With people becoming more and more aware of their health and of the environmental impact of the food they eat, the shift in having a vegetarian lifestyle is starting and growing. Products and stores have devised a setup that caters to people who are vegetarian and vegan.
But do you know the difference among the two? Is going vegan a difficult lifestyle change? And if so, how do you start moving to a vegan diet without much struggle?
Vegetarian vs. Vegan
First of all, you should be aware of the differences between being vegetarian and vegan. When you say you’re vegetarian, this means that you opt to consume plant-based foods and not eat anything from animals whether it’s a product or a by-product. The term vegetarian is what is used to describe the category of people who prefer to have this diet. On the other hand, the term vegan is a kind of vegetarian diet wherein you totally eliminate consuming animal products and by-products.
Transitioning to Vegan Diets
Admit it, when you heard that vegan diets required having absolutely zero consumption of animal products, you felt daunted at how difficult that would be especially if you’re just starting to be conscious of your food intake. That is why you should know that you are not required to immediately stop eating animal products. The better way to approach this is to slowly introduce vegan food into your diet. You can do this by starting to try vegan meals and looking for vegan recipes. Slowly, your body and your mind will grow accustomed to how they taste that the urge for meat, chicken, etc., are forgotten. This method is much more effective than immediately shifting to a vegan diet.
To add to that, the notion that you eat in smaller portions and that you have to give up eating snacks is false. When you become vegan, you are not required to have smaller amounts of food. You don’t even have to cut down on meals. It just so happens that vegan food have less carbs and sugar (except those that are natural sweeteners). When it comes to snacks, there are vegan versions for biscuits, desserts, etc. There are so many vegan alternatives out there and you’d be amazed that vegans can still eat a lot too.
More than Just Salads
Just because fruits and vegetables are the only ones planted does not mean that you should reduce what you eat solely to salads. A vegan diet does not only consist of salads since there are a lot of food choices to choose from and they come in different forms. For example, you can still eat vegan ice cream or chips. They just have different ingredients but the taste remains the same, or even better.
Moreover, when eating out, you don’t have to stick to eating salads just because they’re the only ones having animal-free ingredients. What you could do is suggest eating someplace else (there are vegan restaurants) or ordering something from the menu that is mostly vegetables and fruits. You can also request to not put any soy sauce, broth cubes, etc.
Negative Comments are Normal
Probably one of the many concerns about being vegan is that some people tend to judge your food habits, even label you as a picky eater. But as early as now you should know how to deflect these comments because usually those people who judge are the ones who do not know much about vegan diets.
Being Vegan Is Also a Lifestyle
It’s not just your eating habits that get altered once you choose to be vegan. It also involves being more conscious of the environment and the ethical way of eating. In fact, there are people who have chosen to be vegan not solely because they want to be healthy. Some choose to because they feel that the way animals are killed is unethical and they simply do not support these practices.
In the end, it is your body and it is your choice. You should be able to tell if your body can adapt easily to a vegan lifestyle or that it needs other nutrients you can get from meat. But if you do choose to go vegan all the way, do not forget that everything should be paced just to avoid you having several relapses or feeling that you are deprived.