Two years ago I switched to eating completely vegan, and I've never looked back. Eating vegan feels right for my mind, body and soul.
I have lost weight, my energy levels have soared, my skin cleared up and my overall health has never been better.
At first, going vegan can seem intimidating and there's good reason for that: Veganism is only just starting to receive mainstream attention and you may not have any family or friends that are vegan.
If you've been thinking about transitioning to a vegan diet, it isn't as difficult or limiting as you may think. What I can assure you is that after fully embracing a vegan lifestyle, I've learned first-hand that all of the popular misconceptions about eating vegan are well, misconceptions.
1. I'll have to eat boring food without flavor for the rest of my life!
Wrong! In fact, this couldn't be further from the truth. I had this fear before going vegan. However, making the switch to a vegan diet led me to discover amazing vegetables (collard greens, anyone?), fruit, smoothies, juices, spices and snacks that I never had before.
When you have to take certain things out of your diet, you begin to go out of your comfort zone and uncover items at the grocery store and on the menu that you never would've tried before. The variety of food that I eat now is more diverse then ever.
I continue to be amazed at all of the incredible options I discover. Don't even get me started on vegan restaurants and vegan bakeries, they are all out of this world (and all of my non-vegan friends agree!).
Begin to research vegan blogs and vegan cookbooks for recipes to get some ideas and remember that although you may be giving up some of your favorites you'll be gaining a lot more. Veganism has a funny way of opening up your eyes to what else is out there.
2. I could never give up cheese!
Almost everyone I meet who is considering going vegan has the same infamous concern, the separation anxiety they’ll feel from cheese. I used to eat pizza almost three times a week (I'm not bragging) and I had cheese in some form almost everyday.
Before making the switch to eating entirely vegan, I remained vegetarian because I couldn’t ditch cheese. I even read that people may be addicted to cheese (well, that explains it...). I didn’t think I would be able to stop eating cheese until I learned what cheese was doing to my body.
Cheese is full of saturated fat and many researchers have found that cheese can cause acne and increase mucus production amongst a whole list of undesirable things that aren't fair to put my body through. (There's a reason they're called cottage cheese thighs!)
I went cold tofurkey on cheese two years ago and I have never relapsed or craved cheese once. If you are considering going vegan but you really think you can't give up cheese, don't let that stop you, there are a lot of vegan cheeses that come close to the real thing.
3. I'll have to take a bunch of supplements and vitamins.
Rest assured, when you go vegan you won’t need to make extra cabinet space to fit all of your vitamins and supplements. I did a lot of research when switching to eating all vegan and I learned that the only vitamin that I was unable to receive from a plant based diet was B12.
A few vegan foods do have B12, but to ensure that I receive the right amount I take a supplement as many plant based diet experts advise vegans to do.
When people learn that I am vegan many of them voice nutrition concerns. In addition to the protein police surfacing, there are a lot of questions regarding where I get certain vitamins and nutrients from. After answering this question for a long time, I started asking the question back (in a curious, friendly and non-defensive tone). Regardless of how we label our style of eating, how many of us know and monitor where we get necessary vitamins and nutrients from?
When someone is unfamiliar with a plant-based diet they may assume that eliminating meat and dairy means eliminating necessary nutrients. It’s an incorrect mainstream belief drilled in our heads at an early age that hasn't seemed to go away yet…even with all of the research concluding that adopting a vegan diet is one of the healthiest things you can do.