I’ve been a vegan for over 12 years, and at this point, I assume I’ll be one for the rest of my life.
The book that opened my eyes and led me to completely change my eating habits was John Robbins’ “The Food Revolution”. The book highlighted the many positive impacts that a vegan/plant-based diet can have (e.g., personal health, animal rights, environmental benefits). The message resonated so strongly with me that I went 100% vegan the day after I finished the book.
Despite my commitment, I admit that there are still things I miss from my non-vegan days, and I thought it might be fun to list those things and let other vegans know that you are not alone in having such thoughts (well hopefully I’m not alone!). Fortunately, I don’t really crave any of the items listed below, but I do miss them.
- steak wit’ from Pat’s Steaks. For those of you not from Philly, that’s a steak sandwich with onions from the best steak sandwich place in the city. I tell people that if I stopped being a vegan for a day, my first stop would probably be Pat’s Steaks…
- cooking burgers outside on the grill while enjoying a cold one. the smell, the flames, being outside, the taste – it’s quite the combo…
- having any dessert on the menu and not having to worry if there are eggs or dairy in it
- not having to look at a menu online or calling ahead before we pick a restaurant to make sure there is something for me to eat
- pizza (with cheese) from Manco & Manco in Ocean City, NJ
- not having to read the ingredients label on certain items at the grocery store (bread, energy bars, snacks) to see if they are vegan
- bacon. What can I say? I’ve heard people refer to bacon as the gateway drug for vegans.
- going to someone’s house for dinner and not having to explain why you only want a salad (who am I kidding, people don’t invite me to their house for dinner…)
- waffles and pancakes
- not having to tell people where I get my protein
- not having to check if there is leather or wool in my clothing or shoes or accessories
I think it is much easier to be a vegan today than it was 12 years ago. There are so many vegan-friendly food items and restaurants that you are bound to find something that you like. In fact, there are vegan versions of many of the items I included in my list above (but sometimes not as convenient or as tasty).
And being vegan has opened up new worlds to me:
- I don’t know if I would have ever become such a fan of Mexican and Thai cuisine or tomato pies.
- I don’t know if I would have driven 35 minutes across the bridge into New Jersey just to get some vegan pancakes at the Pop Shop (who am I kidding, of course I wouldn’t have!)
- I’ve learned a lot more about nutrition and the major impact that your diet has on your health and the environment.
As I wrote in one of my first blogs over four years ago, I consider my decision to become a vegan one of the major turning points in my life, and I haven’t regretted a single moment of that decision.