If you’ve had a meal with me over the past month, then you would know that I have totally failed at veganism. However, I have in fact kept up with my monthly goal of eating healthier in February. I may not have eaten 100% vegan, but hey – at least I tried.
The truth is, I found it much easier eating more plant-based and whole foods before I tried my month of veganism. Sure, I got to test out some super tasty vegan recipes and was more creative with my cooking, but that’s not what I found difficult. What was really hard for me was the fact that I go out so much to eat (first world problems, am I right?).
Prior to attempt eating vegan, I usually ordered the first thing that appealed to me on the menu. Bibimbap? You got it. Avocado on toast? That sounds great. A smoked salmon bagel? I’m already drooling. But then when I put restrictions on my diet, I learned that there were many things that I couldn’t eat. I never actually thought about how difficult it was to scour a menu , check ingredients and possibly look for substitutes (all while pretending like I’m having a great time eating a salad and not thinking about the steak that I really, really wanted to order).
The other hard part about eating fully vegan was the fact that I felt like was missing out on the experiences of some meals. The crazy part is, I was actually vegetarian for six years before I moved to Taiwan. I started eating meat again the summer before my international move because I wanted to experience the entire culture without limiting my meal options. Trying to eat completely vegan felt the same for me. I didn’t want to go to a restaurant that specialized in seafood and not be able to taste the flavours from the ocean. I didn’t want visit a French café and not try a soup just because it was also coated in a layer of melted cheese. I didn’t want to grab a coffee and worry about what kind of milk was in my latte. I just don’t have that kind of willpower, people.
So, the moral of the story is that I’ve learned two things about myself. The first is that I don’t think I could ever fully go vegan (but seriously, I have a lot of respect for people that can). The second is that I definitely want to keep cooking and eating more plant-based and whole foods. Even though this month of veganism didn’t exactly go to plan, I still love eating and trying out new vegan recipes. For now, maybe I’ll just stick to cooking vegan at home and decide what to eat when I’m out.