10 Things I’ve Learnt in 3 Years | Vegan Diet

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Vegan Diet

Hi guys, this post is going to be different. And to be honest, I have no idea what you’re about to read. Tomorrow is my 3-year vega-versary. Three whole years on a vegan diet. For a while I’ve known I wanted to do a post to mark the occasion. I meant to celebrate years one and two, but each year the day slipped by and I realised a week or so later that I’d missed it and I’m determined to make year three different. I’m torn between making this funny and anecdotal or formal and informative or something in-between.  

I’m going to start by saying I knew nothing before I started this. I’d never met a vegan, only knew one vegetarian, I’d never looked anything up online, knew nothing about diets and subcategories within this already restricted realm. I knew nothing about potential benefits; likewise, I knew nothing about associated deficiencies. Everything I learnt, I had to learn quickly. Oh, and I didn’t cook back then either…  

However the next part of this post ends up being presented, I hope if you’re thinking about changing your diet or recently have, you can find something helpful from it. If you’re not in either of those categories, I hope you can still manage to learn something or at least find something entertaining.  

10 Things I’ve Learnt in Three Years On A Vegan Diet 

1. The internet is scary 

When I first made my transition and started looking for recipe inspiration online I found one prominent character who would crop up alllllllll the time, Freelee. If you don’t know who that is, please keep it that way. This was at the height of the 80/10/10 craze, which as a newbie I knew nothing about. This woman online was bashing celebrities and fellow YouTubers left, right and centre because of their dietary choices and it was intimidating. There’s also a group of people who hate all vegetarians for not being vegan and think people like me who eat a vegan diet but aren’t vegans (living a fully CF lifestyle) are the worst people on earth. It’s a lot. And it was hard to find people who seemed to be ‘like me’. Ironic from someone who is now a food blogger.  

Just want to clarify that not all vegans on the internet are intimidating in any way, but most of the ones I came across back then were.  

2. Deficiencies are a real thing  

Along with the 80/10/10 there’s also this wild concept that if you’re eating enough calories, you’re getting enough of all the nutrients you need. Which is rubbish, you can eat 2000 calories of potatoes and vegetables, legumes and not get any essential fats or omega 3. You can also eat a lot of fruit and veg, and starches and get nowhere near enough protein. People often talk about being healthy and radiant eating this way, that’s if you do it right. I cannot stress enough how important I think it is that everyone tracks their intake when they first switch. I know for some people that’s damaging if you struggle with food and if that’s the situation, maybe ask someone else to just double check you’re getting enough of the important stuff. It’s way easier to fall behind with certain things than you’d think.  

zesty salad

3. Don’t take health for granted  

Linking to the last one, your body tells you all you need to know, pay attention. Suddenly have dry skin, hair not feeling so great, more tired than usual? You’re missing something. You can be eating healthy foods and still be low on something, it doesn’t mean your diet is bad, but you could need more of certain things.  

4. Likewise, just because it’s vegan, it doesn’t make it healthy  

Another wild misconception is that if it’s vegan, it must be healthy. There’s so much vegan junk food. Pringles, Oreos, certain ‘free from’ products are all vegan and all bad for you. Many people change their diets for the health benefits, I was one of them but it’s so easy to take mix the two words together and think everything must be good. I’m not saying don’t eat junk, but don’t eat it all the time under the impression that it’s better for you. 

Starbursts

5. Your palette changes so much 

A little more light hearted this time, I used to HATE so many things I love now. I used to think that dark chocolate was the most disgusting thing on the planet.  White chocolate was the only chocolate I ate and I can’t even imagine how sickly that would taste to me now. I also hated mushrooms and those of you who read my recipes will know they crop up fairly often. Also on the list of things I used to hate but now love: baby corn, nut butter (?!) and courgettes. 

granola clusters

6. You view your food differently  

I find that the way I build my plate now is very different. I look at it as a whole, treating each component equally no matter how small.  This one could be personal to me but I find that a lot of the meat eaters in my life do things differently. When someone asks another person what they want for dinner, the answer is usually chicken or salmon or insert animal protein of choice. The meal is then built around that as though the side dishes don’t really matter, as long as they know they’re having chicken, the rest will fall into place around it? I’d love to know if anyone else can relate to this one.  

7. It really does change everything  

I’ve already spoken about bad skin and dry hair so I thought it was about time to talk about the positives too. Those of you who read my skincare story may remember that I changed my diet because dairy was giving me small rashes on my cheeks. My one goal on a vegan diet was to stop getting skin rashes. That’s it, I wasn’t expecting anything more. It’s worth pointing out at this stage that I wasn’t exactly unhealthy before. My regular meals would be something like halloumi salad, vegetable stir fry and noodles, grilled chicken with vegetables or salad. That kind of thing. Then, I switched and the following happened to me: 

  • Sleep -My chronic insomnia cured overnight. I went from regularly going two or three days with no sleep at all to having the ability to sleep every night, even if it was just for a few hours.  
  • Skin- My painfully dry skin was suddenly less dry. Still dry, but it used to be so dry it was literally painful and now it’s ‘regular’ dry skin. 
  • Stomach – My digestion improved.  

