The concept of eating well always changes slightly from one person to another. When I started thinking about switching to a vegan diet, there were a lot of conflicting opinions I heard. There were many pros and cons I thought about and in the end, I decided to just go for it. It wasn’t easy, especially in the beginning, and there were bumps along the way. Once I made a decision, I told myself I might as well stick to it and very soon veganism became my lifestyle.
I’ve learned many lessons during this one-year journey and not all of them were easy to digest (pun intended), but I really can’t say I regret the changes I’ve made. In fact, I would do it all over again. Being a vegan isn’t doom and gloom like some omnivores believe and once you get accustomed to eating differently than most people around you, everything will flow naturally. Here are some pearls of vegan wisdom I gathered along the way and hopefully, you will be inspired you too.
It’s Not That Difficult
This is something my few vegan friends kept repeating to me, but I didn’t quite buy it until I gave veganism a chance. Of course you will have to make adjustments and pay more attention to what you buy and where you go out to dinner, but thinking that being a vegan is too demanding is nothing more than an excuse. If you’re not much of a meat lover to begin with, then you’re halfway there. But if you do love meat, then it’s highly improbable that you’ll ever think about veganism seriously.
There are plenty of options for any and every optimistic vegan out there; all you have to do is navigate supermarkets and farmer’s markets correctly. Today, so many foods have their vegan replacements, so don’t be afraid of giving them a go. The truth is, “converting” to veganism is just like forming any other habit. You have to be persistent, but still flexible and open to trying out new ingredients, recipes and cooking techniques.
You Can Get All The Nutrients You Need
One of my biggest concerns and reasons for hesitation about veganism is the question, “How I can get all the nutrients that my body needs to function normally?” My biggest concern was protein, because I do exercise regularly and though it’s not some fancy workout regime, I still need my muscles and strength to make it happen. Turns out, protein exists in abundance in the plant world, as long as you know where to look.
Once I’ve started delving deeper into the matter, I found out that ingredients such as tofu, lentils, oatmeal, hempseed, chia seed, spinach, broccoli etc., are rich in protein, so there was really no need to worry about that. There are nutrients that you will miss because they can only be found in meat, like B12, but there are supplements that have you covered. You should also pay close attention to your vitamin D levels and omega-3 fatty acids and don’t forget about calcium, which can be provided from different plant-based milk options. When you’re trying to eat well, veganism is probably one of the safest bets you can have, and you will get all the needed nutrients. You just have to know your way around which plant contains the goodies you need and then adjust your meal plan accordingly.
You Should Come Prepared
Once you start asking for vegan meal options in restaurants and the waiter just shrugs their shoulders, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. I was actually quite shy about telling other people I’m a vegan in the beginning because I considered it a personal choice that was no one else’s business. However, going out to restaurants and dinner parties soon became a challenge, as there’s still this eye-roll syndrome whenever you mention you are a vegan.
I rose up to the challenge and started checking out the restaurant menu before I would go to see if they offered any vegan dishes. If not, I would suggest another vegan-friendly restaurant or simply meeting up after the meal. When it comes to dinner parties, I learned not to be lazy and bring food for myself; it’s a great help to the host and you’re making sure you won’t stay hungry. Plus, there’s usually a curious soul in the room who wants to give “those plant thingies a try,” so make sure to bring a bit more than you would eat.
Being A Vegan Doesn’t Mean Being A Douche
Okay — get ready, because this is a big one. So many non-vegans believe that all of us are just food elitists who like to torture people around by demanding special treatment. Please don’t pass judgment too quickly when someone says they’re vegan. Just because their lifestyle is different than yours doesn’t mean they’re going to scold you for eating meat or wearing a leather jacket. Most of us respect whatever you decide to do, eat and wear. Everybody makes different choices for different reasons and we’re completely fine with that. We have convictions we believe in, but that is solely our choice and only if you ask, we will tell you more about it. When you do come across a vegan douche, bear in mind that doesn’t have much to do with what he eats, but with their temperament and personality in general.
Author bio: Vanessa Davis is a 32-year-old fitness enthusiast, mother of two and content writer at www.diet.st. She’s originally from Long Island, New York, and when she isn’t cooking up some new health and fitness article, she enjoys doing yoga and figuring out new, delicious organic recipes for herself and her kids.