What I’ve Learned in 7 Years as a Vegan

Everyone is suddenly a nutritionist

Annika Wappelhorst
Tenderly
Published in
4 min readSep 11, 2020

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Photo of the author, a woman with brown hair, with an outstretched hand nuzzled by two sheep with black faces
Photos by author

My personal decision to stop using animal products was an ethical one — I wanted to take a stance against the exploitation of animals. That was in September 2013. Here are some of the things I have learned since then:

  • When you go vegan, people you know are suddenly nutritionists. People like to point out what they believe to know about nutrition: But you need milk for strong bones, no?! (Wrong.) You need to eat meat to get enough protein! (Wrong.) Watch out that you won’t lose too much weight! (Don’t worry, I myself even gained weight after going vegan.)
  • Dating only vegans was a mistake. Funny anecdote: I met my partner when he sat down next to me eating a sausage. Even though that disgusted me, I couldn’t deny the immediate sympathy I had for him. He eventually became vegetarian and now follows an almost fully plant-based diet. Before that, the only guys I’d seriously dated had been vegan and I had wanted it that way — but it never worked out with them for various reasons. Therefore, I can only tell my fellow vegans: Even if you’re a passionate animal rights activist, keep an open mind.
  • You must not engage in a conversation about veganism while eating at a table with non-vegans. Nobody likes to hear about pooping at the lunch table, right…

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Annika Wappelhorst
Tenderly

I write about living in different countries, learning languages, doing yoga and conducting media & communication research.