Nowadays, there is a growing trend for plant-based diets such as the vegan diet. Although it’s easier to become a vegan now compared to the past, this doesn’t mean that going vegan doesn’t come with its challenges. Apart from this diet being significantly different from the traditional diet that includes a lot of meat, dairy, eggs, and more, there are some other issues you might encounter on your journey towards becoming a vegan.
Let’s go through the most common of these issues— and how to help you overcome them:
Although this might not seem like such a big deal at first, you will come to discover that being a vegan who dines out frequently can be quite challenging. For one, not all restaurants are vegan-friendly. If the people you dine out with don’t know that you’re vegan, they’ll just choose any restaurant they want to dine at— and you will be left with a conundrum.
Do you break your diet “just this once” or do you simply order a side salad to stick with your new diet? For the first option, giving in “just this once” can easily become a habit. Soon, you’ll realize that you’ve been breaking your diet frequently without even noticing it. For the second option, ordering something that doesn’t make you feel full or satisfied probably won’t make you feel happy about yourself.
Also, not telling the people you dine with that you’re vegan would lead to this kind of situation happening often. On the other hand, if you do tell your friends about your new diet, they might react in different ways. If you have open-minded friends, they will accept your lifestyle choice and do their best to accommodate you.
This is great news for you because you will be able to dine at restaurants that offer vegan-friendly options. But what if your friends aren’t too happy about the fact that you’ve gone vegan? In such a case, you might notice that dinner invitations are becoming less frequent. This is a sad reality that some vegans have to face.
If you don’t want such a situation to happen to you, the best thing you can do is to assure your friends that you will neither talk about veganism all night nor force them to go vegan just like you. Also, you can be more proactive in terms of deciding which restaurant to go to. Do your research and find out which establishments in your area offer vegan dishes.
Then you can make suggestions to dine at these establishments once in a while. Or if your friends want to dine somewhere that isn’t completely vegan-friendly, you can check their menu beforehand to see what options you have.
Chances are, there will be some dishes that will fit into your diet. Checking the menu makes it easier to decide if you can join your friends or if it would be better to take a rain check so you don’t have to deal with an awkward situation.
Attending parties and other social events
Another challenging—and common—situation is to attend non-vegan parties as a vegan. Once news gets around that you’re a vegan, some people might feel worried about inviting you. The good news is that this issue is quite easy to overcome. First, assure your family, friends, and acquaintances that they don’t have to make changes to their plans just to accommodate your new diet.
Tell them that you’re okay with attending parties with non-vegans. You can even offer to bring a vegan dish to share with everyone. The key here is to approach the situation as open-mindedly and as positively as possible. That way, the people around you don’t feel intimidated by your lifestyle choice and they won’t hesitate to send you an invitation when they’re planning parties.
Traveling is another challenging situation, especially in the beginning. The more you travel and the longer you stick with veganism, the more you will get the hang of traveling as a vegan. But for the first few times you travel, you may feel a lot of temptation to break your diet—at least for the duration of the trip.
This temptation won’t just come from the fact that new places offer new and exciting dishes that you would like to try. It would also come from the fact that you’re going to a new place you know nothing about. So how do you overcome this issue? Through research. Before traveling, research the place you are traveling to. Go online and search for vegan restaurants, shops, and establishments in the area.
Chances are, you will be able to find a good number of places that offer vegan fare. Also, you may want to consider packing vegan foods—especially snacks—for your trip. That way, even if you end up in a place that doesn’t have a lot of vegan-friendly food options, you won’t end up going hungry.
Non-acceptance from family and friends
This is one issue that can be very challenging to deal with. Challenging—but not impossible. If you come from a long line of meat eaters and you suddenly decide to go vegan, the people around you won’t understand why you would ever make this choice. They might ask you a lot of questions, ridicule you, and generally, make you feel bad about your decision.
Don’t give up and don’t start a fight with them either. Going vegan isn’t something you should destroy your relationships over. Instead, give them some time to process what you’ve said. After some time, you can open up the topic with them again. Explain your reason for becoming a vegan positively.
Also, assure them that you don’t expect them to go vegan, neither do you expect them to make changes in their lives just to accommodate you. Tell them that this is your choice and your change—this means that they don’t have to make any changes in their life just to accommodate you. To avoid conflict, try to be as positive and accepting as you can be.
Expect them to react negatively and prepare for it. Show them that you understand where they are coming from, you accept their opinions, and you respect them for who they are. Hopefully, this will change their attitude towards you—and veganism too, especially when they see how your new lifestyle is benefitting you in so many ways.
Explaining your lifestyle choice without offending others
For non-vegans, there’s nothing worse than hearing vegans talk about how the vegan lifestyle is healthier and much more ethical than theirs. Hearing vegans go on and on about how veganism is the best diet out there can be quite offensive— especially if they already have a negative perception about veganism and vegans.
Have you ever heard the expression, “less words, less mistakes” before? This expression applies perfectly to this situation. There’s no need to preach about veganism unless someone asks you about it. If one of your friends and family members asks you about your vegan journey, then you can share your story simply and positively.
If they ask more questions or they seem genuinely interested in veganism, then you may continue sharing information. But it’s not a good idea to open up the topic, especially at gatherings and other social events where the majority of guests are non-vegans.
When explaining veganism to others, try not to make them feel guilty about their diets or lifestyles. Doing this causes others to adopt a defensive attitude which might cause them to feel even more negatively towards veganism. Instead, talk about your journey and how veganism makes you feel good about yourself.
You can even share some of the challenges you have faced and how to overcome them. This makes your journey more realistic and relatable compared to when you just gush about veganism to people who don’t have the same views and opinions as yourself.
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