When Hayley Sugg decided to go vegan 10 years ago, few people understood or accepted her diet and lifestyle choice—everything from hosting guests to requesting vegan options at a restaurant was a struggle. "We've moved on from the time of vegan 'cheese' being synonymous with orange plastic to now, when plant-based gourmet cheese companies are sprouting up like weeds," she writes in an article for Cooking Light.
Veganism might be more widely understood and accepted, but she points out there are still a lot of misconceptions about what it's like to cut animal products from your diet. "I've experienced everything from dealing with naysayers to grappling with cravings for non-vegan foods," she says. To celebrate World Vegan Day (November 1), Sugg has penned a list for anyone thinking of going vegan: What cravings are like, her biggest struggle, and why it's worth it. Here's what she wants you to know before you take the plunge.
The First Year Is the Hardest
In Sugg's experience, the first 12 months of going vegan are the most challenging—and not necessarily because you can't eat meat. "I was vegetarian for a year previously, so giving up meat wasn't an issue, but I was really missing one thing: cheese." While she was worried that she'd crave cheese for the rest of her life, she says the desire passed. "I'm happy to say that after about a year, my brain's view seemed to 'reset' itself. Although in theory, I knew that cheese, bacon, and lot of other animal-based foods tasted good, I'd outright lost all interest in them."
You Might Not Lose Weight
"It's a common misnomer that all vegans are skinny. While [weight loss] may happen for some people, especially if they were eating a particularly poor diet lacking in fruits and veggies beforehand, veganism doesn't always lead to a lower body weight or some life-changing energy boost."
You'll Be Regular
"It's TMI time. If you're eating a well-balanced vegan diet, you'll be eating a lot of fiber from natural sources like fruits, veggies, and grains," she writes. "Ask any vegan how often they go, and I pretty much guarantee it will be more frequent than the average person."
Thinking about going vegan? Add this low-calorie soup to your cooking repertoire.