Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"It's Too Hard To Be Vegan"


It's not.

How often I hear this. If you're vegan, I'm sure you've heard it too. Before becoming vegan, you probably thought it yourself.

If you're not yet vegan, have you also thought this way? What's holding you back from making the full switch to eating vegan?

Why would someone think it is hard?

- Is it because it takes too much time to prepare vegan foods? Well, that's not about being vegan. That's about preparing home-cooked meals and not always eating a meal from a bag or a box. There are convenient vegan foods too, which can stand-in for those nights when cooking a meal from scratch is just not possible.

- Is it because there are new foods to eat, and learning how to cook them is overwhelming? I'll tell you these new foods are exciting, delicious, and not difficult to prepare. This new Teriyaki Broccoli Cashew Stir-Fry is not at all hard to make, and will wow your taste buds. Was this hard to make? No.
Or these dishes, this munchie, this snack cookie or this dessert? None of them.
They were hard to stop eating though!

- Or, is it because of this: "I'd miss having eggs for breakfast" or "I really love cheese". How often I've heard these types of comments. But then, new vegans often tell me "you know what, I don't really miss it now, I thought it would be hard to give up, but it's not!". Your palate will change when you eliminate animal flesh and fluid. You will enjoy more vegan foods and not want those animal foods. You will feel better after eating your vegan meals. Not heavy and bloated and sluggish. You know how that feels after a creamy dairy pasta or cheesy meal? With vegan meals, you'll feel nourished and energized.

Not only will you feel good after eating vegan, you'll feel good ABOUT eating vegan. If you care about your good health and vitality - eat vegan. If you care about animals and ending animal suffering - drink vegan. If you care about how your choices affect the environment - be vegan.

Eat. Drink. Be Vegan.
It's NOT hard.
I'll leave you with that to chew on for a few days... I have some work to submit to my publisher and will be breaking from blogging for a bit.


Dayle said...

hehe... this pic looks like the majority of our dinners. YUM! I'm such a sucker for cashews too.

Do we have a release date yet or is that tentative?? we're looking forward to it! if only we didn't have to go an hour out of town for decent groceries. :(

Melissa said...

Looks yummy Dreena!

When people tell me "I could never give up eggs or cheese, I love it too much" I tell them that before going vegan, I loved eggs and cheese too...a lot! Then I share with them a tofu omelet recipe, or a recipe for the best vegan mac and cheese there's no excuses!

hyphen_helena said...

Everything you said is completely true. And that stir fry looks amazing! I love teryaki and I'm sitting here munching on cashews right now! Mmmmm.

I had forgotten about some of the things you mentioned. Like I used to love cheese but one day I ate too much and had a huge stomach ache for three looong days. And I did feel so sluggish after those creamy sauces.

I love being vegan. It's amazing how a lifestyle or just diet change can really change everything.

Anonymous said...

Going vegan, I realised I don't even like eggs and milk.I acquired a "taste" for cheese but don't miss that.Due to my son's dairy and egg allergies I went straight from carnivore to vegan in one swoop (something I never imagined)! I feel my diet is more balanced now because it isn't laden with dairy/eggs in everything and genuinely has different ingredients in each meal! --Maureen--

scottishvegan said...

You are so right Dreena! It’s not hard to be vegan! I think a lot of people just don’t like change. The stir fry looks super yummy :)

Alexis said...

You left out one of the big reasons it can be hard -- negotiating food at restaurants.

There are many many lovely restaurants in the world that are veggie, vegan, or veg-friendly. And I don't even eat out that much. But many restaurants have no vegan food on the menu, or cannot competently tell you which food is vegan. As eating out is part of socializing, this makes socializing harder.

Also, for some people, they may need to maintain a certain dietary restriction for other health reasons, like being allergic to legumes. This would be a pretty significant obstacle.

There ARE some good reasons to have reservations about becoming vegan. But you're absolutely right that most of the reasons that people give (for not being vegan or not being vegetarian) don't really apply.

bazu said...

simply, thank you!

Judy said...

You know, I'm not vegan but I love your blog, recipes, and cookbooks. Most of the blogs that I read are vegan, and a lot of the time, I eat vegetarian or mostly vegan. I eat meat and eggs, but the only dairy that I eat is cheese, and I eat that very occasionally. Otherwise it's soy milk and yogurt, or almond milk, due to dairy allergies.

So as you can see, not all non-vegans are unhealthy, cream sauce guzzling piggies. We can be healthy too :)

Veg-a-Nut said...

