A 6-week challenge, now extended indefinitely, was never going to be completely stress-free. But I’ve certainly enjoyed experimenting with different food combinations. Are you thinking of trialling a vegan diet? Read on below to find out some of the things I’m going through in My Vegan Journey: 5 Practical Challenges I’m Dealing With!
1. So Why On Earth Am I Going Vegan?
Throughout the different generations of my family, it’s been a staple to have a meal consisting of vegetables, a carbohydrate and meat of some kind. So why did I decide to suddenly change a habit of a lifetime?
Having a ‘why’ is the key to getting the ball rolling. Do your research and understand what it is you want to get out of this new lifestyle. That way, when something sets you back, you’ll be less willing to give up.
2. …But That’s Going to Cost You…
Isn’t vegan food expensive? Starting out on this new diet, it was so tempting to wander the ‘free from’ aisles and add everything labelled ‘vegan’ into my basket. It’s a new lifestyle after all, I want to try it all!
That’s where careful planning and budgeting comes into play. In theory, through cutting out meat and dairy you should be increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, grains and pulses, but these don’t need to add extra digits onto your shopping bill. The more speciality vegan foods such as tofu, tempeh and dairy alternatives can then be worked around your remaining budget.
It’s easy to assume that vegan diets don’t include enough protein. Protein content is high in meat and dairy, so cutting them out, by default, supposedly results in deficiencies. To ensure adequate protein consumption, make sure to eat a variety of lentils, chickpeas, nuts and beans.
4. …Can Vegans Eat This?
From day-to-day I will encounter the odd person that hasn’t quite grasped the ‘no-go’ foods for vegans. But that’s fine, just have patience and explain it to them.
Most restaurants now will cater for vegans without any issues and often the wide array of food choices sound even more appealing than the conventional ones! Eating out as a vegan definitely doesn’t have to be boring.
5. Won’t You Miss Meat?
The jump to being vegan is a significant one. That’s why it’s usually recommended to break the leap down into smaller steps, whether that’s eliminating certain foods one by one, or being vegetarian for a short time in between. Either way, getting used to a new diet always takes time.
Don’t forget, it’s easy to miss something if you’ve enjoyed it your whole life, but that doesn’t necessarily make a vegan diet boring. In fact there’s now an infinite range of fresh and creative delicious vegan dishes and recipes.