I have wrote about being vegan/plant-focused can be hard. But we also learned from that post that it does not have to be. But with that is the truth…the hard truth about living this kind of lifestyle. Here are 11 hard truths about being vegan/plant-focused:
1. Sometimes you will feel sluggish (during the transition)
For some, transitioning to a plant-focused lifestyle is no problem…smooth sailing. But for others, well, let’s say they…um…not so much. LOL! And that’s completely normal! The body reacts in many different ways, but the most common I hear is feeling sluggish. I often hear,
“But I’m eating more fruits and vegetables. Why am I so tired?!”
Well, one reason is some do not eat enough. Vegetables, fruits, and grains are lower in calories, so it could simply be that enough calories are not consumed.
The next reason I believe is the main culprit…the body detoxing from animal products. With information from documentaries, articles, and research, there are so many things that animals consume that are not good for them; things that are horrible for humans, that cannot be cooked out and then are ingested. That does not include what is put in meat and dairy products AFTER it has been harvested. YIKES!
So, the body is working in overtime to get that junk out of the body so it can start anew. Our bodies are so uniquely designed that it knows what it wants and pushes out what is harmful and the mess it doesn’t need. The body is tired after all that work!
Eat more and roll with the detoxifying process. It won’t last long. 😉
2. When you’re the only one in the house that wants to transition
Fortunately, everyone in my household is plant-focused. I am married with three small children. Well, technically my kids didn’t have a decision. LOL! But I have met many people who are the ONLY one in their house that wants to transition or are currently living plant-focused. Many of them are pretty much cooking two separate meals. While that sucks, it doesn’t have to be so hard.
The key is to cook a meal where the protein can be interchangeable and not force your lifestyle the family. That will only make them more resistant to the change. Many times family members slowly get converted. Yee-haw!!
Have meatless Mondays, incorporate some vegan substitutes like crumbles in spaghetti or veggie meatballs in marinara subs. Creativity is the answer. If you’re not creative, there is always Pinterest. 😉
3. Telling people you’re vegan/plant-focused
Sometimes telling people of your decision can be a challenge. There are those awesome people that pat you on your back or that support and encourage you. Then there are others that have to have something to say, making it seem like it is the worst decision in the world. And then there are the ones that ask a million questions about it.
This process is just the nature of the beast.
Be prepared and be patient. Have an answer to the common questions, be ready to respond to the haters, and embrace the supporters.
4. Deciding what to eat
The big challenge, in my opinion, is deciding what to eat. I mean, of course its big, you have to eat! It doesn’t have to be hard though.
First, write down what you eat normally. You may be surprised to find that some of those foods and meals are already vegan.
For the ones that are not, figure out if they can be made vegan or have vegan substitutes. Like chili, spaghetti, and pizza. Or just completely omit the animal product like in a stir-fry, fajitas, and quesadillas. You’d be surprised how good it is. Believe me, I talked about loving sour cream in this post.
5. Every recipe will not work
There are Pinterest fails every day. And some recipes will fail as well. Going into it, don’t just assume it will turn out perfectly just because ___________ (you fill in the blank). I still follow some recipes that turn out horribly.
Move onto the next recipe. NEXT!
6. Eating out can be a challenge
So, I’m sure you have thought about this before or have already experienced it. Eating out can be a pain if you are plant-focused. Most restaurants do not advertise vegan options. But most meals can be made vegan.
Find what you want on the menu and make it work for you. Ask for substitutions or for the chef to cook it in olive oil rather than butter (if that bothers you). My kids’ favorite restaurant is Cracker Barrel, a southern restaurant chain. Meat, butter, milk, cream…it seems to be in every dish!
But there are still ways around it. I order the vegetable plate with all vegetables and a baked sweet potato. Yes, some of those are cooked in butter, but that doesn’t bother me. One reason is that I don’t consume it often, and two is I eat what I want, as per my bio! LOL! But seriously, I may eat something cooked with butter, but cheese and creams weird me out, so I avoid them. I don’t eat meat at all.
7. Craving what you used to have
Here’s my truth regarding this…I have been plant-focused for a while now and I still crave crab legs. It was my absolute favorite food when I ate meat. Just the other day my husband had to pull me away from the freshly delivered crab legs at Sprouts. Lord help me!!!
I thought back to why I gave it up in the first place…I had to remember my convictions. This is how you will fight that craving beast…and then go eat something else. #thumbsup
Parties and gatherings can be the worst. Almost always is the food covered with cheese, made with cheese, or smothered in whipped cream or cream cheese. The only option is usually the fruit tray or the veggie tray. I don’t want that! LOL! If you’re like me, you want to eat, too!
You will read in most blogs that the solution is to bring something you can eat. I agree 100% or eat before you get there. This will be easy if it’s a potluck or your pitching in with the food. Other times it will seem awkward, like at a BBQ, where all the food is provided and you bring your own.
Deal with it and bring your own food. If someone has a problem with it, it’s their problem to own, not yours. Deal? Deal.
9. Focusing on taking in protein and not other nutrients
Many people get so focused on intaking the right amount of protein that they completely neglect all the other nutrients that are needed. I wrote about vitamins and minerals in this post. It will provide the solution to this hard truth.
10. If you don’t know how to cook, it will be a different experience
Not knowing how to cook can be a deal breaker for some people.
Preparation, prepping, prep…and a little research. They key for the non-cooker is to find meals that are easy to cook or that can be microwaved. Yes, there are frozen vegan meals, but there are limited varieties and can be a bit pricey. But it is possible.
11. Other vegans
I left this hard truth for last because it is my biggest irritation.
Other vegans can judge very easily and very harshly. Many people have become vegan for many different reasons: Some are animal activist (I am not), some are environmentalist (I am not), some are fighting health disease (I am not), some are aware of what is entering their bodies (I am).
Some of these people are very passionate about their beliefs and do not care how they make others feel when speaking about it. Some will say some ugly things because you decided to have a piece of milk chocolate. I just want to scream, “MIND YOUR BUSINESS!”
Keep on doing what you want. Stick to your convictions. What they say should have no bounds on what you eat. Their decision is not yours. I tend to avoid the extremists, but listen and converse with those who are willing to speak rationally and understands that everyone has a choice.
To sum it up…
These are all challenges that we have or will face. But challenges are meant to be conquered and you can do that. Focus on why you decided to go on this plant-focused journey and don’t stray from it. You will do great!