When You’ve Been Vegan Too Long

Hannah Ellis January 27, 2014 16
When You’ve Been Vegan Too Long

I am now at about three years. Three years vegan. Something that fills me with utmost pride, warmth and, well, kind of wonderment.

I can’t believe I’ve achieved it, but mostly: I can’t believe how easy it’s been.

Sometimes I find it hard to remember a time before I was a “seasoned” vegan, exactly the way I am now… barely a second thought for what to eat for breakfast! But of course I wasn’t always this content and now I notice the major differences between now and when I was adjusting.

I have had my phases. When I first went vegan I was full-scary militant… (my poor friends and family). I was traumatized, loud and wanted the entire world to go vegan with me! Although that “Hannah” is still in there somewhat, she is now much more relaxed and content. It’s a process like anything else, I suppose.

So, how do I know that I have been vegan for “too long”? (Although of course there’s no such thing!)

 

1) My desserts sound like something from a health retreat.

Yep, if you come for desert at mine, it is likely going to have a higher vegetable content than sugar content. Sorry peeps! Dark Chocolate Avocado Brownies anyone? Yeah, they’re made from AVOCADOS! You’d never know! Sugar Free Banana Bread, Friend? Bananas are sweet enough, right?! Who needs sugar?!

*Collective groan* It’s a wonder I have any friends left, really.

 

2) I’ve forgotten the answer to “So, why did you go vegan?”

I used to LOVE this question. I ached for it. I wanted anyone to ask me about veganism so I could preach and change lives and bestow wisdom upon all. Oh, how things have changed. I am not speaking for anyone else, but personally, the longer I’m vegan the less I want to talk about it. Of course, I dream that loved ones will convert or people will be interested, but really – it’s a personal life choice and I’m not interested in trying to “pitch” it anymore. When people ask “why are you vegan”, I’m just left confused. It’s been so long now, my list of knee-jerk statistics seem a long time ago.

Now my answer is just… “er… cause. Duh. Obviously”

 

3) I can’t walk down the refrigerator aisle at Supermarkets

Speaks for itself. I can’t remember the last time I walked down the meat or dairy sections in a supermarket; they creep me out. Occasionally I’ll buy some vegan butter, but that’s usually from a lovely, zen-like health food store. No dead animals in sight.

 

4) I have a sixth sense for vegan-friendly places.

I can be walking with friends down a random street and suddenly stop. Walk back. See that place, there? I bet they have vegan cake. And I tell ya what… I’m rarely wrong! Weird, huh? Vegan superpowers must be real.

 

5) I want to punch people that apologize for ordering meat.

Look, we wouldn’t be hanging out if I only wanted to be friends with vegans. So, please don’t look up to me after ordering chicken and say “oh, sorry…Do you mind?”

I. Don’t. Care.

Besides, why are you saying sorry to me? I’m not the one you’re chewing on….

 

6) I’ve dabbled in raw foods

How do you know you’ve been vegan too long? Yep, you’ve probably tried a raw food diet or a juice fast or a cleanse or all of the above. Not a bad thing! Just hilarious.

 

7) I no longer have any delusions my dream man will be vegan

I abandoned this fantasy WAY back. I once dreamed my future involved a Jared Leto/Tobey Maguire-esc vegan hunk who would break into factory farms with me, share all my morals, make lentil curries by night and green smoothies by day.

I no longer have this dream.

I can count on one hand how many vegan men I’ve met in the last three years and I usually do not want to date them. Just because we are both vegan, does not mean we are destined to be together ….. Perhaps I will fall in love with a meat-eater, perhaps a vegetarian, perhaps I will convert someone…..who knows?

 

8) Someone else being vegan isn’t the biggest deal in the entire world.

When I first went vegan, if I met ANYONE who was too, I got overly-excited and went a bit nuts. “Oh my God! I’M a vegan too! Whoa! Hey, so let’s move in together and be besties!”

Creepy, creepy, creepy, Hannah.

 

9) Someone saying they USED to vegan isn’t the biggest deal in the entire world.

Yes. I confess this used to make me really upset. Probably because I felt nervous and threatened, which just isn’t the case anymore. I’m at peace with my choice outside of anyone else’s experience.

 

10) I can’t remember the last time I watched an animal cruelty video

This will not go for everyone, by any means, but I used to watch a lot of traumatizing videos from farms to educate myself. I read lots of books, listened to all the lectures…. everything. Now, I can’t remember the last time I sat down and watched any harrowing documentaries. Of course, I like to stay educated, but I no longer have anything to prove to myself or others. I am a vegan and I don’t need to remind myself why anymore :)

 

11) The concept of leather (and fur!) baffles me.

