At times, I feel like yelling from the top of a mountain that I, Elyse Mattarollo am VEGAN! Yes, hold the applause, I save an average of 198 animals a year. *brushes shoulders*
But in all honesty, there are moments where I feel people are genuinely ignorant towards vegans. It’s not like I’m following people around accusing them of being murderers or predicting their future meat-related health issues or health concerns. *lets out giant sigh* Before I go on, I feel as if there are a few things that every aspiring vegan should know.
1. Most of your meals will be one-dish wonders
Seeing that it typically takes longer to prepare meals, when you make a dish, you make a dish. Cooking was (and still is) not my forte. I grew up in a home where my mother had dinner set on the table every night at seven; but, now that I am the only vegan in the house, I’ve had to fend for myself.
At first, it wasn’t bad. Most nights I would pile my plate at the Whole Foods salad bar…which was great… until I ran out of money. This being said, I found that making ONE dish for dinner was a) more cost efficient and b) took less time to prepare. Pastas, stir fries and abnormally large salads have become a dinnertime staple. To keep up with my protein game, I’ve been eating/breathing/sleeping quinoa.
-1 cup quinoa
-hand full o’ raisins
-dash of cinnamon
-maple syrup or brown sugar
-1 cup quinoa
-grilled zucchini/red peppers/tomatoes/spinach
-handful of chickpeas
~if you’re really feelin’ it, add some smoked tofu *drools*
**NOTE: these babies are amazing! They don’t take long to prepare and most of the ingredients are already in your kitchen!
2. The jokes are…cheesy (tehe)
Just get used to your friends asking if you’re allowed to eat animal crackers and eggplant. It. Never. Ends. Don’t get me wrong, some of them actually are creative and crack me up, but for the most part, you’re going to want to run away from the horrible “jokes”. When you find yourself being made fun of or being threatened by a friend to get cheese shoved down your throat, you can do one of many things: respectively ignore their motives, tell them that Ellen Degeneres is vegan or do what I did, throw an awesome vegan party! By doing so, my friends had a bit more of an inside that hey, maybe vegan food really isn’t that bad! Regardless, stand your ground and be proud to be you!
3. It really isn’t hard to give up cheese!
At first, I was convinced that I would be a cheese-eating vegan. Sure, I could live without eating meat, fish and eggs, that’s absolutely no problem with me…but cheese? No. I couldn’t. I WOULDN’T! But, alas, I did. Life without cheese is definitely an adjustment that takes time, especially if your best friend is basically a giant piece of cheese. (Not literally, but she really loves cheese…a lot). How does one give up cheese pizza? At first, I would just order it without cheese, because the thought of Daiya cheese would make me nauseous, but after a few months, it has become more and more tolerable. If you think that you wouldn’t be able to give up cheese, chances are you will! POWER TO YA!
3. You’ll be changing more than YOUR life
The change I made was my decision, yet I’m finding that it is impacting my friends and family. It wasn’t my initial plan to go out and make everyone vegan, because we all know that isn’t gonna happen- but, I am finding that a lot of my friends are taking a different approach to certain meat byproducts. You don’t have to be in someone’s face to make a difference in their lifestyle!
4. People will tell you that all Vegans are weak
uhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm this guy is vegan
There is this unspoken tale that all vegans are feeble and lack protein. I’m not sure who started this rumour or why so many people think that it’s true… but let me tell you, it’s WRONG. Though it is a plant-based diet, there are many things that non-vegans do not realize.
5. Don’t feel like you’re doing this alone!
Speaking from someone who is doing this alone, I can tell ya, it was hard to come up with meals and snacks at the beginning. I have never felt the need to cheat for pleasure, yet for convenience… especially when I’m out with friends. It can be embarrassing asking the waiter to list out the ingredients to half the menu. Over the last few months, there have been times that I have felt alone, but thanks to Twitter, Instagram and other amazing social media outlets I have been able to stay inspired and am constantly reminded that I am not alone! Yes, it can feel a little ostracizing eating a tub of quinoa while your friends are eating a cheeseburger, but overtime, you will learn to move on and embrace your lifestyle change!
6. You’re going to get weird
Let’s be real. If you’ve invested your time into becoming vegan, chances are you’re going to are least give it a try. (WHICH IS AWESOME) Buttttt, your friends are probably going to think you’re insane, and guess what- they’re right. Becoming vegan makes you a bit of a nut (pun intended). You will spend more time than you’ll even realize researching and printing off recipes, screenshotting yummy Instagram pictures of vegan snacks and checking to see if your mascara is animal cruelty free. This only makes you a weirdo because it isn’t seen as “normal”. Many cannot fathom a life sans-meat. In the end, being vegan strips you down to your raw self, really encouraging you to explore life beyond microwave dinners- maybe you’ll even make a funky kale smoothie! So embrace your weird side and have fun exploring your vegan self!
- The Vegan Body Building Movement (izabael.com)
- Eating Guidelines for Vegans (thatoldschoolgirlagain.wordpress.com)
- Vegan Bodybuilder Displays Enormous Amounts Of Strength In Must See Video (collective-evolution.com)