It’s now estimated that around 8% of the world’s population follows a vegan diet. While that is still a small fraction of the global food economy, veganism might seem like it’s taking over the world. In most restaurants, there are vegan options available, and every day there are more vegan alternatives to meat products. It might seem like the last thing you’d ever want to do; for some, nothing beats a juicy steak or a tender chicken breast. It might seem like veganism is a niche, alternative thing which doesn’t match your lifestyle. But in reality, being vegan is healthy, good for the planet, and can fit anyone’s life. Read on to find out how to eat vegan, without compromising your favorite things.
The cold turkey nightmare
Let’s break down what scares most people about veganism. For many, it’s merely a lack of food satisfaction. Afraid you’ll miss your favorite meat treats too badly? You’re not alone. Often there are fears about becoming tired, bored, and generally dissatisfied with your new way of life. Research shows, however, there is an increasing number of vegan protein sources becoming available to the average consumer. Plus, many vegan alternatives even go as far as to create taste-replicas of meat products such as beef burgers and chicken wings. This means you don’t have to sacrifice your game day favorites, just switch it up a little.
Putting your money where your mouth is
Another common misjudgment of the vegan lifestyle is that it’s hard on your wallet. It’s true that to eat a balanced plant-based diet, investments are required. Your pantry needs to be full of pulses, nuts, and vegetables to sustain your protein levels without eating animal products. However, compared with the price of buying good quality meat, veganism is likely the cheaper of the two. Think of how much you’ve spent on meat products in the last year alone – this likely doesn’t come close to what you might have spent on plant-based alternatives.
If you’re concerned about budgeting your new lifestyle, the best way to work out your options is trial and error. Work out your average grocery expenditure when you ate meat and dairy, then conduct a price comparison with your new dietary requirements.
Remember, trying anything new is more fun in a group. If you’re worried about being the “weirdo” of your sports team or friend group, encourage them to join you on this new food quest! Plus, shopping together is cheaper and more sustainable.
Easing into the change
Switching diets always comes with a few teething problems. No matter where you are along your health journey, going vegan cold-turkey might be a drastic change for your body. If you’re concerned about losing your motivation, feeling tired, or getting bored quickly, never fear. It might seem like to be vegan, you have to be a militant one. Get rid of that myth! Saying you can only eat vegan if you do it 100% is like telling a jogger they can only jog if they run a marathon on their first try.
These high expectations only lead to quitting before you’re getting into it. So, try eating vegan one or two days per week. This seemingly small change is better for both your health and the environment. If your goal is to be completely vegan, building it up is a great way of easing into the change. Increasing the number of days per week you eat vegan over a long period is a fantastic way of introducing your body and lifestyle to this new way. If you fall off your veganism wagon, there’s no shame in that! Allowing yourself a non-vegan treat every once in a while doesn’t make you a lousy vegan, just an honest one.
Alleviating some of the concerns on going vegan
Especially for sports fans and athletes, it seems as though veganism might be a bad fit. Sports is not just a hobby for you, it is a whole lifestyle, which incorporates more than just a weekend get-together with friends. Nowadays, though, the world of sports is embracing veganism! Many athletes follow a vegan diet, whether due to allergies, ethics, or simply a preference in food options. These include Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic and Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton. These guys are top of their game and are proudly vegan. It’s not uncool to care, and by embracing this lifestyle, you could be making the best decision of your life.
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