I think it’s safe to say that at one point or another, many of us have thought to ourselves “should I go vegan”? In the last few years, vegan diets have been everywhere, with celebrities, athletes, and even Instagram models swearing by the plant-based lifestyle. A vegan diet is one that does not include any animal products, mainly meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk. While this may seem like a hard diet to adhere to, there are approximately 1 million vegans in the U.S. alone, proving that leading a plant-based lifestyle is actually quite doable. If you’re thinking about making the vegan switch, here are a few things to consider before taking the plunge.
Do you have time to cook and meal prep?
Unless you live in a big city like Philadelphia or Houston, pre-made vegan food is not always readily available. Most vegans prepare the majority of their meals at home, so be prepared to get creative in the kitchen if you’re considering switching to a vegan diet. For non-vegans, it’s easy to just drive through the nearest fast food restaurant and grab a quick meal when there isn’t enough time to stop at home, but for vegans it’s not that easy. Consider the amount of time you have in your day to prepare home-cooked meals before making the decision to go vegan.
What vitamins and nutrients will you be missing?
A huge thing to consider when transitioning to a vegan diet is what vitamins and nutrients you’ll be missing. One of the biggest vitamins that people following plant-based diets don’t get is B12, which is essential in keeping our nerve and blood cells healthy. A B12 deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, and even memory loss. It is imperative that vegans get the recommended daily amount of B12, either through diet or by taking a B12 supplement. Another major concern that many people have about vegan diets is that they won’t be able to get enough protein. While this is a valid concern, it is incredibly easy for vegans to include protein in their diets by eating beans, nuts, lentils, and other protein-rich foods.
Are you open to trying new foods?
If you’re a picky eater, going vegan may not be realistic for you. A big part of transitioning to veganism is broadening your horizons and getting creative with your meals, as your options will essentially be limited. If you’re a staunch meat eater who doesn’t really enjoy trying new things, then a plant-based diet will most likely be difficult to maintain. The good news, however, is that there are tons of plant-based “faux meats” available in grocery stores across the U.S., from fried chicken to the now-famous Beyond Meat Burger. These vegan substitutes can make it easy for meat lovers to adopt a new lifestyle without feeling like they have to give up the foods they love. In addition to plant-based meat, there are also dairy-free cheeses, yogurts, and sour creams available to make the transition easier.