All of Your Vegan Questions, Answered!

Whether you’re thinking about going vegan or know somebody who is vegan, you probably have questions. I was a vegetarian for almost 25 years before making the leap and going vegan, so I’ve had plenty of experience with most of these. Still, a few were questions I had myself!

ne thing people LOVE to do is concern themselves heavily with your dietary choices when they don’t match their own. So if you’re going vegan, be prepared to answer these questions. If you know someone who is vegan or are just curious about the diet and lifestyle yourself, read up and learn all about it! Then you can spare a vegan from having to answer the questions for the millionth time ;).

Everything you ever wanted to ask about being vegan Pinterest pin.

Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means if you click them and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Where do vegans get their protein?

Ah, here it is. The number one question any vegetarian or vegan will ever get asked. When I became vegan I realized how silly it was that anyone ever asked me as a vegetarian. Dairy and eggs have a ton of animal protein! Why did anyone ever think I wasn’t getting enough?

And what is “enough” anyway? Actually, it’s probably less than you might think. Take your weight in pounds and multiply by .4 for an easy conversion. This equates to 46 grams for the average sedentary woman. The more exercise you do, the more protein you’ll need to help repair and build your muscles. Still, that’s a lot less than the meat and dairy industry would have you believe!

Protein is found in every food, and is abundant in many vegan staples, such as tofu, beans, or seitan. In fact, seitan usually contains about 25 grams per serving! That’s probably about half your daily recommended intake in one Field Roast sausage link. Beans contain about 15 grams per cup.

Oatmeal, bread, seeds, peanut butter…it’s easy to get more than enough protein in a vegan diet.

Why don’t vegans eat eggs?

A vegan diet eliminates anything made from an animal, or that came from an animal. Eggs come from chickens, so vegans avoid them.

My family had pet chickens when I was growing up. They roamed free around our yard during the day and then slept in a chicken coop in our backyard at night. They laid eggs, and we never ate a single one of them. We ate eggs we bought from the grocery store instead! Don’t ask me why. It just kind of grossed us out, honestly.

However, I don’t think the chickens would have cared if we had taken their eggs for food. Eating chicken eggs doesn’t actually hurt the chicken, that much is true. Still, the chickens lay them for their own benefit and taking them for human consumption is sort of stealing.

That said, the reason I don’t actually eat eggs is sort of in protest to the entire egg industry. Only female chicks are beneficial, so the male chicks are discarded – often by being tossed into a grinder while alive. No, I’m not making that up or describing the plot of a horror movie. It’s actually a common, standard practice in the industry. So for every chicken that lays eggs, another one had to die a horrible death. Avoiding eating eggs helps ensure I don’t participate in that practice.

Of course, factory farmed eggs are also a huge problem, as the chickens live pretty miserable lives churning the eggs out. But that’s a whole other blog post!

Isn’t meat the only complete protein?

Protein is made up of amino acids – 20 of them. 9 of them we have to eat because our bodies can’t make them on their own. When a protein source contains all 9 of these essential amino acids, it’s often referred to as a complete protein.

But, first of all, it isn’t necessary to eat all 9 of these amino acids in one source. As long as you are getting all 9 of them over the span of a day, it doesn’t matter if they’re found in one single protein source at one single meal!

Secondly, it’s extremely easy to combine foods to get all 9 amino acids in one meal. Beans and rice are a common example because they go so well together and have been a staple in many diets for centuries.

Finally, there actually ARE vegan sources of complete protein! Soy contains all 9 essential amino acids and is often a staple of a vegan diet anyway. A few other foods are also complete proteins, such as hemp seeds. I sprinkle hemp seeds on my oatmeal every morning and did before I even knew they were a complete protein. So it’s entirely possible to eat complete proteins in a vegan diet without even trying.

Don’t cows get sore if we don’t milk them?