Great post! Great photos of yummy food too! I have been vegan now for 5 months and it has not been hard. True I was a veggie before, but Vegan is awesome! It is easy once you put your mind to it and make the change. Shoot, with all the recipes out their in blog land and all the great books, cooking is easy. Thanks dreena, Can't wait for book 3.

Claire said...

Wow, how inspiring! i especially connect with how you say one's palate will change upon going vegan. This has been happening to me especially lately, when I even find my formerly-constant sweet tooth disappearing, and that I'm craving raw vegetables instead of cookies! I've been vegan for a few years now and my food tastes have changed pretty drastically over that time. You are so right, it's not hard to be vegan at all - but I was surprised how much it changed me. And for the better.

VeganCyclist said...

absolutely. I agree 100%. And so what if it IS hard? Life is hard. it's the hard stuff that makes you stronger.

GO Vegan. :)


Twisted Cinderella said...

Very good post. My only adjustment was making sure I bought enough of vegan foods to last me from grocery day to grocery day.

I kept running out of tofu and then felt like resorting to eggs for breakfast. but last time I went to oatmeal instead. It is different but it will become second nature. Grocery shopping is starting to now.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your points about being vegan at home, but I'd still argue it's hard to be vegan socially -- at restaurants and at other people's houses.

Urban Vegan said...

it's so easy and yummy and fabulous to be of the smartest decisions I ever made.

Liliy said...

You are so right. I've heard that a lot. Sometimes I try to convince the "I never could be vegan" people that being vegan is not a form of self torture, but most remain rock-solid on their position.

I was looking at the comments for one of the links in this post and I noticed that somebody had asked for your opinion on their cookbook blog. I too have a cookbook blog and although I'm nowhere near being finished, and I was wondering if you could share your opinion of it with me. Here it is By the way, I do not have recipes posted yet because I have no visitors yet, so don't try to look for some. Thank you!

PS. I've been visiting your blog for awhile, I just haven't posted yet.

Linda said...

A very good post indeed! I'm glad I found you blog! happy to see that you are a writer and published! I would love to read your books as I find vegan food very interesting although its not anything I prctice myself. I was a vegetarian for a few years but then changed. Today I still prefer to eat vegatarian to meat and I'm thinking of changing for good. I'll keep reading your blog for info!

Dreena said...

Hey sis! Well, the book's release date is "fall 2007"... that can mean late Oct or early Nov. I don't envy you having to drive for groceries... esp this time of year for you, ugh. Say 'hi' to the man!

Exactly, Melissa, if you are armed with yummy foods, what reason is there to not be vegan?

Thanks hyphen_helena... I too forget what it was like to start making that switch. That's part of the reason I posted this entry, because I remember having doubts about the diet and not feeling good when I ate heavy meat/dairy foods. Reminding myself helps me to (hopefully) encourage others to make the same move.

Maureen, I admire you for becoming vegan to join the dietary changes required for your son - not all families make those types of changes. Plus, you made the full switch straight away! Kudos to you!! I believe most of our tastes are indeed 'acquired', and just like how we learn to like milk and cheese, our tastebuds learn to be happy wihout it, and even not want it.

Thanks Scottishvegan... yay vegan!

Hi Alexis, wow, I'd be in trouble if I cared about dining out! :) There are no vegan options for us here, we order a pizza about once a month (or less than that). I guess if you dine out a lot, or buy lunch at work rather than pack a lunch, then this would be a consideration for you, but for me it never has been. The odd time I've 'had' to go out to dinner for some social or work dinner, I can at least get a marinara or primavera pasta of some type, or some grilled veg on rice or something. Not saying those meals are even marginally good when a restaurant doesn't cater to vegan guests, but at least I can find *something*. Yes, it requires asking a lot of questions of the server and being specific, though I find if I am quite friendly and even joke with the server saying something like "okay, I'm going to be your 'challenging' order tonight", then they are quite accommodating.

Bazu, you're welcome. (btw, I really like the new blog template you are using, very fresh and bright - I'd like to change my own soon)

Hi Judy, wait a minute, piggies are very intelligent animals! And cute! :) Seriously though, my intention is not to offend anyone with this post. It is to encourage. I hear so much from people about their concerns and hesitations before becoming vegan, and then how entirely happy they are after becoming vegan. I posted this because I realize that sometimes if others hear/read this from someone whose been there, it gives them that little push they might need to give it a try themselves. I became vegan before there were many vegan offerings and substitutions available. My first few years of being vegan were in Newfoundland, about 10 years ago, and it was tricky to find soy milk in the stores. Now, you can buy rice, oat, almond and soy milks, and soy yogurts and veggie burgers and hemp foods and energy bars and frozen burritos and the list goes on and on. With all the information and food choices available now, sometimes that little bitty push is all that is needed to help someone make the move. It's great that you are eating more vegan foods, and maybe you'll find as I (and others) did, that you feel the best eating vegan and keep on that journey. Thanks for your note (and your good words about my blog and books). If I can ever help with questions about my recipes or vegan cooking in general, please e-mail me. :)

Thanks veg-a-nut. You're the perfect example of a new vegan, who after just 5 months is living it and can say that it isn't at all tough. Thank you for that!

