Sept. 11, 2012
The Hardest Part of Transition - Your Woes Addressed
I asked HH's Facebook page "What was or is the hardest part in your transition to a plant-based diet" and the comments poured in.
Most of the responses fell into the same few issues, so I'll address each of them here:
Alright folks, this one is easy: DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. You could eat nothing but potatoes all day and still exceed your protein needs. It doesn't matter if you're male, female, you lift weights, do yoga, etc. As long as you eat enough calories and eat whole plant foods you'll meet your protein needs. You don't need a supplement (i.e. protein powder) and you don't need to worry about it. And you don't need to eat tofu or beans (but they are both healthy choices). For more info, see my protein posts: Plant-Based Protein Sources and Ask Happy Herbivore: Protein
2. Missing a certain food:
Understand cravings and that cravings can be mental and physical . Find an alternative that scratches the itch (there is a commercial vegan substitute for just about anything and if there isn't a commercial product, there is a recipe online to make it yourself). Find new favorites too. Foods I used to like as an omni, like chicken fingers, I don't even really want a vegan version anymore because my tastes have changed and I have new things to be obsessed with -- like kale!
Cheese addicts: know that cheese as addictive as some drugs (all dairy is addictive but cheese is much more so ). It takes a long time to get over that addiction, be strong and fight it.
For my seafood lovers, eat oyster mushrooms and HH's crab cakes . You can send me love notes later.
and read The Pleasure Trap ,it changed my life.
3. Restaurants and Dining out. (and Travel too)
4. Eating out with friends and being a house guest.
My best advice is to always be upfront way in advance. If you're invited over for dinner, tell the host ahead of time and offer to bring your own meal so as not to inconvenience them and if they insist you come empty handed offer to help such as suggesting meals or recipes they can make. Eating out with friends is easy: go to a restaurant that goes both ways or you know will have options like Italian, Thai, Indian or any place with a salad bar. Remember my post about going to a wedding? I was there for the socializing and watching my friend get married, I wasn't there for the food :) You can also see this post about eating out with friends as a vegan and how to approach it.
5. Dealing with negativity or harassment from friends, family, etc.
6. Tummy troubles Give your body some time to adjust to this new lifestyle and read my post on flatulence.
7. Sticking to a budget
I can't recommend the HH meal plans enough. Most people report spending $30 a person ($45 for all organic) or less. I feel three adults each week for $90. I've also written a lot of posts on eating plant-based cheaply. You should be saving money, not spending more if you stick to whole plant foods and skip the processed vegan junk you don't need :) Also read: Eating Healthy on a Budget
8. No support
Well that's why we have the Happy Herbivore facebook page and groups. Make some online friends. Join a meetup or veg society in your area.
9. See other peoples ignorance/lack of compassion
This never gets easier but over time you find better ways to deal with it. It empowers me -- it encourages me to lead by example and educate. For more information on how to "deal" see my post "How to Keep Yourself from Becoming a Vegan Snob".
Cooking vegan is so much easier. You don't have to worry about eating cookie dough with a spoon anymore (win!) It's different, true, but don't let your mind go nuts. Eating vegan can be so easy and simple, take my 23 eay meals and meals that are faster than fast food . Try cooking 1day a week like I do . Having a plan in place makes life so easy. HAVE FUN WITH IT. You'll get to explore a whole new world!