This is a really weird myth, and it involves a fundamental misunderstanding of how cows milk is produced. I myself never even really thought about it for most of my life, and just assumed cows = milk. But, just like with humans and breastmilk, cows only produce milk after they have given birth. The milk they produce is for their newborn calf. So, how do humans get it? We take it, and usually feed the calf a formula instead. Some smaller dairy farms may allow the calf to still drink some of the milk, but the vast majority of milk you can buy in the grocery store is factory farmed. And of course, veal calves are killed almost immediately, but the females are fed the formula and then grow up to start their own cycle of giving birth and being milked.

So, sure, cow udders do get sore if we don’t milk them. But they wouldn’t need to be milked if we didn’t force the cows to have babies in the first place! It’s a weird, horrible cycle and it definitely isn’t fun for the cow. Can any of you mamas imagine having your baby taken away right after giving birth so that someone can manually pump your breast milk and drink it themselves?!

Do vegans wear leather/fur/pearls/etc?

In short, no. A vegan lifestyle seeks to reduce the amount of harm that a person is responsible for in the world. Being vegan doesn’t simply mean not eating meat or dairy, it means avoiding leather and using makeup that wasn’t tested on animals.

If someone claims they are vegan and yet wears fur, they are misunderstood about what vegan means. That person may eat a plant-based diet, but they are not really vegan.

That said, everyone’s journey is different, and that person may only be wearing fur because they bought it in their pre-vegan days and don’t want to part with it while it is still useful. But if they are still activity buying animal products, they are not vegan.

Do vegans have to read the label of every single thing they eat?

Yes and no. When first going vegan, you’ll want to check everything to ensure there are no sneaky milk byproducts in it. Seriously, milk is in everything! Even things labeled “non-dairy” like a lot of coffee creamers, still have milk derivatives in them and are not vegan.

But, after a while, you settle into more of a routine of knowing what you can and can’t have. With the allergy labeling standards in the US and many other countries, milk and eggs will be listed in bold letters after the ingredients list and easy to spot. Even my boyfriend is able to flip a package over, scan the ingredients, and hand it to me in seconds, deeming it safe.

Don’t vegans need to supplement with B12?

Yep! B12 is the only vitamin that isn’t naturally found in plant food (except in tiny trace amounts). The kicker is that isn’t naturally found in animal food either. The animals raised for meat are given a B12 supplement, so when they are killed and butchered, the meat contains the vitamin.

B12 is naturally found in the soil, and this used to mean that anyone could ingest it with their produce. However, these days the soil is typically depleted of the nutrient, and then any dirt is washed off anyway.

So basically, everyone supplements with B12, either directly or indirectly!

Disclaimer

I am not a doctor, and I don’t know your personal situation. A very small percentage of the population may be unable to go vegan for health reasons. There are also people who live in places like the arctic circle, where animal fat is still pretty necessary to survive.

For most people in the developed world, going vegan is very easy these days. If you’re interested in attempting the diet and lifestyle yourself, check out my posts on tips to going vegan and cruelty free beauty products. I like the cookbooks Hot For Food Vegan Comfort Classics, and Frugal Vegan for recipe inspiration. If you’d like to learn more about veganism or animal agriculture in general, there are several documentaries on Netflix.

Finally, if you have any further questions I’d be happy to answer them! Let me know in the comments what is confusing to you about the lifestyle, or what is holding you back from attempting it.

How to Be an Adult in 20 Steps

How to be an adult in 20 steps Pinterest Pin

I often forget that I’m actually an adult. It’s not like I woke up one day and was magically one! It’s a process and it takes time. I’m not even sure if anyone ever *really* considers them an adult! But because we are expected to become one when we turn 18, or at the very latest when we graduate college, it’s something everyone has to do at some point. Below is a list of things that all adults should know how to do. You can get your life together later because these are just the basics. Read on to learn how to be an adult in 20 steps.

