Hi loves – this is such a long-awaited post, I know!
Why, you ask?
I’ve always been pretty passionate about the environment, but especially so when I was enrolled in a course in college called Sustainability in Action. It was reminiscent of my high school AP Environmental Science class, but it was specifically tailored towards the business sector & it was basically a low-down of how we can “adult” in a sustainable way. So it was less of an OMG-the-world-is-ending-we’re-doomed moment & more of a HERE’S WHAT WE CAN DO TO CHANGE THE WORLD.
Which, I adore. 100%.
Not saying I started this balanced lifestyle guide + brand to change the world – but the goal here IS to foster community & see if the things that have worked out for me may possibly improve YOU and the beautiful life you’re living.
Hi, it’s your human guinea pig here reporting for business!
Anyway, flashback to 2014, when, during the rare times I read my textbooks in high school ( we’ve all been there, right? ), I saw a glaring statistic that I remember to this day : we needed 4 freakin’ planet Earths in order to shoulder the amount of resources we use if we didn’t make any changes by 2050.
16-year-old Kayla was like, “WTF?” & promptly stopped using single-use plastic water bottles. Which, wow, also prompted me to drink more water with my chic + handy-dandy reusable water bottles. I also found ways to save $$$ on clothes by reworking them into different outfits. I still wear clothes I’ve had since like 2012 – IT’S A REAL THING. I go thrift shopping in my own closet … & my mom’s closet – you get the picture.
16-year-old Kayla, just like in the present, was VERY extra, loved to make a fashion statement, & gave 0 F’s ( a great combo, by the way ) – like I actually would sport statement necklaces, stacks of bracelets, & huge, very fake costume rings in my high school hallways à la Veronica Lodge ( for any Riverdale fans out there, hi! ).
Now back to the topic at hand – I totally got carried away there, didn’t I?
Making the Transition to Eating Vegan
With any of your goals in life, it’s important to figure out the WHY behind it all & to shift your mindset to make it work.
For me, I knew I wanted to eat vegan – & the reason was this : one day I was doing my reading for Sustainability in Action & saw a familiar statistic ( yes, the one mentioned above ) … except now it said 6 planets. 2050 is in like 30 years! The book was published in 2018. In 4 years, things have literally managed to get worse.
I also learned that if we pooled all of the cows on our planet together, they do so much damage that they would be the 3rd largest “country” in terms of carbon emissions. BIG yikes!
With this in mind, I was motivated & quickly headed to the store to to stock up on some vegan-friendly foods. I grabbed fruits, nut milk, dairy-free cream cheese, coconut yogurt, lentils, tofu, & more ( by the way, there are so many vegan alternatives out there! ).
When I did this, I was living on campus & 50% of my meals took place at the buffet-style cafeteria, 40% took place at work ( I’d eat something quick like a protein bar, chia pudding, or a sandwich ) & at my apartment, & 10% of the time I dined out. Luckily for me, we had a vegan bar at the cafeteria & while it didn’t have the best variety, I managed to fill my plate at every meal & everything was fine.
To transition, I basically planned my meals out ahead of time & whenever I felt like I was struggling, I’d eat vegan alternatives that really, really felt like the real thing. When you’re fired up & passionate about something, you just make it work, y’know?
[ work lunch : avocado toast, Everything but the Bagel Seasoning, berries ]
[ snack : grapes, hummus, pita chips ]
[ dinner : veggies, rice & beans, & some tofu for protein ( not pictured ) ]
You guys don’t know this, but I am a HUGE fan of eggs as they’re a great source of protein + healthy fats. BUT, I had to give them up. This was the hardest part for me.
I allowed myself a cheat day on Sundays, which is when I would eat eggs. The longer I avoided animal products, the less I craved them. I distinctly remember on a Sunday that I ate vegan anyway just because I wasn’t feeling meat – this is true of ALL cravings. The more the food is in your distant memory, the less you’ll think about it, & the less you’ll want it!
Another HUGE struggle was dining out. I would go out with friends for food but I never wanted to be a hindrance. That’s another thing that I feel like I should mention when it comes to this – NEVER act holier-than-thou with your veganism or sustainability & try your ABSOLUTE best not to be an inconvenience. I feel like veganism often gets a bad name because people don’t follow those 2 very important rules!
I’m not a very picky person & I love all food, so I usually just let my friends pick where to go & look up a menu beforehand to scope out the vegan options. Usually, this involved menu substitutions and a lot of vegetables. ALWAYS be gracious when you’re asking for substitutions – everyone tends to be very accommodating, but it goes a long way just to show some simple human courtesy.
Another amazing thing about dining out nowadays is that most places have vegan options & the fact that vegan joints exist! One of my besties who wasn’t vegan actually enjoyed eating at these vegan restaurants & would invite me to go. The food was UNREAL. The “meat” tasted like the real thing & honestly, might have been even better.
In the end, the struggle wasn’t so bad. It could be if you’re a picky person who only eats certain foods … but with some planning, surrounding yourself with great people, & a lot of drive, it’s much easier to figure it out & get on by.
The Biggest Takeaway
During this whole thing, my body just felt BETTER. I felt like I had way more energy to get through the day – no coffee needed. The trick here is just to fill up on protein sources ( plant-based protein powders, vegan protein bars, lentils, veggies, tofu ) & you’ll never, ever go hungry.
The biggest takeaway from my experience is that in the world we’re living in today, avoiding animal products is WAY easier than it used to be. I’m eating animal products again, but I’m more conscious of what I’m eating & how much I’m eating. I now mostly eat a plant-based diet which means that 70-80% of the time I’m animal-product free. I love vegetables, so it works for me!
The KEY thing here is that if everyone just cut back a little bit & made some changes, we would be much better off. & maybe we can turn 6 planets back into 4, then 2, then 1! Yes, I’m 100% an optimist if you didn’t know this by now – HA!
Now that we’re at the end ( props to you for making it here! ), I hope you guys enjoyed reading about my vegan experience! I don’t really have an agenda with this post – I wanted to share what I did, how I did it, & what I felt about all of it. As always, I’m just here to keep things real!
Feel free to leave a comment, email, or DM me – I’m always here to listen if you’re here to read, of course! Until next time my loves!
+ QUESTIONS? LEAVE THEM BELOW OR ASK KAYLA!
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