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Being Vegan is too Hard

I hear this all the time. It's right up there with: You can't possibly be vegan all the time. But I'm not here to judge. I felt this way once too! I never thought I would be able to maintain this way of eating for very long. But here we are! Thinking this way can keep you from even trying something like this or maintaining it, and that's unfortunate because the health benefits are so so worth it.

Adopting this type of lifestyle can seem overwhelming for sure. Maybe even crazy. For me, it was exciting because I was in it to improve my health. Plus, I love to cook! I get excited to take ingredients and put them together to come up with a new masterpiece... even if it is just a sandwich :) But even if you don't like cooking, that doesn't mean you can't do this. And I've surprised myself with what I've been capable of making. And it's not because I'm special or have some crazy cooking ability. I never made anything overly difficult before I started all of this, honestly. And it doesn't mean that you have to spend hours and hours in the kitchen. I mean, you can if you want, but it isn't necessary.

In my case, my health was in a really dire situation. I had Stage IV breast cancer and had nothing to lose. I figured I had to try anything I could think of to reach my goal of No Evidence of Disease (NED). Even if that was a lofty goal, I was determined to make it happen. And I was willing to give up my beloved cheese if that's what it took. (Turns out, eating animal products increases your risk of all sorts of chronic illnesses, including cancer. You can read more about it here and here.)

At first, it was weird trying to come up with meals that didn't revolve around meat. But meat

wasn't anything I ever got overly excited about anyway. I mean, I ate it and enjoyed the taste of it, but it was never the most exciting part of a meal for me. I've always been a side lover. But cheese. Oh how I loved cheese. This one was difficult for me. I put cheese on anything and everything I possibly could. I snacked on cheese. Plain, on crackers, with veggies. I just loved it. I always thought it was crazy when people requested food without cheese. Who does that anyway??? Crazy people, that's who.

But as time has gone on, I have found ways around all of this. Animal products kind of gross me out now. I mean, I don't act that out when I'm around people eating it. They have to choose what they're doing, although I will always be there as a source of encouragement if they want to try it! And I have found alternatives that are vegan that I enjoy when I want them (I try to avoid processed food as much as possible, but I'm not perfect. It's all about balance, ya know?).

But even with all the wonderful vegan products out there, I don't miss having cheese on things like I thought I would. The only thing I always have vegan cheese on is pizza. For me, pizza just isn't the same without "cheese." And at first, it was a little weird. It made me uncomfortable and a little disappointed to not have cheese on foods I would've previously smothered in it. But after some time, I've found to miss it less and less. Plus I've learned how to make "cheese" sauces for pasta and nachos that will taste so good it'll make your toes curl!

And figuring out our meals has become easier as well. I used to have to scour through cookbooks and websites for recipes I could make that would fill us up and still be vegan and healthy. It was work, but now... Now, I just buy pretty much the same ingredients every week and make up dinners based on what we feel like. And it never gets boring and rarely do we have meal that we don't enjoy very much. My point is, it takes practice. It's a big change for most of us, but it is doable! Anything worth doing isn't easy, and if it isn't making you uncomfortable, you probably aren't growing as a person. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, ya know?

So if you're interested in the way of eating, hang in there. It's an adjustment at first, but it gets easier! I promise you. It'll become second nature just like your current way of eating. But bonus: you won't feel like shit ;)


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