20 Steps to Becoming an Adult

  1. Create a great resume
  2. Secure reliable transportation
  3. Get a job
  4. Have a place of your own (even if it’s with roommates)
  5. Always be on time (plan ahead!)
  6. Don’t post everything on social media
  7. Pay someone to cut your hair (no more DIY)
  8. Learn how to shop for groceries, and not just pizza rolls
  9. Learn to cook
  10. Set up a cleaning routine or accept the fact that you suck at it and hire someone to clean once or twice a month (I recently accepted the fact that I suck at sweeping and bought a robot vacuum to do the job for me!)
  11. Do your own taxes or use a professional (no more asking Dad to do it for you)
  12. Put all your bills in your own name and pay them on time
  13. Create (and stick to!) a budget
  14. Track your credit score and work on improving it
  15. Set up a retirement plan (through work or separately)
  16. Open a savings account
  17. Track your period
  18. Learn how to say “no”
  19. Learn how to discuss your feelings and what you want
  20. And most importantly, work on being comfortable with who you are.

See, those aren’t so bad, right? Once you have set yourself on the path to trying all of these, you can work on improving at one or two of them at a time. As you get more experienced with cooking, for example, you can try out new recipes and then meal prep so you have food for the week. You can make sure you’re meeting your nutritional goals and that you’re healthy! But for now, it’s enough to just learn how to boil water for pasta and chop some veggies to roast. There, feel like an adult yet? Psst…me neither!

Tip: Bookmark this post or print it off so you can work your way down the list and check off items as you accomplish them!

How to Succeed at Time Management

Have you ever soothed a crying baby while folding laundry for the rest of your family? Answered incoming calls while sending an email and gesturing to someone where they can find a particular document? Juggled four burners at once, all simmering with various courses of that night’s dinner? Congratulations, you may already be successful at time management! If you’re not so lucky, read on for a few tips on how to succeed at time management.

Pinterest pin how to succeed at time management

A few years ago, I decided to go to law school part time in the evenings. I was working 40 hours a week as an administrative assistant. I used my lunch breaks to go over that night’s class readings, and when I got home around 8 pm every night, I gave myself exactly 30 minutes to make and eat dinner, while watching a 22 minute episode of something on Netflix. Then I had to shut off my TV and phone and spend the rest of the night doing the reading for the next day’s class. I emptied the dishwasher while my coffee brewed in the morning. I spent my time in the shower planning out what I was going to wear and eat for lunch. Sometimes I used my morning commute on the bus to look at flashcards.

The number one skill I took away from law school was effective time management.

Stick to a Schedule

Time management is absolutely essential if you’re going to attend school while still working a full time job. If you have a family on top of that, then god speed and get a Costco membership for all the coffee you’re going to drink. I think the best coping mechanism for me was to force myself to adhere to strict time schedules. My Netflix and dinner never went past 8:30 at night. It simply couldn’t. By sticking to a strict schedule, I ensured everything was completed before I was able to move on. If I delayed my reading and case briefing, I either wouldn’t finish it or I would stay up late working on it, skipping out on the one time of day I could really relax – sleeping. Neither of those were acceptable options. I was essentially forced into managing my time effectively.

No matter what it is you’re trying to accomplish, a schedule will help you. If you want to do something like start a blog, then setting out exactly how much time you want to spend on it each day is key. You may even want to make note of exactly what you want to accomplish each day, so that you know what your expectations are and you can hold yourself accountable.

Take Advantage of Down Time

If you want to become better at managing your time effectively, you’ll have to work at it. Look at your day and notice idle moments – laying in bed in the morning, sitting on the subway, walking your dog…all of these moments can become productive simply by listening to a podcast. I like to listen to French podcasts while I fall asleep at night. I’m not sure if learning by osmosis really works, but I do know that my French vocab has improved dramatically since I began that practice! If you’re trying to learn a new skill or just want to brush up on your history, podcasts are great for multi-tasking because all you have to do is listen.

Cut Out Distractions

We’ve all had co-workers who complain about how much work they have and then spend the day chatting, right? I always think “If you would just get to work, you would get it done on time!” If you find yourself wanting to chat or getting distracted by your phone, the TV, the sight of dirty dishes…minimize those potential distractions. Close your office door. Turn off your phone. Put a freakin blanket over the dirty dishes! Whatever you need to do to focus, just do it.

