Eating too many processed vegan meat-alternatives…
…and not giving fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and legumes a chance! I swear, at least the first two months that I was vegan, I was eating 2 veggie burgers a day (with buns, vegan cheese, lettuce, hot sauce, & vegan mayo.) HELL YES it tasted good! But I really wasn’t feeling good. There are delicious vegan meals that are honestly better than the dead corpse I was eating before (duh) but this doesn’t mean you should go crazy and eat like crap. It is just as easy to gain weight on a vegan diet as an omnivorous diet, so give fresh & unprocessed foods a shot!
2. Letting people step all over me
If I had a dollar for every time that I’ve heard a snarky comment about the fact that I don’t eat dead animal bodies or drink the secretions of a cow, I would be ROLLIN in the dough. But seriously, I wish I had stood up for myself more at the beginning. Not so much anymore, but some of the people I am closest to used to make comments like “How was your lettuce today?” or “…whatever you eat”. I know these were playful remarks, and were simply out of ignorance about my lifestyle. If I could go back in time, I would have never been an apologist about my beliefs. Stand up for what you know is right.
3. Staying in my comfort zone
Okay, okay. I am the type of person who generally likes to stick to the food that I know. So once I found one or two restaurants that had good vegan food, I stuck to them. (You can only have Chipotle and Blaze Pizza for so long…..) Eventually, I started my vegan Instagram and got super passionate about trying out new places and trying to veganize them. Now I can go virtually anywhere and find something great to eat. People think it is impossible to eat vegan anywhere, so you just have to SHOW them. They won’t believe it until they see it- and ask for a bite 😉
4. Not planning ahead of time (at least a little!)
Now, I’m still really not much of a planner with my food. I’m too lazy to meal prep, and I generally don’t plan out my grocery store trips either. BUT there are 3 quick and simple things that I do ahead of time that make my life so much easier!
Have 3 or 4 bananas in the freezer at all times! Frozen bananas are the BOMB, and are perfect for making banana delicious & creamy nice-cream. The best thing about nice-cream is it tastes just like ice cream, but you can eat it any time of the day (including breakfast) because it is totally healthy!
Keep an eye on your produce on a regular basis! If you see some of your fruit or veggies start to look a little sad or wilty, eat it ASAP! There’s nothing worse than realizing a day or two too late that your avocados went bad 😦
Keep frozen and canned vegetables and beans on hand! Not sure if this is just a broke college student thing, but I am constantly grubbing on some frozen veggies that I just threw into a pan with a dollop of coconut oil. Or making some super quick, healthy hummus from canned chickpeas! These practically non-perishable foods are wonderful to have, especially if you know you have a hectic week or think you wont have time to go grocery shopping for awhile.
5. Not getting involved sooner!!!
I honestly can’t believe I didn’t get out into the vegan community until as late as I did. Look up on Facebook “*insert your city here* vegan” and I guarantee something will pop up. If nothing does, look up a slightly larger town nearby you! I promise it is worth your time and effort to get to know other likeminded people. My city now has a weekly vegan dinner, and is open to the vegan/vegetarian/interested people, and I already love them so much.
MORE YOU CAN DO:
Leaflet with Vegan Outreach
Find (or even found) a vegan club at your school
Take a food or environmental ethics class
Buy vegan shirts & wear them around (You’d be surprised by how many other people are vegan in your area!)
Start a vegan Instagram & follow the vegan community
Visit an animal sanctuary (UGH I STILL NEED TO DO THIS)
Join various vegan Facebook groups
Go to your local farmers market
Those are just a few of the things I did (or want to do in the near future) that have led me to meet some of the most incredible people. One of the worst things ever being vegan is feeling alone. But trust me you are nowhere near alone. The vegan community is growing like crazy, you just have to put yourself out there are meet some awesome veegs 🙂
XOXO Mindful Madeline
Want to help a broke college student out? I just was accepted into the vegan grassroots internship of my dreams in San Diego. Any help is greatly appreciated! GoFundMe!