Going vegan was something that I never thought that I would be able to do. I first decided to eat vegan to test myself and my eating habits. I assumed that eating an entirely plant based diet would last a week at most, and then I would go back to eating pasta covered in parmesan and salmon sushi rolls. But now three months have passed with me eating vegan and I've encountered a lot of surprises. 

1. There is way more to eat than just lettuce 

A vegan diet is not just all salads, all the time. There are loads of options for filling a vegan diet. You don't have to give up your favorites either, as most animal products have great vegan substitutes. When I first started eating a vegan diet, I was unsure of what to eat, but quickly found brands and products that work for me. I can pretty much eat anywhere and anything that I did before, just with some modifications. Most restaurants can accommodate a vegan diet, and there are even entirely vegan cafes. Who knew? Not me. 

2. Sometimes I have to tell people that I'm vegan 

I don't need to constantly talk about my vegan diet, but it  comes up in conversation more than I would have expected. I eat at least three times of day, so, yeah, my self-imposed diet restrictions do come up. But, I don't have a t-shirt or a bumper sticker, nor do I scream it from the rooftops. It comes up when it comes up.

3. Sometimes I 'cheat'

I always assumed that it was all vegan, or no vegan. But the longer that I have been eating this diet, the more I have come to understand that a lot of vegans will stray every once in a while. While 99.9% of the time I eat entirely vegan, sometimes I will have some meat if it looks really good. Eating vegan is not about deprivation, so sometimes I step off of the tracks. 

4. People became very concerned about my nutrition

Before transitioning to a vegan diet, I had never been asked about my nutrition, general health or if I was eating enough food. But, eating vegan opened the door to a lot of concern for my nutritional intake, mostly how I am getting my protein. I eat a more balanced diet now than I did before, but I still get asked at least once a week if I am eating 'alright' or 'enough.' (The answer is yes by the way, I'm fine). 

5. The stigma of being vegan is fairly one sided

Before becoming vegan, I always thought that there was a superiority that came with eating plant-based. But, I've come to discover that that doesn't exist. I don't care if you're not a vegan any more than you care that I am. Eating what best serves your body is different for every person. I don't have a throne to sit on just because my best meal plan is plant-based. 

6. I have to explain just "how vegan I am"

There are pseudo-vegan diets, and there are entirely vegan lifestyles, then there's pretty much everything in-between. When I tell people I am vegan, it often comes with an explanation of what that means to me. I get asked questions about wearing leather, using beeswax chapsticks and the strictness of my diet. I never realized that there was such a spectrum or such interest in holding vegans accountable for being entirely vegan before becoming one.

I have come to love my vegan diet, through all of its surprises. For now, I am alright sticking to cheese substitutes, but who knows, maybe one day I will get back on the non-vegan gravy train.