Find The Right Ambiance

When I started law school, I tried going to the local library to study. It was deathly quiet…except for when it wasn’t. The rustle of a potato chip bag, the vibration of someone’s cell phone, a sneeze, a cough…every little thing would snap me out of my zone and frustrate me. Eventually I moved my study spot to the cafe in the library, so that I was surrounded by a gentle hum of noise.

For some people, music helps them focus. I tried listening to some study music on YouTube while I was studying for the bar, but it wasn’t for me. It may be right for you, though! Experiment with various environments and find one that works for you. And if something isn’t working out…change it! Don’t dwell on the notion that you HAVE to study or get work done in a library. If a demolition derby is more your speed, then go there and get to work!

Remember Your Why

If you find yourself not completing tasks, remember why you wanted to complete them in the first place. Maybe you REALLY prefer a clean kitchen to a dirty one. Doing those dishes will help you achieve that goal. Maybe you spent like a million dollars on law school and need to graduate. Writing that brief will keep you on track! Maybe you just need some dang money. Completing that spreadsheet for your boss will ensure you receive a paycheck!

And if you operate well under fear, then feel free to imagine the worst case scenario if you don’t complete the task. Something like, “If I don’t finish this assignment then my boss is definitely going to fire me and I won’t be able to pay the bills and I’ll end up homeless and living in a box on the street!” If that doesn’t motivate you to get your work done, I don’t know what will!

Work in Short Bursts

When I REALLY don’t want to do the dishes, I look at the clock and round up to a nice even time. Let’s say it’s 10:38, so I round up to 10:45. I tell myself I only have to do dishes until that exact time. “Not so bad, I can handle 7 minutes of loading the dishwasher!” Well, guess what? Never once in my entire life have I stopped at that time. I just use it to motivate myself, because I know that I won’t be mad at myself if I DO stop then. I’ll have completed the task I set out to do, and that’s fine by me. But once I’m in there, I just always finish.

If you have a lot of really small tasks you need to complete, tell yourself you only need to do 1 and that will be a win. You’ll probably be motivated when you complete it and then do the next task. If you have a really long task, like writing a paper, try to break it up into mini-tasks. Something like, “I will find one source to cite, and then I’ll take a break.” Once you find that source you may just keep on and find more! After enough of these mini-tasks you’ll entire paper will be written!

Don’t Overwhelm Yourself

Biting off more than you can chew is setting yourself up for failure. There are a finite number of hours in a day (24, in fact) and no matter how much you complain, the universe isn’t going to add any more. You’re going to have to complete everything on your to-do list for the day within those hours (plus, you know, sleeping and stuff) and that’s all there is to it. If you say yes to too many things or overload yourself with too much work, you’ll never be able to do it all and then you’ll feel bad. Do you want to feel bad? No? Then accept the fact that you aren’t Superwoman and accept the fact that that’s okay! None of us are! It’s okay to take it slow and to have time to breathe.

Combine Tasks

I’m writing this post while on a Rover home stay, which means I’m getting paid to do this. Combining productive tasks sets you up to succeed at time management. Often, it’s impossible to do two things at once. But as I mentioned with podcasts above, sometimes it’s easy! I like to be as efficient as I possibly can (in pretty much every aspect of my life), so I combine all my errands into one trip. I take my dog for walks to get exercise. My lunch break doubles as my time to read books.

The tasks don’t have to be actual work…I love to read! But if I didn’t do it on my lunch break I might not get to do it at all. So by combining the two, I am able to efficiently and effectively get more things done in my day than I otherwise would have. Look at your life and your day to day and see what you can combine to give yourself a little more free time.

If you’ve tried any of these tactics for time management, or others, and they’ve worked for you then please let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear what does or doesn’t work for you. I know one thing that does NOT work for me is a reward system – such as telling myself I can have a cookie if I make my bed. I will immediately think “Um, I’m an adult and I can have a cookie whenever I want” and then I’ll eat two cookies just to spite myself. Whatever. We can’t expect everything to work, I guess!

