I’ve been vegetarian more than half my life, but only recently did I decide that veganism was something I wanted to try. I started with just saying that my kitchen would be vegan, and now I’ve moved on to being completely vegan.
And I have to be honest, I think I’m falling in love.
It’s not just that I feel better, both physically and mentally, or because it’s good for animals or the planet.
Here are the three awesome things that happened when I started being vegan that completely surprised me:
I’ve become a more adventurous cook
I’ve never been a bad cook (although I can recall a burrito with only carrots and cheese that I made as a child that was just gross), but I tend to fall into ruts in the kitchen. When I was first living on my own I ate mostly pasta with pesto, and every new dish I learned to cook would become a rut of its own.
Since I became vegan I’ve really enjoyed looking at cookbooks and food blogs and finding new things I wouldn’t have ever tried before. This is the first winter I’ve cooked extensively with pumpkin and squash, dry beans instead of canned, and learned how to bake good rolls to go with my soup.
I want to start experimenting with raw foods, and continue to expand my vegan baking abilities. Being vegan has made visiting the grocery store a treasure hunt for new things, and has made my kitchen feel like a creative space.
Being vegan has taught me how to plan a menu
I’ve never been good at planning my meals in advance, which really bothered me, since it saves both time and food. But since being fully vegan limits where I can eat, especially on a student budget (and schedule), I’ve had to learn to plan my meals.
I’m in the habit of doing most my shopping and cooking on Sunday. This makes Sunday morning an exciting time to read blogs and google for recipes, whether I have specific ingredients in mind or just need inspiration.
Since it’s winter, I’ve been making a soup each week, which gives me an easy meal to take with me to university (I have an amazing soup thermos). I love knowing that I have enough food to make it through the week, because it makes concentrating on school that much easier.
Being vegan has completely changed how I feel about food
I used to think of eating as an annoying inconvenience.
Sure, there were foods I really enjoyed eating, but most of what I ate I ate simply so as not to be hungry anymore. I actively wished that I could only eat once a day, or even once a week, instead of three times a day, if only to save time.
While being vegan hasn’t made me fall madly in love with breakfast, it has helped me learn to enjoy cooking and eating more than I ever did before. I’ve cooked more meals that I really wanted to eat in the last few months than in the rest of my life combined, and I especially love dishes that are extremely colorful, like this vegetable paella from Robin Robertson. Looking forward to meal times has been a really nice change.
Looking back, I wish I had become vegan earlier. It’s certainly the best thing that’s ever happened to my kitchen. More importantly, it’s made me really appreciate the food I eat, the adventure that recipe planning can be, and the creativity that I can bring to my own kitchen.
What about you? Did anything surprise you about becoming vegan? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear about it!