LISTEN! I have been struggling with the vegan lifestyle and I do mean s-t-r-u-g-g-l-i-n-g. I was using Pinterest, IG (Instagram) advice from vegan influencers, I was even dm’ing people for one on one’s. I’ve never felt like it’s something I can’t do however I knew it wouldn’t be an easy transition. But it’s been a solid year – although my journey has been ongoing for two years – now and I’m getting really tired of not getting this thing “right”. I know a year doesn’t sound like a lot but keep reading so I can help you understand why this journey has been so difficult for me.
A huge issue I’m having is that I don’t like the meat replacements. I’ll share some of the things I’ve tried and tell you now that I am not willing to try them again. I have tried each two to three times and have made different meals with all of them. Of course, it’s not supposed to taste like meat because it isn’t however no matter how much seasoning I did or did not use, I could NOT get past the taste and smell of the majority of these “meats”. I know that there’s a difference in vegan and vegetarian meats and other replacements and I’ve had quite a few. Some of those I’ve tried are Beyond Meat, Tofu, Jackfruit, Chick’n patties, Lightlife smart dogs (which are hot dogs), Tofurky hickory smoked lunch meat, etc. For the record Beyond Meat was the worst one to me. Out of all that I just named the only one I liked is the Tofurky lunch meat. Only problem is you have to eat the whole pack within three days, and I don’t eat sandwiches that often so that’s a no buy for me.
I’ve found myself drinking A LOT of smoothies and making acai bowls and when I say they have been it, they’ve been IT. I was having such a hard time with my transition originally because I just wanted to lose weight. I didn’t truly care about the journey or it’s process until I found myself sick at the sight of things I’ve been used to for years. I don’t know how or why but I get queasy at the sight of chicken blood now, the smell and taste of ground beef, I get irritated by the oils flying onto my floor from any food I cook and my irritation for the thawing, seasoning then figuring out what to make process has grown to an all-time high. All of that was enough for me to let meat go. Then, I found myself having to eat damn near three times what I was when I ate meat just to feel some kind of full. My husband keeps saying, “You need a safety meal” and for those who don’t know what that is I’ll tell you. It’s basically the meal you know you’d be okay eating if there were no other options, also known as, when all else fails. For my husband it’s cereal and pb&j and for our children it’s pizza, nuggets and fries. Me on the other hand I don’t like to eat the same thing(s) too often. Not picky, I just can’t eat the same thing all the time.
Again, I knew this wouldn’t be an easy transition. I thought I’d feel better after watching influencer after influencer talk about how long it took them to transition but that made it worse for me. I’m not expecting anyone to have it all figured out overnight yet when the numbers started going from 5 to 6 to 7 years, I started asking myself if veganism was something I really wanted to take on and if those people were even trying because that’s a long time to find “much of nothing to eat”. And yes, that was what one person said in their video. Social media was a huge part of what kept me going. I followed so many different vegan accounts and influencers and even subscribed to a few vegan YouTube channels. And everything was going good until, like I said, I realized I don’t like many of the replacements plus I tasted nutritional yeast. YUCK! There were so many recipes that called for it and there was no way around it. I would even try and figure out the easy meals, but I found myself spending more money and having less food in my refrigerator. I tried all the tips and tricks and they didn’t work either. OMG! It’s all been too much for me, so I figure at this point that maybe being vegan isn’t for me.
I feel like you have to have a real purpose before you think you’re going to join the vegan world and that I did not. I still want to eat vegan meals, but the lifestyle isn’t working for me. Most people who have been at this for years will give the, “It’s really easy” and “There’s so many options” advice. But what they don’t look at is what I just said, THEY HAVE BEEN AT THIS FOR YEARS. It’s always going to be easy to someone who has knowledge behind their decision. I could tell you if you don’t like fried chicken to go baked instead or try waffles instead of pancakes. There’re always a million options to someone with years of experience which I don’t feel a lot of people keep in mind when they say those things.
I feel like the word vegan is used too loosely. Vegan isn’t just the food you put into your body. No, it’s the clothes you wear and the products you use and then some. And I honestly can’t see myself doing something that I’m not going to give my all to because there are some products that I’m not giving up anytime soon. I can’t even lie and say that I research enough to know if half of what I currently use has been tested on animals. Then again, even when the label reads “not tested on animals” I don’t believe it anyway. Also, I’d like to throw out there that there’s no Trader Joe’s where I live only Whole Foods and I see so many shopping at Trader Joe’s specifically and there aren’t many vegan restaurants here either.
Although, I don’t plan on going full-on vegan, I still don’t want to eat meat. However, there are a few meals I don’t see myself letting go of since I’m being honest. And that’s okay because this is my journey and I’m figuring out what does and does not work for me and why. Thankfully, I love seafood and salmon is my favorite – aside from crab – so I’m sure I can figure out how to create different seafood meals. The labels are what put on the pressure for me and they also get people to pointing fingers and I could do without because I don’t want/need anyone telling me how to live. I have a hard-enough time figuring it out myself so no, I am not a pescatarian. I’ll simply be a seafood lover. I hope that anyone trying to transition, no matter what to, keeps in mind to have a purpose before you start your journey. Having clear skin, losing weight and it “looking easy” may sound good in the beginning but it’ll frustrate you easily if it’s not something that you’re doing solely for YOU.
P.S. – My blog post photo is from 2019 when I made a mushroom lasagna which was actually really good. However, I threw up and have since thrown up every single time I’ve eaten mushrooms so I’ve learned that they’re not for me.