A (Very) Honest Discussion About What It's Like to Be Vegan



“You’re vegan? For how long? Is it really hard?” I encounter this trio of questions—usually in that order—on a weekly basis. To be clear, I never mind answering (“Yes. Six years. Not really.”), but it’s always a reminder that many people have a removed kind of curiosity about veganism—it might be fascinating, but it’s also too alien and restricting to consider. It doesn’t help that the vegan lifestyle is fraught with stereotypes and assumptions about what making that choice says about your personality.

Incidentally, Byrdie has two vegans on staff—associate features editor Amanda Montell and myself. Curious to see how these kinds of questions and preconceived notions played into our own personal experiences, we decided to hash it out, roundtable-style. And while those topics certainly came up, we were ultimately surprised to see where our perspectives intersected most: on subjects like eating disorders, dating, and feeling inadequate in the vegan community.

Keep reading to see how it all played out.

Meet Amanda

Age: 25

How long she’s been vegan: 18 months

Favorite vegan food: Obviously this is a hard decision, but ultimately, my favorite vegan food is truly a basic one (in every sense): avocado toast. A little sourdough with some hummus, avocado, salt, pep, and red pepper flakes? I mean—

Favorite vegan beauty brand: Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

Must-sees and must-reads, vegan edition: Forks Over Knives should be required viewing, in line with Pulp Fiction and Clueless. I also highly recommend Bonny Rebecca’s YouTube channel, which is filled with so much vegan inspiration and positivity.

Meet Victoria

Age: 25

How long she’s been vegan: Six years

Favorite vegan food: All the tacos, extra guac.

Favorite vegan beauty brand: RMS Beauty for makeup, Grown Alchemist for skin and hair.

Must-sees and must-reads, vegan edition: Anything and everything by Michael Pollan. When I read In Defense of Food ($9) in college, it was the first time I realized that I was committed to veganism for the long haul. It verbalized and clarified all the reasons why I was doing this in a way that I couldn't just yet. Several of my omnivore classmates even went vegan after reading this book! Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer is also fantastic.

What do you think about our discussion? Any thoughts or revelations about veganism you’d like to share? Let’s get the conversation going in the comments below.

This story was originally published at an earlier date.