Being vegan has its perks. You enjoy the best food at the most unusual places with the highest quality. Ever seen a vegan McDonald’s? Exactly.
I never thought I would be able to live without meat, cheese, and butter. Being vegan, though, has been one of the best and longest-lasting commitments I have made with myself. It is not always easy to maintain an animal-free diet and lifestyle but I can not imagine going back to feeling sluggish, needing more sleep, thinking slower, being less productive, and generally feeling lost in a malaise of borderline depression all the time. Something that has become common when I sit down to eat or share pictures of my vegan meals on social media is non-vegan friends saying, “Wow, that actually looks good!”
The surprise is genuine. I think most non-vegans (I was one, too) believe vegans eat a bunch of bland, gross, or tasteless cardboard-like “fake” meat… and lettuce. Lots of lettuce.
Prepare to have your non-vegan mind blown. Here is a dirty secret we veggie-lovers have been hiding from the world. Are you ready for this?
Okay… here it is:
Dude, vegans eat like freaking KINGS. Kings!
It’s true. The only time vegans have less than amazing meals is when they are out with non-vegan friends and trying to find a compromise where everyone can eat happily (which actually means where everyone but the vegan can eat happily, but whatever… we’re used to it).
Here are three reasons we have it so good (and there are a lot more but I like to keep it simple):
- Vegans eat crazy creative foods. Without the crutch of meat and cheese, vegans have to be creative about what they eat. Instead of old curdled milk fat and cow pus, we use crazy living healthy food like nutritional yeast for cheesy flavors. It’s awesome and twice as versatile; we use it in soups and salads, on pizza and macaroni, or on most anything else, just for fun. Instead of burnt pig flesh, we use a combination of live enzymes and soybeans to make something as dense as steak, called tempeh. We season it the same way and use it in many of the same dishes (there are tempeh burgers, tempeh bacon, and even tempeh steaks) except we enjoy a great deal more nutrition without that gross, heavy feeling at the end… you know, that feeling like you just ate a dead animal?
- Vegans enjoy better looking food that is healthier. Think about this: burger and fries. Brown bread, browned potatoes, with a dark brown patty of fat and ground up body parts. Take a look at your vegan friend’s plate. You see green, red, yellow, white, purple, orange, and even a little brown, too. We eat more fruits and vegetables, obviously, but that means we also eat more colors. An easy way to make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals is to be sure you eat lots of colorful food (for example, greens like kale and spinach are great sources of protein, while yellow bananas carry potassium, orange peppers are loaded with vitamin C, white tofu has calcium, and purple cabbage is a killer source of vitamin A). Vegans eat lots of colors practically by default, but also we love finding new flavors. Once you start your vegan journey, you learn about a whole new world of flavors and foods you never imagined! Lychees, tofu, tempeh, seitan, nutritional yeast, kimchi, kumquats… all things that were not only not on my pre-vegan menu but also things I would probably have never heard of until I had a reason to explore outside my comfort zone.
- Vegans eat the best food available. When you choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle, you can not help but learn about food. Once you gain knowledge on factory farming, how supermarkets work, food marketing, and quality standards while also learning about available local food, farmers markets, and organic farming practices, you can not help but eat better. You become a food connoisseur. If you have not noticed, most vegan food is the highest quality food you can find–GMO-free, usually organic, often locally obtained, cruelty-free (meaning no animals were harmed in the making of it) and produced under strict standards. Think about it. Anything certified vegan has to be treated special because it caters to a specific, food-educated audience. The food is handled on special, segregated equipment. It is made with special, high-quality ingredients. It is even prepared in special, non-harming ways. Imagine the fast-food burger flipper with no idea where the meat was assembled or even what animals it was made from before it arrived in a box of other frozen patties. Imagine the local vegan-friendly restaurant who buys their produce from the farm up the road, prepares the food fresh (because you know vegans don’t like preservatives and weird chemicals in their food!) and makes sure it is good enough for a crowd of picky eaters. You have to deliver the goods when the people you are cooking for know as much about the food as you probably know.
So there you have it.
Today’s lesson: If you have the perception that vegan-life is filled with suffering while grazing on wheat grass and hugging cows… you are missing out big time. When you REALLY want to find and enjoy the best food available and eat like royalty… have your vegan foodie friend take you out for dinner (and be prepared for some crazy delicious foods you never heard of)!
P.S. Shout out and special thanks to my Lantern friends who helped me bring this article to a close. Thanks!