10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Vegan


How do vegans possibly do it?

Even after I became vegetarian, I turned this question over and over in my mind. I knew that I wanted to quit eating animal products but just couldn’t imagine making it work. I had even tried a vegan diet for a month, only to learn in the process that I wasn’t ready.

The commitment to officially say “I’m vegan” was a decision I deliberated about for a long time. In the end, it took two full years before I completely cut out eggs, milk, butter, and cheese. But when the time was finally right, there was no question about it.

Two and a half years later, now that this once extreme lifestyle now feels familiar, I have just enough perspective to wish I could go back and give my pre-vegan self (or someone else in my shoes) a few pointers.

So whenever they give us the promised time machines and jetpacks and I get the chance to go back and talk to that guy, here’s how I’ll help him prepare:

1. The jokes will never stop.

So get used to them, and understand that they don’t necessarily indicate a lack of respect.

My dad’s favorite line, when he tries some of our food: “This would be great with some meatballs!” It’s a joke, of course, and the fact that he says it so often has itself become a joke.

But just about every family or friendly gathering yields a joke from someone who must think they’re the first to make it. “Want me to throw a steak on the grill for you? Oh, that’s right … hahaha!”

An uncle once presented me with a single piece of iceberg lettuce on a plate and announced, for everyone to hear, “Hey Matt, look. Dinner!” I actually smiled at that one.

Get used to the jokes. Laugh them off, or take the opportunity to explain how important your diet choices are to you. Up to you.