Vegan Advice #1

qaWhen I was about to go vegan I had a lot of questions. Like ‘Can I still eat something nice in a restaurant?‘ Or.. ‘How would my environment react?‘ Or.. ‘Can I do it?’. Now that I’m a vegan for almost 3 years, I can see other people who are thinking about going vegan, having the same questions. That’s why I’d like to answer them. From now on, once in a while, I will answer some questions. If you have any questions, you can always ask me. Just send me a message by email or comment below, whatever makes you feel most comfortable. I will then asap answer them in a post or when it’s urgent, I will answer you personally. Hopefully it will help you to become vegan or maybe it’ll encourage you to stay vegan.

12887559_1113547965355972_988058013_oCan I still eat something nice in a restaurant?
I love eating out. I mean, who doesn’t? You sit down and they bring you a delicious plate of food. At the time I was transitioning I went to Wagamama and Wasabi a lot. I was worried I wasn’t able to go anymore, because how would I know if it’s vegan?! You don’t know all the ingredients they use and would it be silly to ask? Would they even understand what being vegan is about? All these (and a lot more) questions I had. What I did is just go. I sat down and asked if they had anything vegan. At Wagamama it turned out they had a map with al the ingredients of all the dishes they served and they could tell me exactly what was vegan. I normally had a dish with sweet potato, but it turned out not be vegan. So I chose something else and that was the best I’ve ever done. I chose number 38, Yasai Itame. It is the most incredible dish ever! I like it 10 times better than the dish I normally ordered. So since that day I always order that. Only one time I tri13288471_1155880767789358_1893192890_oed something else (I thought I was maybe missing out on other dishes) and it was tasty, though it wasn’t nearly as good as my beloved number 38. Even the people I recommend it to, are still eating it whenever visiting Wagamama.
And in Wasabi it turned out I was eating vegan anyway. All the other restaurants I went had some things on the menu which they could turn vegan and when I ordered a pizza I just ordered it without cheese. There were only a few restaurants with nothing I could eat, but whenever I asked if they could just make me a big plant-based salad, it wasn’t a problem at all. It’s even quite fun, because sometimes you really get the most amazing salads. Eating out turned out to be fun when you’re vegan. Nowadays it’s even easier to get vegan dishes, because times are changing (yay!) and a lot of restaurants offer vegan dishes already or tell you what dishes could be made vegan. Brilliant!

horseHow would my environment react?
This question really was the last thing I struggled with. What would people say and think if I’m ‘always’ the one who’s saying ‘no’ to the food they offer? And I would feel very bad if somebody made something home-made and I have to say ‘no’. What if I’m invited to stay for dinner and I’m always the difficult one? I really didn’t want to be this person. But then I thought ‘what if I was allergic? What if I couldn’t eat it because it made me ill or I could die?’. People are very understanding if it turns out you’re lactose intolerant, get huge cramps after eating gluten or when you could die from eating a peanut. Only when you make a conscious decision not to eat animals, not to support animal cruelty in any way, people make it a problem. Isn’t that weird?! When you actually want to do good and make a difference, you get negative reactions?! When you’re forced not to eat or drink something people are ok with it. As soon as I realised this I did it. I went IMG_7141vegan. I realised, more than ever that I’m the only one who decides what goes into my body and what doesn’t. Nobody has something to say about that. I’ve always been somebody who has clear values and who stands for them and the more I read and learned about veganism, the more I wanted to live a cruelty free life. Who is going to say I should support cruelty? Unfortunately, weird enough, a lot of people do. In the beginning even a few people very close to me were not supporting me, but now I’m vegan for a while a lot of the people who were not supporting me then, are now vegetarian or even vegan themselves! I stood up for what I believed in and it feels amazing. Nowadays when somebody offers me a (non vegan) home made cake I say: ‘It looks very delicious, but I’m vegan so no thank you’. Most people react well. Luckily, because I hate to turn people down. Of course, sometimes, there are people who will tell you that you’re missing out, that you overreact or all the other excuses and reasons you hear from omnivores. Always remember that them saying that is their lack of information and/or compassion. It’s not you who is being weird. It doesn’t matter if you’re vegan for the animals, for the environment, just for your health or for whatever reason. Whenever people are trying to discourage you, think about the things you stand for. The fact that people are trying to talk you into eating something bad for your health or supporting cruelty says enough. Be proud to be vegan!

bagelCan I do it?
As a child I always wanted to be a vegetarian and I couldn’t do it. At that time I didn’t know how bad the animal industries were and even when I got a little older I told myself it can’t be that bad. I closed my eyes for it, because meat tasted so good. Then one day I became a vegetarian and eventually I turned vegan (if you want to read about my journey, you can read it by clicking here). Especially before I turned vegan I asked myself ‘Can I do it?’. When I do something, I want to do it good. I don’t like to do half a job. I’m an ‘everything or nothing’ kind of person. If I would have just told myself, without doing any kind of research ‘from Monday I’ll be vegan’, I’d probably wouldn’t have been successful. Becoming vegan is a process. There are not a lot of people (I even think there are non) who turned vegan overnight, knew everything from the start and always did everything right. You have to educate yourself. First you learn about what eating a plant-based diet means for the animals, your health, the environment and your quality of life. me1Then you start to learn about food. You start reading the ingredient lists on the packages from every single thing you eat. I personally really liked that as I learned so much of the things I put in my body. As soon as you get the hang of it it’s actually very easy, because you soon enough know what you’re looking for and what things mean. Then you start to look at the things you wear (wool, silk, leather) , the things you use on your body (cosmetics and other toiletry stuff), the things you clean your house with and also about using animals for pleasure (zoo, circus, horse riding). It’ll maybe come to you all within a week or maybe it will take months or even years. It’s a process and always remember: it’s your process! Nobody can tell you that you’re a bad vegan. The only thing you need to do is keep educating yourself. Keep improving yourself and things will come to you.  Eventually you will live full of compassion and with the right kind of energy. Being vegan is a true joy!

Did you struggle with the same questions or are you in the middle of it? Did it help to read my point of view and how I overcame them? Are there any other questions you’re struggling with? I’d be more than happy to help! Please let me know by leaving a comment below or by sending me a private email. You can also contact me via Instagram by sending me a message, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

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