A lot of people have asked me, "Is it difficult being vegan in the military?" To put it simply, I would say "sometimes." It's not really all that simple, though.
Since there aren't many vegan soldiers in the U.S. Army I've had difficult times finding other people who have a common understanding of the type of diet I choose to have. Many higher-ranking officials say that "the Army doesn't recognize veganism." This is usually the response I get when I inquire about separate rations, which just means they cancel the charges for the meals at the chow hall, and the money would remain a part of my paycheck. As a soldier in the U.S. Army, if you are single and regardless if you eat at the chow hall or not, money is taken out of your monthly paycheck in order to pay for your meals. I'm still trying to find ways to make the military recognize vegans.
Sure, people could argue that I should just eat the iceberg lettuce and cherry tomatoes at the chow hall, but that is obviously not a suitable or sustainable meal plan for anybody. Since I am in the Infantry, the job is physically demanding more often than not. One thing I can appreciate is that I make a substantial amount of income to sustain my vegan diet. With that being mentioned, I can't say that I've had a more difficult time with veganism than in U.S. Army Basic Training.
When I entered Army Basic Training, I knew it wouldn't be a walk in the park. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I didn't know that I would hate the very lifestyle that I enjoyed so much before I joined the military. I could say that I was starving throughout my entire Basic Training experience. I look back and wonder how I even made it through the rigorous training.