dairy for me! I slowly took away eggs and so far have been enjoying all recipes made so far…one thing you didn’t mention was the bloating when you transition to plants lol…it goes away after awhile but phew it was unpleasant…now to take care of my sweet tooth.

    1. Hi Brenda, what an interesting vegan transition! Ah yes, the bloating can be intense, although I felt pretty bloated before being vegan as well. Thanks for sharing with us, and kudos on your commitment and buying a house.

  3. I appreciate your honesty. Eating healthy (vegan or not) can get a little repetitive. I hope you can add a few new recipes to your rotation that get you excited.

    1. My body reacts the same. I know it’s a grind, but even if you add one new exciting recipe a week, that could start to create a more positive experience for you. If you haven’t already, check out our recipe website. One of my personal favourites is the peanut soup.

  4. Hi, my family has been vegetarian for 15 years and now we are mostly vegan. My biggest challenge is what you call “bored”, I go through times where I cannot get inspiration to cook and just feel like nothing satisfies me. The good news it that these periods are transient. Eventually I will see a cooking show or start sifting through books and get inspired. I even joined a food delivery service for a while and that was nice because I would be surprised with the choices every week and it made me try recipes I would have otherwise just flipped over and ignored. It is nice to know I am not alone in this. Let me know where you get inspiration from. Patricia

  5. I go with the nearly same approach as above. I have learned to make it work 98 percent and not fuss over the 2 percent. I realize that there are times I miss things. I just try minimize them. It is the same approach as the pandemic, you can’t eliminate all risks, but you can reduce them to practically nothing. I justify that 2 percent by knowing that I better than 90 percent of the population, so it is progress. People get stuck on the all or nothing mentality. I prefer the the term plant based diet because doing vegan beyond food is just to hard to do correctly. People can be just effective on those resources by reducing usage and recycling. You don’t have to have new leather jacket you can buy a second hand one. Instead of using non vegan shampoo everyday wash your every other day. Those may be bad examples but the concept is there. I have been plant based for 4 years and people ask me if would every go back and always give a solid no. My blood work levels have essential gone back to the same as my 20’s and I am now nearing 40

  6. By buddy and I finished running the grand canyon rim to rim to rim. Famished, we barely made to the last opened restaurant. I ordered a veggie burger. Starving, I wolfed it down. The waitor came back to check on us. I told him it was the best veggie burger ever. He went silent, ran to the kitchen and back, apologized profusely,and told me he served me a Buffalo burger!. He was mortified. I suppose he thought I would become unglued. It was an honest mistake. My buddy nearly fell off his chair laughing! It wasn’t the end of the world. I had only been vegetarian a short while. Since then, my home town of Nashville, got the first US Copper Branch vegan restaurant. Nashville host one of the largest Veg Fest events. The local entrepreneurs of the Southern V started a very successful soul food vegan restaurant. I don’t preach. Just try to lead by example. Hopefully more Tennesseans will come around. Thanks for the honest article. Checking out some of your recipes now!

    1. No way! Lol! I can picture the scene. I love your approach. Keep it positive and accepting, and people will take notice of you. Thanks for reading and for sharing your experience with us.

  7. Hello, I have been vegan for almost 4 years, and in that time, I have worked for 2 different doctor’s offices. We have pharmaceutical reps that order lunch for the whole office, and it sometimes presents problems. While a lot of times, they will order something vegan especially for me, which is very thoughtful, sometimes it turns out to be vegetarian, with cheese or butter or something. Then I have a dilemma. But the bigger problem is all of the waste. The people I work with are not big on taking leftovers home, which there always are, and sometimes there is more leftover than was eaten. While I am not comfortable taking home animal flesh, it breaks my heart knowing those animals died for nothing, even more so than if they had been eaten. I try my best to convince people to take the food home. Sometimes I take the vegetarian stuff home and pick around it. I wish I had somewhere close by to take it all, like a homeless shelter or something.

    1. Hi Tia, I totally feel your pain with the whole waste thing. All you can do is continue giving feedback to the reps to help educate them on what even is, and over time the mistakes will go down. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I’m sure many vegans can relate to your dilemma.

    2. A meat-eating friend throws so much meat away. I take it home and leave it out for foxes.

  8. Thank you for this article, it was interesting to read your perspective, and I appreciated hearing your honest experiences. I’ve been vegan for a month or so now. I’ve tried being vegetarian at different periods of my life. I was vegetarian for four years as a teenager and young adult, but I always missed meat and I never really felt healthy. My fingernails got super soft which was odd, I think it was some sort of nutrient deficiency, and after about six months of eating meat again they once again felt normal.

