In all my time as a vegan I’ve met a lot of other vegans, but mostly I’ve met people who used to be vegan. “Oh yeah,” they’ll say. “I was vegan for a while, but I just like food too much.” Or they couldn’t stop craving a favorite food, or they just didn’t have the discipline. The list goes on …
If you’re wanting to cut down on the amount of meat you’re eating or, if you’re ready to completely cut out all animal products and adopt a veg*n (vegetarian or vegan) lifestyle, read my recommendations below to gain some insight into the pitfalls you might encounter and how you go about overcoming them.
What is your motivation?
Ask yourself one question – and be completely honest – why do you want to go veg*n? Being a veg*n has its challenges. Going out for a group meal, having a first date surprise, traveling to countries where language is a barrier and in which meat is a diet staple, attending a dinner party where the host has a shaky understanding of what is and is not appropriate, or worst of all getting an unexpected hunger when the only place to eat is a McDonalds. You may be tested when your family are enjoying a favorite meal that you can no longer tuck into. I’m not about to lie to you and tell you it will be an easy transition, everyone is different. So you need to be sure your reasons for becoming a veg*n will keep your principles intact.
If you’re thinking of going veg*n to impress a new partner, to fit in with a group of friends or as quick weight loss trick you’re going to struggle with the choice you’re about to make.
What are the food options like where you live?
Lets take somewhere like Vancouver, where you don’t even have to try to be a vegan, you’ll be tripping over vegetarian restaurants, vegan friendly cafes, veg*n bakeries, community garden plots and fresh fruit and vegetable markets. However, if you live in Bratislava where vegetables are usually pickled to preserve them through the winter months it makes getting a variety of vegetables or even fresh vegetables at all be a struggle. Become familiar with what your options are based on where you are.
How much time can you dedicate to making food each week?
In order to ensure you’re getting a large enough variety of foods to which encompass you’re getting all the nutritional elements your body needs you’ll need to invest some time in the kitchen. The grab and go lifestyle no longer applies to you. You’ll need to apply some thought and planning into what you’re going to eat if you don’t want to be caught without options. Bags of chips and plain garden salads get very old, very quickly. If your lifestyle doesn’t allow for you to plan your meals, shop for quality foods and cook, cook, cook. Of course then you may end up with a bored, limiting with a limited revolving menu or (worst case scenario), you’ll make yourself very sick because you wont be getting enough of the good stuff you need.
What are your favorite foods?
I met a girl once who was attempting to go vegetarian – the only problem was that she didn’t like vegetables. Her main meal of the day was a large portion of take away french fries. When you look at your list of favorites how many of them are vegetable based? Is the lure of a bacon sandwich going to be your downfall?
The desire to go veg*n is just the start. If you’re thinking it’s for you then resources like HappyCow are an absolute blessing as they help you locate restaurants and food centers catering to veg*n diets. Ease yourself into your new lifestyle. Cut out meat, then fish and eggs, then dairy. Or whatever system suits you. If you slip up and go out for a steak dinner, don’t stress about it. Even reducing your overall meat content benefits you and the world around you. Take your time and go as far into the the world of veg*nism as suits you. Educating yourself on how animals are treated while they’re being reared to feed the masses can help strengthen your resolve. Getting friends and family involved, cook them a completely veg*n meal to show them how tasty it can be. Embrace a healthier new you and good luck!