Retro Throwback: Find Compassion for Yourself

On the weekends, please enjoy the Retro Throwback where I share my favorite posts from some time ago. Find Compassion for Yourself was originally published in February 2013.

Thank goodness I had a decent class today. It wasn’t joyous. It wasn’t awful. It was just fine. And just fine it ok by me!

You might have noticed I’m on day 23 of the vegan challenge. I’ve gotten a bit settled in and only have seven days left. It’s been an interesting ride all around.

One thing I want to discuss is the idea that being a vegan is hard. Apparently this is a common perception. I have read lots of articles where people say they get asked about how difficult it is to be a vegan or someone says, “Being vegan seems so hard!” and in every one of these articles people assure them that being vegan is not hard.

Well, I just want to know: what about it makes it easy? I think it’s pretty damn hard.

I’d like to give it you straight. I do not understand all the vegans who say that being vegan is easy. Maybe they mean it’s easy for them, but if you want to adopt a vegan diet that is going to be hard (most likely).

I thought it would be hard, but I assumed that since I had been a vegetarian for a year it wouldn’t be all that bad. I was wrong. Being vegetarian and being vegan are not even in the same neighborhood of lifestyle choices. They just are not.

For one thing, you can almost forget about eating out if you’re vegan. We have made it our mission to eat out at least once a week (not counting trips to my beloved Fiction Kitchen), and lots of places do not have vegan options OR they have one or two options that don’t do it for me. The choices are simply not there.

It’s hard because you have to really think about new ways of cooking and new ways of eating. Animal products are everywhere, and they are in places where you might least expect it.

But here’s the thing – following a vegan diet is totally worth it.  I really don’t miss cheese and butter like I thought I would. I feel better (not so bloated) because I don’t eat these things. I’ve been introduced to a whole new landscape of food. That is pretty exciting.

If you’re interested in following a vegan diet, there are a couple of approaches you could do that do not require you jumping in whole hog. I would recommend becoming a vegetarian first or maybe cut out a particular animal product, like cheese. Commit to eating vegan meals at lunch or dinner or commit to eating a certain percentage each month. Any change you can make and sustain can then be built on.

Finally, have some compassion for yourself. Any dietary change is hard, and you will struggle. Don’t beat yourself up. Just get back up and keep on keeping on. The struggle is actually part of the fun!


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