Are vegans obsessed with veganism?

When a person becomes vegan, whether it be overnight or over a period of time, a new world opens up that you did not know existed in any dimension. It’s literally a loose connection that is suddenly connected and ignited like twisting an inactive lightbulb into it’s place only to have the entire room illuminated, allowing you to see things that you didn’t know were there before the light appeared. It’s probably like finally hitting your stride in mediation, from what I’ve read.

It’s fair to say that a “before and after” event such as this would be life-changing. Once the connection is truly made, a feeling of time lost appears, in which a thirst for more information occurs. It’s like learning how to live daily life again, in a kind of way. Especially if your life is centered around eating like mine was and is still. It is kind of a big deal!

You have to relearn what to have for breakfast, lunch, supper, and snack. You can’t just grab the same ole, it has to be completely new because most products have a touch or more of animal products. You can’t just pull into a hole-in-the-wall restaurant or drive-thru or your previously favorite restaurant and feel confident that you will be able to eat more than a basic salad and raw carrots and celery as your main and only dishes (I’m talking to you B-Dubs).

So, others may view you as being obsessed, because you must eat, live, and be vegan as it consumes your daily life in every way. Especially if you are a passionate person. I wanted to be as agreeable as possible, and not offend anybody as I always have been, and how I thought I would continue being in my early stages of veganism. But the more I learn about veganism, the more I want to tell the world and share the knowledge and hope that others can make the connection as well. The problem is, many are like me and know that once you make it, there is no return, therefore they put it off as much as possible or completely. I get it. I did the same. But look at me now, an “obsessed” vegan.

Bad Vegan Food

Not all vegan food is good. And I don’t mean that all vegan food isn’t good for you. Hopefully, you already know that. But there are some vegan products out there that you hope are not the first item a vegan-curious person tastes, because it will give a bad rep to all other vegan food.

For example, in the weeks just before going vegan, I purchased some Beyond Meats Beast Burgers at Whole Foods. I made burgers for my partner and I, and we both felt the burgers tasted “off”. My partner commented that perhaps someone who hasn’t had meat in forever would be the only person that could enjoy it. This was sad for me. I had been reading about Beyond Meat, and was excited to try their “meat”. After tasting it, I felt disappointed that it wasn’t a better substitute for meat. It was okay until halfway into the burger when I could really taste the offness of it. I’d be curious to try it now that I have been meat-free for a while, but I don’t think it will make a difference, because now I realize it’s trying to taste like meat, and that’s the problem.

Today, we tried Field of Roast Frankfurters. I had read many reviews of the product, and could not find a single bad review. However, I have to give it a bad review. I’m glad to see that so many people like it, just like Beast Burgers, but it’s not for me. I threw away the leftovers. It just tasted off.

Do I not like faux meats in general then? Not always. Meatless burgers are my go to staple food that is highly satisfying everytime (but only the right ones). I also enjoy soy chorizo in which I’ve only tried two brands and Helen’s Kitchen is one that I remember. I have enjoyed tempeh and seitan, but not everytime. It depends on various factors. I usually am never offended by tofu, unless it wasn’t prepared properly (must thoroughly dry tofu!).

I used some of these products as a crutch at first, feeling like I needed something meaty in a dish or I wouldn’t be satisfied. However, I’ve gotten a lot better at using vegetables like sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, eggplant, squash, lentils, black beans, quinoa, etc. to make items feel meaty and complete. I also use extra firm tofu for many dishes. I find it completes a dish while still maintaining the elements of healthy and fresh.

For meatier tofu: Pour boiled salted water over sliced tofu, dry with towels completely, toss dried tofu in cornstarch, and then pan fry tofu in olive oil before adding to a dish.

I’ve also found that I enjoy vegan burgers most when I can recognize all of the ingredients, and the first few ingredients are grains or vegetables. My absolute favorite burger patty is Amy’s Kitchen Sonoma. It doesn’t taste meaty per se, but it’s not supposed to. It is deeply satisfying between two buns with some veganaise, chipotle hot sauce, creole mustard, chopped jalapenos, pickles, arugula and salt & vinegar chips.

In conclusion, I am not a fan of meats that are trying to taste like meats in general, and I worry that these products hurt the image of vegan foods overall.

Benefits of Veganinsm

Yes, there are benefits to becoming vegan. The biggest benefit for me is the weight that has been lifted off of my shoulders. I feel more of a connection to the natural world, and don’t feel the guilt that was gnawing at me before. I feel clean and have a clear mind.

One of the first questions people ask when they find out about my lifestyle, is “How do you feel? Like do you feel better? Do you feel healthier?”. I have found this answer difficult to answer in the past. I feel better of course because I’m no longer contributing to the man-made creation of life and death on a mass scale, and that feels f-n incredible. That is the purpose and single reason I am doing all of this and have changed my life. But what they really want to know, is how has the diet part affected my health, i.e. have I lost weight, do I have more energy, do I think more clearly, do I sleep better, is my skin better, are my nails and hair better? Yes for some of those questions, and I think so for the others, but I don’t know if I just think that because that’s what I’ve heard.  I didn’t feel all of those benefits right away. I’m not sure if it’s because my body was adjusting or if it’s because I hadn’t yet begun taking vegan supplements. I can answer those questions more easily now though, now that I’ve reflected and have truly adjusted to the lifestyle.

There are more benefits as well:

One thing I’ve happily noticed is that I rarely have to take my seasonal allergy medicine. I’ve been tested and I’m allergic to all weeds, most grasses, a couple trees, and many molds, which leads to year-round allergies. I haven’t taken any anti-histamines in the last couple months, which is great because it was costing $30 a month. I’ll have to update once I get through a year to see if this is a lasting effect. August 26th, 2015 UPDATE: I have felt the need to take my allergy medicine one to two times per week recently. I probably could do without it, and sometimes I take it because I feel slightly congested and am worried that I am low on anti-histamines before I go outside for some type of event. However, this is still a huge change from taking a stronger allergy medicine daily. (I have a need to take the anti-histamine only, rather than the ones with added decongestant, i.e. Allegra vs. Allegra-D. The great thing about this change is that the purchase frequency and amounts of Allegra-D are regulated because it’s used to make methamphetamine, hence I no longer am ingested a product such as this) 

I just feel better all around, less aches and pains to where I don’t take any pain-reducing pills. Another great thing is that I can’t remember the last time I had a headache or migraine. I used to pop ibuprofen like candy to treat my headaches and body aches, and it has been months since I’ve taken anything besides my daily vegan supplements. I still get neck pain, but don’t feel the need to take a pain-reliever. I go to the chiropractor every few months for any adjustment for that is needed.

Another benefit is no more need for medicine for an upset stomach or heartburn. Pepcid AC Complete was my favorite. Haven’t felt a need to take anything like that since I went vegan.

Possible TMI tidbits below, but necessary for those to know that are thinking about making the switch, or have switched and are feeling the same thing:

One more benefit that is possibly TMI. I am experiencing less effects from my menstrual cycle. I won’t go into it, but it is a fact.

Non benefits? Yes, just two. First is that I’m am generally less thirsty. I’m not sure why, but I would be thirsty in the middle of the night all of the time, even with drinking water at night before bed. No longer happens. Second, the TMI piece, is that I seem to have more gas if you must know. However, there is very rarely a smell. Smells like roses? Not quite, just no smell most of the time. Not all the time, but most of the time. I’m happy to put up with these small things though.