Being vegan is basically vegetarianism with the further restriction of not eating anything that comes from an animal such as milk and eggs. Yes, that means no cheese, butter, and in some cases honey, as it comes from bees. Candy with gelatin is also included as it is derived from animal by-product collagen.
If you’re thinking of adapting the vegan lifestyle there are some important things to consider! You have to decide what level of vegan you want to be. You’ll also have to decide how long you want to be vegan. Even with the least restrictive version of veganism, it may still be hard to function in today’s society. Thus it is important to set goals before you start.
Once you have your goals in mind there are two main ways to start. You can quit cold turkey or slowly eliminate certain foods out of your diet. Remember there is no failure with this! You can stop and start as you wish. Find the plan that works best for you! Here are few challenges that you may face in your journey:
- Cheese Challenge: One of the hardest things to give up in becoming vegan is cheese! Cheese is so good and it comes on just about everything. It’s even hard to order a salad without cheese. So what can you do? Find a dairy-free cheese at your local grocery store. Daiya is my brand of choice.
- Butter Challenge: While you may miss the buttery goodness. Virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and avocado are great butter alternatives!
- Social Challenge: When you tell your friends and family, or even co-workers you are vegan, be prepared from an audible gasp. Some people will look at you as if you have three heads. Some people might even try to convince you that you NEED meat. Usually this argument is the “protein argument.” Well, you can smile and let everyone know that spinach, hemp seeds, broccoli, almonds, peanut butter, among other foods, are PACKED with protein. So, you do NOT need to eat meat for protein.
- Lunch Buddies: One of the hardest things about being vegan is going out to lunch or dinner. Not all restaurants are vegan friendly and you can never be sure exactly what is in your meal. One of the best ways to combat this issue is meal planning and meal prepping. This is good for a busy woman on the go. Get a schedule going and decide what you will eat for the week. Another option is to do a bit of research and find vegan friendly restaurants in your area. You are bound to have that one office bestie who will want to go out. By having a list of available restaurants ready to go, you are more likely to be prepared to stay vegan. If there is no way you can select the restaurant, try to look at the menu online before you go and figure out what you will order. This will keep your eyes from wandering while you are hungry. Most restaurants have salad. Be sure to subtract any meat, egg, and cheese. Also, watch out for salad dressing! You can also simply ask the waiter or waitress what vegan dressings are available. Usually it will be some sort of vinaigrette.
Being vegan is awesome! Whether you are doing it to cleanse, save an animal, or permanently, don’t let anyone deter you from your goal. Remember the reasons why you started and stick to it!