There are so many great reasons to become vegan. Among them can be:
1. For the earth/environment
2. For the animals
3. For your health
4. For healthy weight loss
5. For humanitarian reasons
6. For spiritual or religious reasons
However, often folks don’t stay vegan. So let’s look at some reasons why people aren’t staying vegan:
1. “I gained weight”
2. “I don’t feel well… (a.k.a. I need meat)”
3. “My friends aren’t vegan”
4. “It’s so easy to buy humane grass-fed beef”
5. “It’s hard”
“I Gained Weight”
Since I work in fitness and wellness I hear this one a lot. There is a lot of delicious vegan food out there, but folks might not realize that vegan food can include many delicious and junky choices (depending on who is cooking) such as fried food, pasta, bread, heavy sauces, heavy desserts, etc. Gourmet vegan food can also include very decadent and delicious sauces, baked goods, desserts, etc.
I cannot eat unlimited vegan food or raw vegan food. I had to learn how to choose my foods to fuel my workout, age gracefully, and manage my weight. I can teach you how! We can all gain weight on any food path if we eat empty calories or think that we can eat unlimited amounts of food. Please don’t just think that the word vegan will magically allow weight loss. Know that avoiding animal fats is the most significant step towards reducing body fat and harmful cholesterol.
I did it! I lost 165 pounds as a vegan and it was an enjoyable, abundant and delicious path. Being vegan is easier than being omnivore for weight loss. You’re associating with plant loving people, getting the right fats in your diet and avoiding harmful saturated fats. Being vegan and making good food choices absolutely help someone reach weight loss goals.
“I Don’t Feel Well…”
Often folks will try to be vegan for a month (which can be a long time to not feel well), but then to return to their previous diet because they never identified why they didn’t feel well. We can be vegan and never eat any plant foods; maybe this is why someone doesn’t feel well. I thrive on chlorophyll but it took time to introduce more and more green foods into my diet. Also, foods can cause allergies and indigestion. For example, I don’t do vegan cheese very well. If someone has become a Junk Food Vegan (for example, eating all white flour and white sugar vegan foods), or is not combining food properly (i.e. cheese and bread), or is eating something they are allergic to, they might not feel well. Also, raw vegetables can sometimes be hard to digest.
I recommend to all my clients (regardless of their diet) to track their foods by journaling and reviewing the journal. We have to know what we ate to identify what isn’t working. It helps to review the journal with someone knowledgeable who feels great and who is vegan, if that’s the goal. Let me know if you need help getting started. Food is fuel and we have to make sure that the body is getting the fuel it needs to perform.
“My Friends Aren’t Vegan”
Today it’s so easy to find vegan choices. Our friends and family might not be vegan and they might never be vegan. Gluten-free has actually helped the world with this, since now newer restaurants are starting to offer separate gluten-free menus, and simultaneously vegan and vegetarian offerings are appearing as separate menus and are much easier to identify. In this way, we are able to socialize more with omnivores (a mixed table). This is also making it easier for more people to choose to be vegan, and that increases your chance of having more vegan friends!
Eating at home is also a great way to introduce your friends to delicious vegan food.
• HappyCow is an amazing resource for locating restaurants where everyone can find some great food. You can also find more vegan friends on their site.
• If you focus on your friends rather than the food, that might help you enjoy your social time. If you don’t want to see those friends unless there is excellent vegan food, then that’s a separate issue!
Sadly, yes it is, and it’s very trendy too. Of course we as vegans know there is really no such thing as mainstream humane killing. Marketing for humane beef makes it sound all happy happy. This has made it very easy for those who try vegan for a short period of time to stop trying, and the marketing (with the visual of beautiful green pastures) makes everyone forget that with these buying choices we are contributing to the reasons we chose to try to be vegan to begin with:
• For the earth/environment
• For the animals
• For your health
• For healthy weight loss
• For humanitarian reasons
• For spiritual or religious reasons
Not to mention karma and suffering. We can gently remind folks why they became vegan to begin with. Welfare and feed choices propagate the buzz that makes everyone feel better (or forget) that the end result is still a slaughtered animal. Markets and media that want the revenue from selling meat products have made it so easy to believe that these choices are happy and healthy, while misrepresenting true care for animals.
Remember puppies and kittens—everyone loves animals. So we can remind ourselves and others how much we love both domestic and farm animals, and that we should think about compassion instead of falling into the grass-fed marketing trap.
Being vegan is a commitment and commitment is tough for some people. We have to plan and think and read labels; we don’t just eat whatever is served. We can’t just get on an airplane or eat at any restaurant. Vegan is still a minority, though we are gaining support with education, internet and social media.
HappyCow is an invaluable resource that helps everyone stay on track internationally! We can easily look up a city name and know exactly where we can find some vegan-friendly food or groceries.
The Celiac/gluten-free awareness has also helped vegans, because now many different markets and restaurants are looking at ingredients and creating separate menus—so many vegan menus are being created too!
Why Stay Vegan?
Being vegan helps us feel better about ourselves and the choices we make for our lives, our karma, the earth and the environment. We know our choices make a difference for animals. We will be healthier, have more energy, lose and maintain weight, and we never know what other wonderful benefits to expect from a plant based diet. We can make the world a better place by avoiding choices that promote suffering, and instead attract and associate with like-minded, positive people who are also choosing to make a difference.
And hey, fresh, organic vegan food is amazing and delicious!