    Anyway, I’m doing ok with being vegan so far. I think I have more knowledge of nutrition now, and my reasons are a little different: before, I was concerned because of the way animals are treated in the meat industry, but was still willing to eat animals that had been humanely raised and slaughtered, but now, in addition to that, I’m doing this because I’m trying to follow Zen Buddhism, and am trying not to consume any animals at all for any reason. I’ve been careful to eat lots of protein such as tofu, seitan, nuts, and legumes. I enjoy cooking and I’ve been having fun learning different recipes and different ways to prepare these foods. My partner is not vegetarian or vegan, but he likes having a low-meat diet, and as long as I am cooking, he is vegan like me. I have found it difficult to eat out or find “fast” vegan meals and snacks. For now, I think I may be ok with eating some dairy cheese when I go out to eat if nothing else is available. But I feel like I can enjoy learning about and experiencing animals more now that I don’t have the cognitive dissonance of being fascinated by animals but also eating them. I’m thinking of getting a cat and I’ve been struggling with what the most ethical way would be to feed the cat, since cats are obligate carnivores. I’ve been thinking of buying small amounts of local, humanely raised meat for the cat and learning to make my own cat food that would be healthy for it.

    1. Hi Robin, I’m glad you found my post interesting.
      Thanks for sharing your vegan experience so far. I think it’s admirable that you’ve continued to persevere after trying vegetarianism on and off over the years.
      I’ve always wanted to do a deep dive into Zen Buddism, and I think you may have pushed me to do so.
      I think a big reason why I’ve been able to stay and embrace veganism for almost six years is that I’ve really started to enjoy cooking. Of course, it helps that my wife is always cooking up delicious vegan recipes for the blog 🙂 So the fact that you have an interest in plant-based cooking is key to the sustainability of the lifestyle. I hope you’re able to find a solution for the cat feed.

  9. I’ve been vegan for about 6 weeks. I’m worried because I’m already over eating beans, lentils, quinoa and veggies. There are so few veggies that I enjoy – I’ve been trying new things, but I just don’t like very much. I became vegan to save the animals – I don’t miss meat, but I’m wondering if I can maintain this lifestyle. I hope it gets easier.

    1. Hi Michelle! First of all, thank you for your compassion. You are incredibly selfless to embark on this journey. So make sure you stay connected to your “why” when it gets tough.

      I’m curious, why do you feel you’re overeating beans, lentils, quinoa and veggies? These are incredibly nutrient foods—and thought it’s better to have more of these foods. Is it more that you’re getting bored with what you’re eating?

      Also, are you doing this with anyone else?

  10. Hi Aina! Apologies, I only just saw your comment. It’s really nice to hear that you have inspired your boyfriend to be open to veganism. We hear time and time again how hard it is to be vegan when your partner is not. Thanks for sharing your experience. Michael

  11. Hi! Thanks for this post. I am vegan for 8 years now. The time I have started was tough in my country (Europe) because noone really understood the word “vegan”. I was the only one vegan person I knew myself at that time and at the beginning I was seen as a very “strict” among my vegetarian friends. Indeed I was – I learnt vegan diet from books so “no alcohol, no coffee, no black tea, no processed food” was the level I had started. Over the years I struggled with winter mood a lot (until finally a second vegan person in my life who I accidentally met told me to take vitamin D during the winter what changed my vegan life really). As it was tough to eat out generally, I got used to cooking lots of styles but also that going out with colleagues often means that I will get no food or wrong food and i will be hungry more often + on top of that I need to cope not only with hunger but also with people who know me and feel pitty of me being discriminated by my food choices in most of the restaurants. 8yrs later life changed dramatically …I live at the street where there is 2 vegan only stores, 2 vegan only restaurants and cafes, bunch of other restaurants where they serve vegan options, 1 vegan ice cream shop… I don’t have to order shoes from abroad, because there are finally some fair trade shoes stores in my own country… And…just as you, I am so absolutely totally bored of food :(. My good friend is a vegan food blogger and I have no idea how she keeps this food interest after so many years. I cannot. I also miss the feeling that my veganism changes anything because It has already changed a lot. I wanted at that time to spread the word about this. And indeed, some friends of mine went even vegetarian, some became vegan too. Being vegan has become very popular and I understand the impact of people like me who are simply consequent with their food choices. But somehow, after years I started to loose my motivation to cook, to share the idea, to feel so passionate about this. I cannot stop being vegan as still, I see meat as a piece of dead creature=inedible & not natural at all. My brain does not allow me to treat is as food, in my head unconsciously meat is on shelve “this disgusting thing that people eat”. I am even not really able to buy it… Over years I also developed strong disgust for eggs and honey (my brain sees them as inedible too, somehow as a food that is for some reason “wrong”). It is really unconscious process in my brain. theoretically I could drink milk but…I’m lactose intolerant anyway and cheese… Well…maybe this but… not sure if I wouldn’t feel sick too so in the end better not to risk. As you see I keep eating vegan because its the best choice I have and it disturbs me less than other food choices…So in a way, i can’t help bring vegan, but somehow the spirit of being engaged vegan person is gone. I often envy people who have that much energy to share the concept with the others, but after years I really don’t know how to revive this or whether I really should try. I often think that only another food Revolution could change it such as going raw etc. but maybe I am wrong. Maybe I simply should focus more on different things in my life, start to cook from cook book of different cusine style and live with it… 🙂

    1. Wow Liliana, thank for sharing your experiences. It’s fascinating that you mention how the feeling of being vegan has worn off for you over time because it becomes so routine.
      Maša and I have also experienced how challenging it is to find vegan food in parts of Europe.
      I think your last point of revisiting cookbook recipes is a great idea to reignite your spark. Or perhaps, participate in some light activism? Check out this post for some ideas all the best, Michael.