I was a much healthier person in so many small ways.  

8. There’s still a lot of people who don’t know what that means 

Most of my readers are females around my age and I’m going to make a wild assumption that if you’re reading this and you’ve made it this far you probably know what a vegan is, what a vegan diet is and what a vegetarian is. I’m astounded by how many people I meet in 2018 who still do not know what these terms mean. Raise your hand if you’re a vegan or follow a vegan diet and have ever been asked what the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian is.  

9. Holy shit, there’s a lot of misconceptions  

‘So you only eat salad?’….No. 

‘So, you must eat a lot of tofu then?’…I’ve only tried tofu once in my life, and that was just a bite to say I’d tried it. 

‘But what do you eat?’…Lots of things. 

‘You must get so bored eating the same things over and over again’…I very rarely repeat my meals. 

‘Isn’t it really bland?’… That one is just insulting.  

10. You absolutely will become a better cook 

I mentioned at the top that I didn’t really cook much before. That wasn’t because I couldn’t cook, I just opted for really simple meals that didn’t take a lot of effort. I started eating a vegan diet two weeks after I finished my degree. At uni, I lived in a studio apartment with the most basic cooking facilities you can imagine (I didn’t even have an oven) so I didn’t bother trying to make anything exciting. When you switch you have two options, spend half of your life reading food labels or get more creative with what you make from fresh ingredients. I opted for the second option.  

banana pancakes

I’m sure that sounded ranty and rambly in a few places but I wanted to make this as authentic as possible. You may have noticed that I opt to say vegan diet rather than plant based. I’m going to be honest here, I hate the term plant based. Even though that’s technically what I am, I try to avoid using it. This is in no way a negative reflection of people who use it, but I’ve encountered a few people who opt for it who still eat dairy or other animal products as ‘treats’ or on special occasions. I’ve read too many labels in the last few years to want to associate myself with that.  

 

Thank you for reading if anyone actually made it this far! I hope you managed to take something away from this or at least found it relatable. If any fellow vegans, vegetarians or vegan dieters are reading this I’d love to know what the biggest thing you’ve learnt is. 

Until next time,  

Sophie  

For plenty of not bland and tofu free recipes, click here. All photos in this post have the recipes linked if you like the look of anything!

26 thoughts on “10 Things I’ve Learnt in 3 Years | Vegan Diet

  1. I can relate so much to this post. There really are some horrendous people on the internet who just love causing trouble. I also noticed my palette changed when I went vegan and I now love things like avocado and hummus whereas before I wouldn’t have dreamed of touching them. Mushrooms too! Great post lovely 🙂 x x
    Ellis // http://www.elliswoolley.co.uk

  2. This is such an interesting post to read! I can imagine it would be quite hard to get all your essential nutrients as a vegan – I find it hard enough and I’m not even vegan! It’s amazing that your sleep schedule improved so drastically, as well as your digestion improving! Such great signs of a health lifestyle xx

  3. IT is amazing that you’ve been going through a vegan diet for three years. I LOVE the internet for all of the recipes but I can see where it is scary – what’s with all of the haters?! YES! Having a balanced diet is so important – including counting your macros. Like potato can get you on the unhealthy side because of the carbs.

    I love how I learned about so many vegan dishes from reading your blog. GO you ♥

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

  4. I loved reading this post! I’m not on a vegan diet myself, but I do love incorporating vegan dishes into my diet, or vegan substitutes. I love reading about your transition and the things you’ve learnt along the way – it’s really inspiring, but also interesting to actually hear what it’s like behind the scenes. After reading this, I think I am definitely going to work on the whole equal portions of everything situation. I am so guilty to having smaller portions of “sides” rather than equal portions of everything on my plate.

    Beka | http://www.bekadaisies.com

  5. I loved this post and I must admit that following your blog has given me a much much better scope and understanding of the vegan diet. And it doesn’t hurt to spice up my week with one of your recipes 🙂

  6. I’m not a vegan and to be honest it’s not something I have ever thought of seriously because even when I go through a few weeks without meat, my health starts to take a hit. In light of that I think what you mentioned about keeping track of your nutritional requirements and learning to cook healthy meals are probably the most important aspects of choosing any sort of diet that’s a departure from one’s current one.

  7. What a great post Sophie! And really informative for anyone who wants to start a Vegan diet. As you know I’m not Vegan but whenever I cut out meat for a period of time i definitely feel different in myself. I’m not sure how, I just do. So the food we put in our bodies really does make a whole heck of difference!

