Monday, August 8, 2011

It's not easy.

Generally, I try to be fairly positive. But, today, I have to voice a pet peeve of mine. A loud chorus from the vegetarian/vegan community states how "easy" it is to go veg, or vegan. I understand the motivation in saying this - they want to overcome the barrier most people have in changing their diets. Or they're trying to hype themselves up - also understandable. But, the truth is, it's not so easy. It's really not easy. It's actually very difficult. And framing it otherwise does the community a disservice.

In order to get proper nutrition with a vegan diet, I have to be super-on-top-of-it. We're talking daily fortified smoothies, constantly eating snacks like fruits and nuts and seeds, and trying to find things on menus when in a rush or at less-than-friendly restaurants. This is not easy. And if it's not done properly, it results in weakness or fatigue or malnutrition. Plus, regular meat eaters/lovers crave meat. This is a huge barrier to overcome. Overcoming, culture, access to vegan food, and personal discipline are all huge factors.

So, what do I suggest? Truth. If you truly believe it's super easy than by all means keep saying it. But, I say it would help to have empathy for those who struggle (like myself). For example, say someone decides to try and be vegan and they find they're having constant cravings, or difficulty with their families. If they only see and hear from the community how easy it is, it's going to make people feel like failures. That's not cool. I guess that's why I started this blog - to prove it could be done, easy or not.

I still hope it will inspire others to try this vegan thing, even though I'm still struggling.


  1. You're so right! I also struggle with the nutrition and so feel the need to act like its no big deal. If you've been raised on a meat-eating diet then cutting it out will definitely be a struggle, no matter how you look at it. But it can be done and at least we're trying to lead compassionate lifestyles :) x

  2. I was raised on a super dairy-heavy and meaty diet and I know just what you mean! I really loved meat but had to say that I couldn't in good conscience eat it (or dairy) anymore. I admit I went vegan over night and was fine, and it's been a little over a year now. The strange thing is, after about a year, I started to crave meat. I had to reassess my diet and really try to make better choices about nutrition. I have to remind myself it's not enough to be "just a vegan", I have chosen to take a stance on what doesn't go into my diet, so I have to take a stance on what does.

  3. I respect your opinion but the truth is that the switch IS very easy for some people. I was SHOCKED by how easy it was for me because I ate fast food, meat, cheese, whatever I could get my hands on for almost 30 years.

    If I had only stopped whining for so long (in fear of how hard and awful it would be to give up meat), I could have actually tried it and realized HEY! My body LOVES THIS. Struggling for nutrients? you shouldnt be if you're following a whole foods, plant based diet. My body was starved for nutrients and health and balance when I was eating cheeseburgers for breakfast. fatigue/malnutrition?! Sounds like me when I ate meat...and if an "addiction to meat" is that hard for you to overcome, it sounds like you need to reassess why you are doing this.

  4. Anonymous...
    I also respect your opinion, but you're also proving my point. That's why I wrote this post. To counter arguments like yours. I do believe for some people it IS easy, but for others it is not. So let's help each other out!

  5. Have you seen Vegucated? I think you'd like it. It's a realistic documentation of the struggles of 3 randomly selected people who volunteered to go vegan. Its been 6 years since the film was made and some of them are still struggling. I think being surrounded by a community of vegans (in real life, not just online) is important. Since the world premier of the film, the 3 subjects have been inspired by people around them to continue on their path. Its hard when the people around you aren't into it. Find a community and it will be easier.

  6. I just came across your blog and I love it! I have been vegetarian for a little over a year & it really wasn't too hard. (I live in Portland where every other restaurant is 100% vegan) WELP, I am 11 weeks pregnant and I am having such a hard time! It's not that I am craving meat, but I am having a hard time sticking to my convictions and meat is everywhere! I know that I will overcome this, but jeeze, it is really hard sometimes!

  7. Chandra - that's so great that you're taking on such a challenge, especially wen pregnant! I wish you the best... things get easier with time.

    Joanne- I have not seen Vegucated, but it's going high on my list. I really appreciate your support. I am finding a community of people more open to these ideas, but it's tough!