  12. I’ve only recently become vegan for medical reasons and as someone that never thoughtshe could do it – I’m actually really enjoying it. I love that portion sizes can be bigger because plants aren’t as bulky as meat, eggs and fish. I love how colourful the diet is. I love that no animal is being slaughtered for my nourishment. I love that I feel vibrant. I just hate that all restaurants pretty much use commercial vegetable oils. I can’t go out for a beautiful chickpea curry or yummy falafel because of the oil quality – it would be great if more places used EVOO or coconut oil.

    On other matters you’re doing an ace job with this site, great layout, informative reads and no annoying adds popping up and cluttering the space. Keep up the beautiful work xxx

    1. Kudos to you Rachel! Another example of how easy it is to be vegan. Totally agree with you about the quality of oils when eating out. We’re optimistic that it will change over time.

      Also thank you for your kind words x

  13. Thanks for you post. After many years of being (mostly) vegetarian I decided to try going vegan from the beginning of this year. In the beginning it was challenging and giving up cheese has been the hardest. It is amazing to see how many commodities we use and eat that contain animal products such as wine that is fined using fish, eggs or milk……yuk! I am still transitioning and have had a few slip ups especially when eating out but I am determined and committed to become vegan. I feel amazing on a vegan diet and have heaps more energy with a greater ability to recover from work, exercise and stress.

    1. Hey thanks for sharing your experiences Leonie! We also found it hard to let go of cheese but once we made the connection it became so much easier. Yup, animals products are everywhere. Kudos to you for sticking to your commitment despite a few minor setbacks.

  14. Hey Amanda! That’s really cool that you’re going to try again. We were recently in Seattle and you’re totally spoilt with choice in that amazing city! All the best with the transition and thank you for your kind words 🙂

  15. Yes I find after being vegan for a little over a year now, it’s a double edged sword – it’s the best thing I’ve done and I love so much about it, but it’s also very painful to be in the know. Ignorance is definitely bliss. I agree with getting bored of food, even though there is so much to eat I’m not motivated at the moment to cook but hoping I get my energy back soon! I think the hardest part about vegan is seeing things with a new perspective, but still having your friends and family not “get it”. It’s so frustrating to have to argue with people, when you know it’s the right thing to do on so many levels. We just keep having to lead by example and hope people see what we do in a more positive light!

    1. Absolutely Lucy. I know for us, we couldn’t understand why most people simply don’t care. But then we quickly remembered what we used to be like and whilst it’s still not ideal, it helps us empathise more with others. Like you said, the most powerful think you can do is lead by example in a positive and approachable manner. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Good stuff!

  16. Great post! Thanks for sharing your experiences. One thing I’ve noticed in just over a month of eating vegan is that it can make coworkers uncomfortable! Even without me preaching about anything, I can tell it causes people in my small office to reconsider and confront their own behaviors and eating habits, whether they like it or not. One coworker is often saying things to me like, “ooh, this is so good, but it has meat in it so you can’t have any!” or “oh I made cookies, but I know you won’t them.” Another says “hmm, Erin probably can’t eat that – it has too much bad stuff in it [referring to animal products].” I am learning to respond as gracefully as possible and to explain my views when asked. Such as when one person said, “well, you can put cream in your coffee, animals aren’t killed to make cream!” my response was, “Well, the animals are still treated poorly in factory farms and I don’t want to support that.” I can tell responses like that make people think about it more.

    Because of these recent situations at work, I greatly appreciate hearing about your point that friends and family will eventually come around! Simply living by example is wonderful advice 🙂

    Side note: The Satay Tofu Wraps and vegan peanut sauce from your cookbook are AMAZING. It’s seriously my new favorite meal!

    1. Erin, thank you so much for sharing your honest experiences of what it’s like to be vegan at work. I can totally relate to how your choices can indirectly affect those around you. It sounds like you’re dealing with the comments at work with class whilst getting your colleagues to think more deeply about their own decisions.

      Thank you for your kind words regarding our Satay Tofu Wraps. We love anything with satay sauce in it 😉

  17. My husband and I have been vegan for five plus years now, and one of the most challenging things recently has been accepting only being able to do so much. We are much more active in the vegan community now than five years ago, and would now label ourselves activists. We volunteer, are active members of the Animal Justice Party, go to rallies and other events, help fund raise, you name it, but it never feels like we are doing enough. Giving yourself permission to do what you can and not beat yourself up about it is something I have to constantly remind myself of. Everyone just does the best they can, with the time, skills and energy levels we have.

    One of the biggest positives is simply living by example. When someone says “I could never do that” it is an opportunity to explain how easy it really is if it is what your heart wants, and all the benefits for your health, the planet, and not least the beautiful animals we all love.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences Kathy. We can definitely relate with feeling like you’re not doing enough. Thank you for your passion!