Food is personal. While our need as humans to nourish our bodies is universal, the food we eat on a day-to-day basis is often reliant on a web of intersecting factors: location, capital, religion, taste, community, and more. My many identities have certainly influenced the way that I eat at different times and places in my life, so when I decided to go vegan almost two years ago, I didn’t know what to expect.
At first, the dietary change was overwhelming; over time, it became much easier. If you’re interested in trying out a plant-based diet for yourself, here are 10 things I wish I knew before going vegan.
People are going to offer you unsolicited opinions about your diet.
For some, the idea of a vegan diet conjures up images of “rabbit food,” and others have encountered holier-than-thou attitudes from people following plant-based diets. So when people ask me questions about my eating habits, I don’t mind answering.
However, occasionally people will feel emboldened to offer unsolicited opinions about my food choices. I’ve heard everything from, “I’m so sorry you have to eat that” about meals I’ve cooked for myself (which, to be fair, probably speaks more to my culinary skills [or lack thereof] than anything else) to, “Don’t you realize the only reason humans have teeth is for eating meat?”
But just like you are not obligated to defend your dietary choices to those who will (inevitably) ask, meat and dairy-eaters are not obligated to defend theirs to you.
Vegan diets are all about access and affordability.
There are plenty of reasons to go vegan: it’s non-exploitative, it’s a gift to the environment, and in many cases, plant-based food plans are healthier. But just because you might have the capacity to live vegan every day, doesn’t mean everyone does.
There are people out there who may want to follow a vegan lifestyle but lack the financial, physical, or even emotional resources to turn that desire into a lived reality. If you feel passionate about promoting plant-based eating, your first priority should be helping to create circumstances where veganism is accessible and affordable to others; that means people of color, people who live in food deserts, and others.
Not everyone knows that a plant-based diet isn’t the same as a kosher, gluten-free, or vegetarian diet.
Sometimes, well-meaning friends or family will want to feed me a meal or buy me a treat.
I’ve been told things like, “There’s no dairy or meat in it—just butter!” or have been gifted cookies that are labeled “gluten-free” or “Kosher” that have been made with eggs, cream cheese, or the like.
When that happens, the best thing to do is appreciate the fact that you have people in your life trying to accommodate your eating at all — which is a sign of respect and love — and thank them. Usually, I just pocket or wrap up the gift and give it to a friend later.
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Source:: Business Insider