When I walk in shops now and I see leather (fur is obvious) I do feel genuinely baffled. How can people not see this for what it is? Oh gawd… these are animals SKINS. I don’t think I was always so confused by it… I shunned it because I knew about the industries and wanted to be 100% “vegan”, but I don’t know if leather really bothered me as much as it does now. Wandering department stores is genuinely terrifying when you are bombarded with the AMOUNT of leather. It’s scary.

 

12) I won’t pretend food is delicious if it isn’t

I used to be so grateful when a restaurant had any kind of vegan food that I would gobble it down, smile and rave regardless of how it tasted. I would try and demonstrate for friends how EASY being vegan is. See, you can still eat out! Mmmm delicious aubergine! But then, if a friend reached over to taste I’d be like: “nooooo!” and hurl myself at them Hollywood Action Style because I knew it wasn’t actually that good.

Now?

Screw that! Vegan food can be absolutely delicious and I’m not going to be “grateful” to a place for chucking some apple into a bowl and calling it dessert. That ain’t dessert.

I’m always happy if places cater for vegans, obviously… but you can tell who has put some “love” in and who has just slapped some vegetables on a plate.

We aren’t such a tiny, weird minority anymore… please cater for us! We’re just trying to help :)

 

With each day I think about my “veganism” less and less. It’s just a part of who I am and not something I am constantly aware of or trying to prove to anyone.

For any new vegans out there, if you are going through the initial phases, just enjoy them and try not to worry. If being vegan, animal welfare or food is on your mind non-stop, please know that it will pass. People’s reactions will bother you less with time, seeing milk getting knocked over will bother you less with time and you will be able to live a normal life!

Going vegan is truly the best decision I’ve ever made. Sometimes you need to struggle a bit to get to something fantastic and it is amazing when you get to feel more confident and affirmed with time. It comes from yourself (and your amazing health), from other people making the same decision and the growing supporting research.

I feel a new peace, a new confidence and a new contentment with every new day. That’s how I know I’ve been vegan “too long” ;)

 

16 Comments »

  1. Gabe Hartman January 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm -

    Hi Hannah!
    Your article has me cracking up! I am just at 3 years vegan myself and it’s killing me how spot on you are! Luckily my wife went vegan with me and is passionate about the lifestyle as well. I couldn’t imagine trying to date as a vegan. Most of the vegan girls I’ve met aren’t my type. Anyways, I finally let the vegan sticker come off of my water canister and don’t really advertise it anymore. I totally agree that it is so annoying when carnivores order apologetically. Anyways, love you and your vegan-ness:-). Ps I just finished a 30 juice fast LOL!

  2. Emily January 27, 2014 at 12:46 pm -

    So funny! It’s all so true! 9 years vegan now and I don’t even remember what non vegan foods taste like. I made a new ranch dressing the other day and admitted “I’m not sure if it actually tastes like ranch but it’s creamy and the baby and I ate a ton!”

  3. Gretchen January 27, 2014 at 1:34 pm -

    Almost 7 years in myself and #2 is so true. I don’t want to discuss my reasons for vegan ism anymore. I guess I’m sick of all the ?s from hearing them so much. I’d much rather talk recipes. And yeah, I’m marrying a non-vegan. He’s awesome and eats whatever I make at home ( and loves it) but ears what he wants at restaurants and at work. I’m okay with it, I can’t control what other people eat and it’s not my job. And I’m thankful he’s so not interested in preparing food at home he never brings home meat/dairy.

  4. Belle January 27, 2014 at 2:23 pm -

    Hi Hannah, loved your article. I’ve been vegan for I’ve been vegan 10 years now, although my husband isn’t! I have never forced it on him, he actually prefers vegan cakes & chocolate to the dairy kind, especially Jokerz bars! The only thing that really used to bother me was the usual comment “if you don’t eat fish, meat, dairy or eggs, what do you eat!” I always felt as though I had to explain what I ate!! Now my reply is “AIR” because if someone is that stupid that they cannot think of any other food sources available I can’t be bothered to talk to them!
    Belle

  5. Sara January 27, 2014 at 3:35 pm -

    Hi, I would love to try your brownie and banana bread recipes but your links don’t work. Where can I find the recipes :)

  6. Rebecca January 28, 2014 at 3:01 am -

    You nailed it! It’s like reading about my own life. Number 5 especially…thanks for reminding me that I’m not alone :)

  7. Anneke January 28, 2014 at 5:06 am -

    I totally get number 5.
    Seriously just eat your food! It’s your choice and I am not going to vomit, gag or fight you just because I see you eating meat!
    My mother and Luke keeps apologising when we go to a cafe that doesn’t have a vegan biscuit or cake or something. They don’t seem to understand that I didn’t want one in the first place regardless of what it is made from.
    GAH!
    (“I will not resort to physical violence, I will not!”)