10 Activities to do on Sunday for a Productive Week

I love Sundays, and I always have. I know that Sundays signal going back to school or work the next day, but I can’t help it! To me, they are relaxing and enjoyable and I can get caught up on anything I’ve put off and feel productive. I even loved doing Sunday evening homework back in high school. These days, Sundays are for preparing myself for the coming work week. I don’t know about you, but after working all day I often don’t have the energy to get things done in the evening. That’s why I like to do these 10 Sunday activities for a productive week.

Pinterest graphic 10 Sunday Activities for a Productive Week

Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means if you click them and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Meal Prep

I’ve gone through a couple phases with meal prepping where I knocked it out of the park. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks…all ready to go! Usually, though, I’m not that great at it. Still, I like to prepare a large meal on Sundays that I can portion out and take to work for lunch throughout the week. Big batches of soup, sandwich filling (my favorite is chickpea “tuna” salad), or stir fries make for great leftovers. Washing and cutting up veggies will also help ensure they are eaten before going bad. You can even portion them into containers with hummus for ready-made snack packs!

Prepare the Coffee Maker

I’m often rushing around in the morning and love anything that will help me skip a few minutes. On Sunday night I like to rinse out the coffee pot, dump my reusable strainer, and fill the machine up so it’s ready to go in the morning. If you have a Kuerig or similar machine you can still save seconds by ensuring the water reservoir is full and popping in a fresh K-cup.

Do Laundry

While just a regular chore, I find doing laundry on Sunday very helpful for planning out my outfits for the week. Nothing worse than getting entirely ready in the morning and then realizing my black slacks are jumbled at the bottom of the hamper. I like to think about what my schedule is like for the week and ensure I have appropriate clothing for any meetings or day to day office wear. I also have pets, so lint rolling is a great time saver on Sunday! If you have your clothing dry cleaned, be sure to pick it all up on Sunday so you’re good to go for the week.

Light Exercise

I can make a million excuses throughout the week for why I don’t have time to exercise, but on lazy Sundays, those go right out the door. Along with me and my dog, as we often take extra long walks on Sundays, or go off-leash hiking, or to the dog park. The fresh air is good for both of us, and I get extra steps in as well. At home, I love to do yoga on Sundays. Even if it’s just for a few minutes before bed, I think finding the time to relax while keeping active is a great start for the rest of my week.

Declutter

I find having lots of things around me very stressful. On Sundays, I often find myself gazing around at all my STUFF and feeling antsy about getting rid of it. Pretty much every week I go around and find items that I no longer need. Sometimes it’s just old mail, sometimes it’s clothing, sometimes it’s even books. You can drop items off at a charity shop if you have the time, or just load them into your trunk for a later drop-off. Either way, getting them out of sight will help calm you before the chaos of the week. And if you’ve read my 30 Day Declutter Challenge and felt overwhelmed, you can pick one or two items to do each Sunday!

And if you haven’t jumped on the decluttering train, be sure to check out the book that started it all! Plenty of time for reading on Sundays!

Cleaning

Along similar lines as decluttering, cleaning is also a necessary step for me on Sundays. Throughout the week we somehow amass great amounts of mail, dishes, and recycling that all pile up. I try to stay on top of things as well as I can, but often I use Sunday as my reset day for the week. I spend about an hour cleaning and tidying and start the week with a fresh slate and empty sink. To help make my life even easier I recently bought an iLife brand robot vacuum. I let it run while I’m doing the dishes and my floors are magically swept!

To Do List

If you use a planner, Sundays are great days to plan out your week. I haven’t made the leap into using one yet, so instead, I often write To Do lists. Every phone call I need to make, appointment I need to book, and library book I need to return gets written down. This sets me up to not forget anything important throughout the week. It also helps me mentally visual what my week looks like, so I can prepare myself for what I need to tackle.

And if you are the planner type, check out this cute and cheap one I found on Amazon! It’s already got cute images and designs, so if you’re not very creative (like me), you can just fill in the text part and then admire the pages!

Budget

Whether you make millions or live paycheck to paycheck, I think weekly budgeting is very important. I like to sit down on Sundays with a cup of coffee and go through all the bills we have due that week.

