Skip to Content

Why I Became A Vegan

Growing up, I didn’t really think about my weight. I cheered in middle and high school and just didn’t think too much about it in college. Post college, though, I started gaining weight. I ate out more, was stressed more consistently with work, and looked up one day and was not happy about my weight.

Even more, I have become more in tune with my body and how I feel. This really started when I did the Whole30. Following those 30 days, I could really tell when my body did not feel good, and I was not thrilled about how much I didn’t feel great.

During this same time, I have started listening to the Almost 30 Podcast which has made me think about living a holistic lifestyle. I have already written about my transition to natural deodorant (which also includes soap and toothpaste), I have increased my use of essential oils in place of medicine, have stopped using birth control and have started using natural tampons. The last branch of that holistic tree is becoming a vegan. My aunt and uncle started the trend of becoming a vegan in our family, my dad was next, and then me.

Why I Became Vegan

People come vegan for lots of reasons. But for me, it was about eliminating foods out of my diet that my body doesn’t like. It was about putting things into my body that would make me feel good and help me to live my best life.

Vegans don’t eat products that have come from an animal. For me, that means I don’t eat dairy and animal-based protein (like eggs and meat). I will eat regular butter if I am at a restaurant and I do eat honey. Also, I point out those last two things to say all vegans don’t have to be ‘strict’. I believe like any other lifestyle change, this is about what works best for the individual and about living your best life.

What has this been like for me?

People often ask me if this has been hard. Has it been difficult to cut those things out of my diet? I thought it would be, but I have been surprised at how easy it has been for me.

First off, I feel great!

When I did Whole30, I learned that my body doesn’t love dairy. Before those 30 days, I often went to bed with a stomach ache and really thought it was normal. Well, it wasn’t. I rarely have a stomach ache now, rarely have a headache, have more energy and don’t have acid reflux as much. It is kind of crazy!

Next, it hasn’t been challenging to replace foods and have a balanced diet.

There are ways to get protein outside of animals (I eat a lot of beans and chickpeas). And there are an abundance of vegetables that I can incorporate into my diet. There are so many good substitutes asl well. Some of my favorite brands of plant-based proteins are Gardein and No Evil Foods. I like Go Veggie and Follow Your Heart  for non dairy cheese. Plus, Ben and Jerry’s has a non-dairy ice cream. The list goes on. There are many options for your favorite non-vegan foods. Vegan Liftz shares many alternatives! You don’t have to give up your favorite foods to be vegan.

Not to mention, there are a good amount of restaurants with either vegan options (meaning they say they were created for vegans), or ways to make their food vegan-friendly. Yard House (a chain restaurant) has half a menu of vegetarian and vegan options, but I have made food at places like Zoe’s and Chipotle work for me.

Even the meal kit industry has jumped on the bandwagon with Purple Carrot. I will say traveling can be hard as airports can be challenging and international travel is quite challenging. Pro-tip though for airports, in a pinch I will get a salad and fries from places like Chik Fil A or Wendy’s. I go to a good bit of networking events, and they don’t often have vegan options, but they normally have vegetarian options that I can eat like hummus and vegetables (did I already say how much I love chickpeas). Also, I rarely miss dairy or meat, and I haven’t missed it enough yet to add either back.

Finally, it is becoming more mainstream, so it has been easier to find tips for what to do.

There are a good bit of Instagram accounts I follow for tips and advice. When I talk about it with friends, they understand what I am saying and don’t often have to ask a lot of questions.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Why I Became A Vegan” quote=”Why I Became A Vegan”]

My future as a vegan and tips for transitioning.

I have also been asked when I will stop being a vegan. And I don’t have an answer. Because of all the benefits I talked about earlier, I don’t know when I will want to go back to having animal-based proteins. My aunt and uncle have added back seafood, so that may be something I think about, but for now, I am good and happy.

If you are thinking about becoming a vegan, the one thing I would say at the beginning is to have an understanding of why you are doing it. It has been easy for me, but I am under no illusion that it will be easy for everyone. If you are clear on your reason for doing it, though, it will be easier to stick to it.

If you do make the decision, plan out meals for your first week or so. My first week was on the heels of a vacation, so I ate out for lunch every day to try different restaurants. Think about what you will eat for your various meals and spend some time at your favorite grocery store to prepare. I like Whole Foods (hello Amazon Prime!), Fresh Market and Trader Joe’s. Finally, try to follow a few accounts to give you some motivation!

Are you a vegan? Thinking about it? I’d love to hear from y’all!

About the Author

Jessica Sharp

Jessica Sharp is passionate about empowering underserved and minority communities, diverse representation, and brain education. Jessica is the Founder and Chief Educator of Sharp Brain Consulting which works with public service agencies to provide education about the brain and its effect on organizational outcomes. Additionally, she is on the leadership team of Meals on Wheels in her town of Greenville, SC. She is completing a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri. Upon her completion, she will attend William James College to obtain a Doctorate of Psychology. Follow her on twitter at @sharpjes.