I’ve Been Vegan for 8 Years and This Is What I’ve Learned
Well, roughly 8 years, it could very well be longer. I actually don’t have the exact date I went vegan, and I’m still kicking myself for it. But regardless, I’ve been vegan for a long time. Like, only being able to buy vegan shampoo at a health food store kind of long. So I’ve learned a lot about the vegan community in that time. I’ve seen my opinions grow and change, and I watched the movement flourish into what it is today. Which brings me to my first point..
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The vegan movement is growing rapidly
Just check out this Google Trend that shows how often people were searching the term “vegan”. From 2004 to 2020, searches grew exponentially, especially during 2017 and 2019.
I can definitely see this mirrored in real life too. I used to be nervous ordering at non-vegan restaurants because many people hadn’t heard of veganism. Now, I feel a lot more secure ordering anywhere because most people are more familiar with the term.
Speciesism is a real problem
Speciesism is the idea that one animal species is morally more important than another, and should be treated accordingly to this hierarchy. Most people are speciesists, which I believe stems from a lack of education on non-human animal biology. Like, for example, believing the myth that only humans can feel pain. This has led people to turn a blind eye to animal abuse in animal agriculture and animal testing.
Related: 6 Books to Combat Speciesism
The future is vegan
There has been incredible scientific advancements in veganism, like for example, lab grown meat. Truth be told, animal agriculture isn’t sustainable. And culturally, we may one day have to switch to something like lab grown meat to better our health and the environment. So I’m excited to see where the science takes us over the next few decades.
Vegan diets almost always fail
I talked about this in the post Why Some Vegans Fail: Thoughts From a Vegan of 8 Years, but I’ll touch on it here briefly. I believe you need outside motivation to be vegan longterm. I’ve noticed a pattern that people who go vegan for diet or health reasons, are more likely to quit than someone who went vegan for ethical reasons. Coupled with the difficulty of dieting in general, vegan dieters aren’t set up to be vegan sustainably.
Too much pseudoscience
As someone who tries to be as science-literate as I can, I cringe every time I hear a vegan spread misinformation or pseudoscience about veganism. For example, a popular myth vegans spread is that certain fruits and vegetables contain a lot of protein. This just isn’t the case.
I’ve seen people claim that vegetables like spinach or broccoli are high protein, but spinach has 2.9g per 3.5oz, and broccoli has 2.5g per 1 cup. You would have to eat a lot of spinach and broccoli to get your daily requirement.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great sources of plant-based protein. Beans, legumes, nuts, certain grains, tofu and nutritional yeast are all high in protein, (even in just one serving size.)
But for whatever reason, vegans like to propagate this myth and claim certain foods or recipes to be high in protein. But in reality, they are not.
Related: 20 Easy Vegan Protein Sources
Take the damn vitamins
I’ll be honest, I spent most of my time being vegetarian and vegan, (so, my whole life), not taking any vitamins or supplements. It was mostly because I was a child in a non-vegan household, in a time where veganism was unheard of, so I just didn’t know any better. But I educated myself, and this is no longer the case. I obviously didn’t die from a lack of whatever vitamins or minerals, but please don’t do what I did.
A final note
Did anything surprise you from this list? If you’re vegan, what have you learned since starting? Don’t forget to share your thoughts below.