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26 Aug 2016

Reasons Not To Go Vegan

Here are some reasons not to go vegan [DEBUNKED].

it costs too much
Veganism is not a trend, nor is it something only the wealthy and elite can afford. Granted, it has in recent years become 'trendy' – some popular magazines, celebrities, and bloggers promote it as such – as awareness increases and more and more people make the transition to a vegan lifestyle. Of course there is going to be hype around something that is catching the western world by storm – companies want to ride on that for as much as it's worth! But what does veganism really mean? Well, it's a lifestyle of compassion that avoids exploiting animals. That doesn't mean you have to leg it to Whole Foods and buy a bag of kale chips, pint of kombucha, and a chocolate bar that promises holy zen. Plant-based meals are the cheapest on the planet and is often known as peasant food. Potatoes, rice,  pasta, pulses, beans, vegetables... these are all the cheapest foods you can find!

it takes too long (and I don't like cooking)
Running along side the it-costs-too-much train is another misconception that vegan food must take a long time to prepare and cook. Now, I've never cooked meat but it seems like quite a lengthy process to me (and dangerous if not done right!) whilst whole plant foods take hardly any effort at all. Boiling a pot of rice, sticking on a pot of pasta, baking a potato, chopping up some veg... these all take less time than a ready meal pizza, guys! And, if you're wanting to eat more raw foods it takes even less time (obviously because there is no cooking involved at all). 

i love meat too much
Yes, me, too. The taste of meat is great, but thinking about meat, or anything for that matter, from a single-minded perspective is not all that bright. We know thinking holistically is intelligent – we're taught to think of things from other's perspectives to get a well-rounded, more truthful perspective – so why aren't we applying this to our meals, too? Food is not only about taste (we know this), it's about how if affects our bodies, our short and long-term health, and how it got to our plates in the first place. Ignoring this isn't going to make it healthier for you, it's not going to make the animals suffer any less, and it's not going to make your conscience quiet. so yes, meat may taste good, but that's only one of hundreds of aspects to consider when putting something into your body (bogies tasted great once, too, but we've stopped ingesting those!).

i live with my parents
I often get told "I want to be vegan but I live with my parents", to which my mind boggled – unless you're being force-fed by your parents (in which case you should call the NCPCC immediately), there's nothing stopping you from becoming vegan. Explain to your parents that you want to take better care of your health and wellbeing and that you don't want to ingest or contribute to suffering anymore. Your parents want the best for you and by telling them you're taking a step to bettering your own health is a good thing and if they're looking out for you they will support you in that. It may be difficult, however, for your parents to think outside the box a little bit (if they prepare traditional meat-and-two-veg meals especially) and so why not give them a hand? Cook a delicious vegan meal for your family and show them just how nutritious and yummy it can be (and you never know, you may just convert them, too!).

i can't eat out
Granted, I live in London and so the options are fairly endless for me, but most restaurant chains have at least one vegan option (and if they don't I usually find they're more than happy to accommodate and whip up something in the kitchen especially). I've travelled a fair amount and eating vegan abroad, in cities, and in small towns and middle-of-nowheres has not been an issue once. Restaurants are filled with foods, not just meat, and can whip up something with all sorts of whole foods (or sometimes something a little less whole and a little more naughty). I have even had a vegan option at Nando's... so don't let the fear of missing out stop you, because you'll be able to eat out anywhere (except a steak-house).

it's not healthy
The vegan diet is the healthiest on the planet. This may some as a shock to some of you who've been brought up on traditional thinking, but it has been proven time and time over that meat and dairy causes and exacerbates multiple illnesses, whole foods, fruit, and veg are only providing us with health and vitality. You've never heard of someone overdoing it on their greens! Whole food, plant-based meals are linked to better and longer living and there are no deficiencies (no matter what the industries are trying to sell you). All the vitamins and minerals you need are in plant-based foods  –yes, even protein and vitamin B12 (for more information on this I would highly recommend doing your research and including The China Study on your reading list).

it's a habit
Yes, and so is smoking, biting your nails, binge-drinking, and picking your nose... but we try to stop those habits because we know they're bad for us. Habitually buying animal meat is easy to stop once you're aware of what it is and how it got there. Educate yourself on the facts of the modern farming industry (don't get your information from people who are trying to sell you something) and soon the meat and dairy isles will look grotesque. The UK government tried implementing this sort of knowledge-based tactic smokers by adding a little picture of what smoking may cause on each cigarette package. Wouldn't it be great to add pictures (or, better, footage) of slaughterhouses onto each isle and butchers? But that would halt sales altogether and then some people wouldn't be making their big bucks so instead we need to educate ourselves. Take a real, unbiased look at what it is you're voting for, paying money to support, and putting into your body before you blindly and habitually dump something into your shopping trolley. Make an informed decision and the habit will disappear. 

i haven't thought about it
Well start thinking about it... now! You've reached this page somehow, whether someone lead you here or you found it yourself, your mind and conscience are telling you something. There is absolutely no reason not to go vegan (or at the very least try it for a while). So, as above, educate yourself, read a little, watch a little, and don't put anything in your mouth if you don't know where it came from and how it impacts your body and those around you.

it tastes like cardboard
This is probably referring to some sort of shop-bought vegan meat alternative, in which case I totally agree. Yuk! (and side-note, why are we trying to recreate something we no longer want to eat?). Real, whole foods are bursting with flavour and so delicious - most of the time I don't need seasoning or condiments because the foods I'm eating are so tasty just as they are. Just get experimenting in the kitchen and have fun! (and get out of the mindset that you need to impose omnivorous habits on a vegan lifestyle).

it's not filling
This is because you are either a) not eating whole foods and therefore temporarily filling up on empty calories or b) not eating enough. Remember, when eating plant-based, you are consuming fewer calories by mouthful and therefore can afford to eat a lot more. If you're wanting to fill up quickly, eat more tubers and starchy vegetables (like potatoes, squash, green peas, yucca, and corn), whole grains (like millet, quinoa, rice, barley, and oats), and legumes (like chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, and lima beans). These foods are not only filling, they'll keep you satisfied and full for a longer time and release energy throughout the day so you wont get those hunger pangs.

i'll be missing out
This couldn't be further from the truth, but is a very common response. When someone has been raised on a traditional western carnivorous diet, it can be hard for them to snap out of the habit and see that there are so many foods they've been missing out on all of their life. Western diets are incredibly minimising and most of us tend to eat what we know and recognise. When transitioning to a plant-based, whole foods diet there is a learning curve and we begin to expand our minds, knowledge, and foods. We realise there are so many foods out there we have just not seen, not taken notice of, or not known what to do with and so we stick to the meat-and-two-veg norm to stay comfortable.
Since becoming vegan, the range of foods I eat has more than tripled. I eat an incredibly varied diet and can usually hear someone saying to me "wow, what is that?". It has become clear to me that if you're not eating a plant-based, whole foods diet then you are the one missing out.

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