Monday, January 6, 2014

3 Year Vegan-versary + Top 10 Things I've Learned Along the Way

This past New Year (as in the one 6 days ago) was my three year "vegan-versary" if you will. In January 2011, I challenged myself to attempt a vegan diet in an effort to do right by my planet and improve my health in the process. 

And unlike every other resolution I've made in my lifetime I've stuck with it. 

{left} me, three years ago, {right} me, today. Notice the distinct reduction of facial fat. 

I also started this little blog, but then I joined Teach for America and things got, um, a little busy. But that's all behind me now. #1 on my resolution list is to post here 5 days a week, every week, for all of 2014.

And while there's no such thing as a perfect vegan, I do learn something new everyday. Here, a list of what I'd wish I'd known three years ago:

Top 10 Things I've Learned Along the Way

10. Pesto has parmesan cheese in it, and therefore is not vegan. When I first became vegan and was learned to check labels, I often didn't think to check those that I assumed were already plant-based. Case in point: pesto. It's just basil, pine nuts, and olive oil, right? Wrong. Very wrong. As in, I'm pretty sure I continued to consume this for at least a year after becoming vegan until someone clued me in. Woops.

9. Just because it's vegan, doesn't mean it's good for you. I'm talking to you, vegan cupcakes.

8. Subway and Taco Bell are some of your only friends while on road trips. And they seem to never appear when you're starving. Pack a snack.  

7.  Soy cheeses might be labeled "lactose-free", but that doesn't mean they're dairy-free. Thanks for getting me excited for nothing, Trader Joe's. Rude.

6. Margaritas are always vegan. And that's a very good thing.

5. If you charged $0.05 for every time someone told you they "could totally be vegan, but just couldn't give up cheese", you'd never work another day in your life. Seriously. Forbes  Top 100, here I come.

4. When people ask you how you get your protein, ask them where they get their fiber and antioxidants. (After answering their question politely, of course.)

3. Sometimes the non-vegan cupcakes at a party are just too tempting. Don't guilt trip yourself. Just do your best everyday and move on.

2. You might be the only vegan a person has ever met. Therefore, you do indeed represent All Vegans, and it's your job to represent them well. Graciousness and a sense of humor go a long way. (See #3.)  

1. It's all worth it. Sure, I've brought my own food to Thanksgiving dinner, packed my purse full of almond milk while traveling so I wouldn't have drink my coffee black, and virtually starved at parties where there was nothing vegan-friendly. But three years later, I can honestly say that this is the best thing I've ever done for myself, and I'd easily do it all over.

Hope your new year is full of fun, health, and vegan treats.  

Cheers, y'all!


  1. Replies
    1. I'm trying, girl! Day 1 of blogging down, 364 more to go.

  2. I feel like I maybe could've guessed/named/written 9/10 of these for you. I still somehow missed that pesto has cheese in it?!?! [WHAT?]

    1. I know, right? Though they DO sell a brand at Harris Teeter now that is vegan. It comes in a metal tube and isn't anywhere near the rest of the pesto!

  3. Happy vegan-aversary!! I love your list! There were many things I continued to eat for at least a year as I was learning what was vegan and what wasn't (pesto, Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, Guinness beer, etc.). I'm sure I still eat things from time to time that aren't vegan and I don't even realize it. We just do the best we can. :-) Also, love that margaritas are always vegan. Thank god.

    1. Thanks lady :) As long as tequila is vegan, what else do we really need?

  4. You have indeed grown wise in your years of vegan-ness! :)

    Totally been there with the purse full of almond milk.

    1. Thanks T!

      I considered giving up coffee based on the purse full of almond milk, but realized there are some things that make life worth living...

  5. Congratulations on your veganversary! I'm hitting my 4th one in March and can't imagine going back.

    1. Thanks Katie! Happy veganversary to you as well! I look forward to hitting the 4 year mark!


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