People ask me all the time: Are you ever tempted to eat non-vegan food?
Usually, the answer is “no.”
Well, if you read my vegan Greek yogurt post, you know that’s not completely true.
But in the case of the not-so-vegan Greek yogurt, it wasn’t a craving, it was curiosity. So I stand by the above statement.
I don’t get cravings for non-vegan foods any more.
But since I’m now “being real” with you, I’ll also tell you that this wasn’t always the case.
For the first month after I became a vegetarian, meat cravings definitely hit! In fact, I can remember one specific time where I had my nose right up to a hamburger, thinking “Maybe I should just give in and eat it. It smells so good.” But I knew that no matter how good that one burger would taste, I’d regret it later. (In other words, the enjoyment I’d have gotten from eating it wouldn’t have trumped the sadness I’d later feel from having given up my vegetarian values.) So I persevered. And, as the first month came to an end, something amazing happened. Suddenly, my mind perceived that once-appealing burger to be grotesque; the last thing I’d wish to consume. No longer was I enticed by the smell. In fact, the opposite was true: I didn’t like the smell at all! I’d survived the first month of being a vegetarian, and I knew it was going to be smooth sailing from there.
Same thing when I became a vegan. At first I craved ice cream like it was nobody’s business. And I had it harder than my vegan friends here in the US, because I became a vegan whilst living in China, where there was no such thing as So Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream! (Of course, they also eat very little cheese in China, so at least I didn’t miss that all too much; I’d not been eating much of it anyway. Actually, my accidental situation with not eating much cheese right before becoming vegan is a piece of advice I often give to newbie vegetarians or vegans: Do NOT replace the meat or cheese in your diet with veg substitutes right away. Your mind will want to compare what your eating to its non-vegan version. And if your mind wants a steak, it won’t be satisfied by Lightlife chick’n strips. That’s like eating a cocoa-dusted rice cake and expecting it to taste like chocolate mousse pie. It just isn’t going to happen! Instead, look to naturally-vegetarian foods that taste nothing like the steaks/fish/cheese you remember.
More on my personal story here: My path to Veganism.
(At first, look to naturally-veg foods, such as my meal from the 3000-Calorie post)
Once you stop craving the animal products (or when you forget what they taste like), then you can try those fake meat and cheese products. But chances are you won’t even want to, because you won’t crave these foods at all anymore. An exception to the above advice is vegan ice cream, baked goods, and non-dairy milks. They make such good vegan substitutes nowadays that you can easily find foods to satisfy your dairy cravings!
Or you can make your own vegan substitutes, as is the case with this PB-Banana ice cream.
Nowadays there are so many amazing non-dairy ice creams on the market that it’s easy to satisfy one’s ice-cream craving and live cruelty-free at the same time. Soy not your thing? No problem—you can buy ice cream made from a base of ricemilk, almond milk, oatmilk, or even coconut milk! And if you’re not big on the first brand you try, don’t give up; the tastes (and flavors) of these non-dairy ice creams are as varied as the customers who buy them. I did miss squirt whipped cream for the first few years after going vegan. But now, thanks to Soyatoo, we vegans can have our whipped cream and eat it too!
Do I miss other non-vegetarian products? Honestly, the first month was hard. I had huge hamburger cravings! But you know the saying “28 days to break a habit”? It really seems to be true, because suddenly the thought of eating meat became revolting to me. Same thing with cheese after I’d been a vegan for about a month. Now I can’t even stand the smell of cheese.
Coming soon: Look out for a post about whether or not it’s good to eat a “perfect” vegan diet all the time, entitled “The Vegan Police.”
Omnivores: What’s the one food you think you’d most miss if you became a vegetarian?
Vegetarians: Do you ever get non-veg cravings?
More advice here: “Help for Omnivores interested in Veganism.”