    P.S Hannah you really are my top inspiration for becoming vegan so thank you, thank you, thank you!

  8. Robyn February 2, 2014 at 10:16 am -

    3 years? I’m 29 years and not missing a beat. I too don’t miss a thing. Thanks for your thoughts

  9. Marcia February 2, 2014 at 10:22 am -

    Hannah thank u for these comments….I am vegetarian only because I still own my leather shoes, bags, and jacket…which I have before I went veggie. I am eating more vegan but still feel guilty about my leather..oh well that’s my story. I look forward to ur Sunday emails!

  10. Ellen February 2, 2014 at 1:54 pm -

    Great article. I’ve been vegan for just about three years too but I’m still militant, still watch abuse videos, and still act as though it were Day One of my new lifestyle. Am I weird? (Don’t answer that!) I don’t think so….not as long as nonhumans continue to be slaughtered for food, household products, or clothing; or exploited for entertainment.

  11. Zyxomma February 2, 2014 at 3:51 pm -

    I’ve been vegan for about three decades — half my life, about. I create some of the most delicious dishes on the planet (cooked or live, depending on my mood and what ingredients I have on hand), partly because I’ve been cooking since I was a toddler (I got miniature baking dishes for my 5th birthday), partly because my senses of smell and taste are very acute (I’m also an aromatherapist), and partly because I know so much about physiology and nutrition. Although I’m a long-term vegan, I’m relatively short-term free of modern wheat — I think it’s about 15 months. I’ll still eat einkorn, but no more of that dwarf hybrid with the huge seed head that codes for novel proteins that cross the blood-brain barrier to bind with opiate receptors! If I want a plant telling me what to think and how to feel, I’d rather smoke pot. Happy year of the wood horse to all, and I wish you health and peace.

  12. Nettie February 2, 2014 at 4:33 pm -

    Your description of the phases that we vegans often go through is accurate. I also went through a traumatized angry phase and a raw food phase.

    However I have a different take on number 2. I love it when people ask why I’ m vegan. I want to encourage people to make more compassionate choices. Veganism is about sparing animals from suffering and the more that others change their consumption patterns the more animals will be spared and the more suffering will be reduced.

    Who will speak for animals if not us? The trick of course is to learn how to do so effectively. That took time for me to learn since being angry and judgemental doesn’t t work and does more harm than good.

    My goal is to create change . This is not about me or my veganism but about the animals, cruelty and pain and suffering. I have been vegan for about 24 years. I have dedicated my life to speaking up for animals. Unlike my raw food period, this is not a phase but very worth while work.
    There are different ways to do this: wear message
    gear, leaflet, cook yummy vegan food to share, etc.

    I recommend the book the Animal Activist Handbook. It has so much valuable info.

  13. ravi February 2, 2014 at 5:45 pm -

    there are plenty of websites where you can meet your dream vegan man. veggie singles, green singles, etc etc. you’d be surprised.

  14. Sascha February 3, 2014 at 9:07 am -

    Great post! I’ve been vegan exactly half your time – a year and a half – and I recognize all of it. Especially people saying “is it okay if I order this?” They seem to not quite have grasped that they’re free to eat whatever they want and I’ll still be friends with them.

    My future husband isn’t vegan, but my lifestyle has influenced him a lot – he eats almost no meat, has stopped eating dairy and no longer uses animal bones in his work (he’s a guitar maker, among other things).

    Although I still very much have visions of Jared Leto breaking into farms with me. Or, you know, doing anything with me. As long as it’s Jared <3

  15. Stephanie February 3, 2014 at 9:59 am -

    How did you get in my head and read my thoughts exactly?! I’m 3 years WFPB and finally at peace with every aspect. :). Thank you for the validation. It’s heartwarming.

  16. Samantha February 4, 2014 at 4:06 am -

    Couldn’t agree more with all of these

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