  8. This was really interesting to read Sophie! I haven’t eaten meat since February and have really noticed the health benefits like increased energy and better skin. Congratulations on being vegan for 3 years, it sounds like a fantastic lifestyle change <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  9. Happy 3 years being a vegan! There’s definitely so many misconceptions with being a vegan, even though I am not one myself there seems to be so much negativity regarding it I’ve noticed. I’m so glad you becoming a vegan has also improved your health, that’s great!

    Heather | x Highland Beauty

  10. Happy Vegan Anniversary. Your blog posts are fab for those wanting to change to the vegan lifestyle & really helpful & encouraging. So much bad stuff out there about Veganism it’s good to read about the positives.

  11. I really enjoyed this post (as I do with all your posts), I can totally relate with the whole diet change part of this and how much everything else changes with it. The deficiency part is so important as I know quite a few people who have gone vegan and dropped an insane amount of weight without realising the damage it was having – they clearly just didn’t transition correctly! I would love to go vegan eventually once my health issues are hopefully more under control. Unfortunately without meat or dairy right now I would literally be living on white bread, haha!
    Alice Xx

  12. I relate to this post so much! I’ve been vegan nearly a year and totally agree with everything you’ve said. You’re so honest and open which is really refreshing on a vegan blog! So true about becoming a better cook and your taste buds change! Also vegan junk food-urgh, my downfall! It’s like as soon as I found vegan junk food I became obsessed with finding more! Then I have to take a step back and be like nope, resist! Haha x

  13. Interesting post! I was a vegetarian for several years, but when I first started I didn’t know what I was doing and became anemic. I was a teenager and my mom cooked most dinners with beef, mashed potatoes, and a boiled vegetable. It wasn’t until I was on my own that I learned to make better choices and to get enough protein. I’m looking forward to checking out your recipes!

  14. I love this! I’ve been slowly transitioning to a more plant-based diet since I’m having so many issues with dairy and meat. It’s amazing how much your sense of taste changes. Dark chocolate does start to taste like absolute heaven!
    I’ll just have to remember to stay away from the angry vegans….

  15. I LOVE THIS POST! I am not vegan but quite often I have vegetarian meals. I was always wondering what are the things that change when you go full vegan or vegetarian! I can say one thing mushrooms totally changed the cooking game for me lately. Buttered mushrooms with thyme and garlic! Wooooooo! Iga http://www.igaberry.com

  16. I have this rule in life that sounds a little like: just don’t be a dick.
    When people bash other people’s lifestyle it is something that really upsets me. I am always trying to be respectful of the choices people make. From your blog I learned how much fun and variable vegan foods are! As a volunteer cook I cook for a lot of vegans as well which i love doing because it challenges my creativity too. I learn things that I never knew such as that a lot of wine is not even vegan. It seems like you had a lot of benefits from changing your lifestyle to vegan. Better sleep, better digestion, better skin. Hey, those are pretty neat things to be having. I hate it when people just assume things too. There’s much more to vegan food than just salads and tofu eh?
    Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Love,

  17. I loved reading this post 🙂 such a misconception that being vegan automatically = healthy as you said there are still so many junk food options! I will definitely be bookmarking some of your recipe suggestions too!

    abbiejadewanders.co.uk

  18. I loved reading this post 🙂 such a misconception that being vegan automatically = healthy as you said there are still so many junk food options! I will definitely be bookmarking some of your recipe suggestions too!

    abbiejadewanders.co.uk

  19. Such an interesting set of things…Congrats on reaching 3 years! 😀 I’m not vegan but I’m a very picky eater and I don’t eat most meats, I probably only eat chicken occasionally. I def agree with #3, some peopple don’t understand that and forget you may just need to take vitamins to target what your missing. I’m anemic and I take separate iron tablets no matter how much kale and spinach and stuff I eat.I also do believe your palette changes a lot, I was always a fan of most veg but I’ve expanded a lot, even fruit wise. You’re posts are always so informative Soph! 😀

    xx Lena | https://lenadeexo.com

  20. I’ve never heard of Freelee – going to keep it that way haha! I don’t get why some people feel the need to bash others for their diet choices – if it makes someone happy, not sure why the opinions of others is needed. I personally eat a balance of vegetables and fruit pretty much everyday – I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian but I have been thinking about making the switch.

    I used to not like dark chocolate in the beginning and only eat white chocolate but it’s grown on me now. I find myself looking for different recipes to put dark chocolate in because it is beneficial to eat! I don’t even eat white chocolate anymore either, once you try dark chocolate it’s hard to even eat white chocolate anymore!

    I feel like with healthier things there’s like a phase where I didn’t like it at first but then it makes it’s reappearance into my life and I love it haha.

    And yes! Once the salmon/chicken decision is made then everything else is made surrounding that.

    This was a really interesting post – really relatable in terms of how some healthy ingredients like mushrooms wasn’t something I liked in the beginning but I love them now!

    Sahara
    http://saharas-dreams.blogspot.com

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