My 10 Biggest Fears of Switching to a Plant-Based Diet

Rational or not, I have some real fears about my upcoming switch to a plant-based diet. Starting next week, I will be cutting out animal protein, dairy and processed foods. Ever since learning how to cook and deal with my family’s digestion issues, I have been taking steps to clean up our diet and while we’ve made some big strides, I have not been able to go all the way. I firmly believe that a plant-based diet is optimal but I have a husband and two kids that I live with as well so this journey is not just about me. The cold, hard truth is that I have just not been prepared to rock the boat.

Well, the time has come and the boat is gonna rock. Here are my 10 biggest fears:

1. This will be a long detox as opposed to a short one. I have done a couple of cleanses before, which have lasted 3-4 days. My plan is to eat a plant-based diet for 90 days and since my body has endured a lot of abuse in my almost 42 years, there is plenty of toxic sludge to purge. It is sure to be a test in endurance.

2. My frustration at mealtime will increase. My family is extremely supportive of my continued experimentation but that doesn’t always mean they want to participate. I can count on one hand my repertoire of kid-approved plant-based meals at this point so this will be a big challenge. I cannot keep making two adaptations for each meal so there will no doubt be some standoffs at dinner.

3. I’m afraid my love of (addiction to) pizza will never die. I can forego animal protein easily enough but having to give up pizza - the way it is supposed to be made in all its cheesy, crunchy-crusted deliciousness – will be difficult. I see a tantrum in my future.

4. I won’t be able to drink irresponsibly. Yes, you read that right… does that sound bad? I like to let my hair down once in awhile at a party or a night on the town. I have two young kids now so this happens very infrequently but my guess is that my body won’t tolerate alcohol as much once it’s cleaner.

5. Going out to dinner won’t be as fun. There aren’t a plethora of plant-based meal options at most restaurants as of yet. If I think about it, half the fun for me is perusing the menu to see what sounds tasty that evening.

6. My theory will be wrong. I’ve read over 25 books on nutrition in the past few years and have almost completed my studies at IIN (see below). There are so many diets and theories out there but there is always an underlying constant that a plant-heavy diet is the best preventative medicine. It is my sincere hope that I will have more energy, vitality, happiness (while shedding that last stubborn 15 pounds) and if this doesn’t turn out to be the case, it will be disappointing.

7. I will have to announce my “special diet” when invited over to dinner. I have never been one to want to stand out as I have always been a fairly reserved and private person. And, I don’t really care to explain why it is that I am not having the hamburger provided. At this point, I see no way to avoid it, which brings me to my next fear….

8. I will lose some of those closest to me because of the changes I am making. As I said, I have been pretty tight-lipped about my new revelations regarding my diet so as to not rock the boat. I am prepared to go for it no matter what the cost. Doesn’t mean it will be easy… and doesn’t mean I’m not scared.

9. I will fail. I am certainly aware that I will not be perfect throughout this 90 day experiment but I am not prepared to fail. I’ve dabbled with cleanses before and have gotten pretty sick afterwards. Getting sick is not normal for me so my instinct is that it had to do with the cleansing; perhaps my body was unhappy that I started adding in toxic food again or that it wasn’t done trying to eliminate the toxins. For this reason, I feel there is the possibility that my body won’t be able to withstand this clean diet. That sounds completely absurd when I write it down, but it is my fear nonetheless.

10. I will succeed! Marianne Williamson says it best in her book A Return to Love: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” Amen, sister. I am going for it.

I would love to hear what your next big step is on your journey and the fears that go along with it. As real as the fear can be, we can be hopeful that the gains will be even greater.

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