Coffee phone and laptop for budgeting Sunday activity

I don’t use any fancy software, and often I just write everything down on a scrap piece of paper. But knowing where we financially stand is important to me, because it gives me peace of mind throughout the week when any unexpected expense comes up. If I want to get a snack at work, I don’t have to wonder if we can afford it. Obviously, the more financially secure you are the less you need to worry about little expenses like that. But keeping track of your big expenses and knowing exactly where you stand can still help you throughout the week in case of a costly emergency.

Beauty Routine

When I was in middle school, I had Tyra Banks book Tyra’s Beauty Inside and Out.

Almost every single Sunday I would flip through it and get inspired to take better care of myself. Somehow that ritual stuck, and now I spend at least a little time on Sundays pampering myself. Doing my nails, using a sheet mask, applying eye cream, etc. These are things I don’t often have time for throughout the week, but love doing. Sundays are my “treat yo self” days when it comes to beauty!

Relax

Finally, most importantly, I like to relax on Sundays. It means different things depending on the weather or my mood, but often it involves reading. Sometimes I like to just sit outside. When I have a garden I imagine that may make its way into my Sunday relaxation time. If you’re into meditation, Sunday is a great day for a long session. And you can’t go wrong with Netflix and chill. Whatever your favorite relaxing activity, finding the time to do it on Sunday will help you tackle whatever the week throws at you!

What are your favorite Sunday activities to help you have a productive and calm week? Do you like to catch up on sleep or run for miles? Let me know!

Vegan Cheese Dip

Vegan cheese dip on plate with tortilla chips

Before I was vegan, I loved mixing a block of Velveeta cheese with a can of Rotel and eating it with tortilla chips. I don’t know if Velveeta can really be considered cheese, but it isn’t vegan. So, I had to come up with a way to veganize the recipe and make my own vegan cheese dip.

I can’t find the original recipe I used anymore, but the basis of my dip is essentially the same as this recipe. And it’s fine on its own, especially mixed in with some macaroni noodles, or used as a cheesy sauce in homemade crunchwraps. But add some salsa and Trader Joe’s soy chorizo and boy oh boy is it good. The soy chorizo from Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite items. I think it takes this recipe to another level!

I took this dip to a party one time, and didn’t tell anyone at first that it was vegan. It was right after I made the switch, so I wasn’t yet known as the vegan girl, and nobody suspected a thing. By the end of the night, the entire mini crockpot I had brought had been devoured. It’s that damn good.

You can customize the sauce however you like. Add more jalapeños, or even some chipotle in adobo sauce for a little more heat. Add a little unsweetened non-dairy milk to thin it out. Fresh pico de gallo with cilantro would be tasty. I eat it as a chip dip, on tacos, in pasta, as a soft pretzel dip…the options are endless!

vegan cheese dip recipe card

Vegan Cheese Dip

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 slices of jarred jalapenos
  • 1 tablespoon of the jalapeno liquid
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Enough cooking liquid to thin sauce
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salsa
  • Trader Joe’s soy chorizo

Peel and chop carrot and potatoes, then add to a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and let cook until tender. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Add to a blender with all other ingredients, except the salsa and soy chorizo. Blend, adding in a tablespoon of the reserved water from boiling at a time. You can play with the consistency and change it depending on what you’re using the sauce for, but for the chip dip I usually end up using 3-4 tablespoons of liquid. You want to be able to slowly pour the sauce out of the blender.

vegan nacho cheese sauce

If you have a powerful blender, your sauce may look smoother than mine. If you can see tiny chunks of carrot, don’t worry. Once you add the other ingredients it will all blend in.

Once you have your sauce poured into a bowl, mix in salsa and soy chorizo from Trader Joe’s. I like to add about 1/4 of the soy chorizo package and 3 tablespoons of salsa. This is customizable to your preferences.

Serve with chips and impress your friends! Prepare to be amazed, seriously. I make this about once a week because I always have potatoes and carrots on hand. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and it’s delicious.

Let me know if you decide to make this vegan cheese dip, and how you customize it. Enjoy!