Hi Claire, well I bow to you craving raw veg over cookies! Well, even though I love my sweets, I must have lots of veg and raw foods during the day. If I go a day without a big salad or lots of veg, like if I'm traveling, I *am* craving those veg/fruit the next day. All those water-rich foods are replenishing. I'll keep the cookie in the back pocket too though!!

Kari, yes, the components of it that are challenging (like dealing with family) do make us stronger. And sometimes, our examples help to influence other family members. Well, in some cases...!

Twisted Cinderella, glad you mentioned 'second nature'. That's the term I often use to describe our vegan diet. At first, it's new and requires some study/learning of new ingredients and different prep and cooking, but before long, it's all just regular day to day stuff that we do!

Anonymous, the social aspect is probably harder than the actual change in diet for many people. That, too, though gets more comfortable/easier over time, and I have found that as more health messages come across in the media about 'eat more veg', 'eat more beans and whole grains', 'eat more nuts', etc, that people are more inquisitive and interested than they used to be. Now, I don't find I'm defending what I'm doing as much as informing people about it when they ask.

Urban Vegan, you're one smart cookie, after all!

Hi liliy, thanks for commenting, and I'll check out your blog soon... already I'm glad you have a vegan blog to help spread the word!! :)

Hi Linda, I am delighted that you commented with your interest in eating more vegan. Please stick around and comment/e-mail if you want to learn more about vegan cooking and if I can help!! :)

laura jesser said...

I love this post and completely agree with your comments. It is not hard to give up animal-based foods when a whole new world of different, exciting foods opens up! I love your french toast recipe, by the way--I saw your previous posts and it makes me crave a bite right now!

Melody said...

Wonderful points here!

*a* said...

Gee, you know what the hardest part of being Vegan is? There are too many choices! When I was an omni, I would just "grill some chicken". Like every day. How boring. When I was a vegetarian I'd just eat a cheese sandwich or an omlette. Now that I'm Vegan I have so many choices that I never saw before. I've become a much better cook and so much more willing to experiment with foods I've never tried before.

mom2wilmo said...

I am in the process of becoming vegan. I have found that it is hardest eating out so I have allowed myself a little leeway there. But for the most part it has been a pretty easy transition. My family and I are eating more home cooked meals which is great and we are exploring different tastes. It has been fun trying new things! Thanks Dreena for your recipies! Oh and I lost five pounds! Yippee!

Anonymous said...

It' not hard being a vegan? Oh, please... I would say that it takes a pretty self confident person to be that single awkward person when your workmates go out for lunch.

And what if your not interested in cooking? Choosing to be a vegan seems to require it.

That's not to say that I think it's right treating animals as property. I realize the moral conflict.

Do you know that your clothes where not made by child slave laborers? It's easy to avoid just...

When you make that vacation trip, go out for a drink, buy something for your home - you know that you could have spent those money on giving someone in the third world clean drinking water? Or by supporting Amnesty International, stopped torture?

If you're fat it's just to eat less and exercise - it's easy!

It's easier now to be a vegan than 20 years a go, though...

Dreena said...

Thanks Laura and Melody.

Aimee, when I became vegetarian and vegan that's when I started to experiment with cooking as well. I wouldn't know how to cook a turkey (and thank goodness for that)! :)

Mom2wilmo, congrats on the steps you've taken (and on the 5 lbs). My move to vegan eating was also gradual, and so I understand taking that a step at a time. If eating at restaurants is the last threshold for you, that's a small one, so kudos to you... and, before long dining out will be more second nature for you too. Great stuff!

Anonymous, it takes confidence to stick to your values and live by them. If it's important to you to eat healthy, then you'll do so. If it's important to you that animals are not abused and suffering, then you'll choose not to eat them. Once you are eating vegan, yes, it is easy to eat this diet. Sure you need to cook. But what are you going to eat if you don't cook???!! Are you ordering from take outs and eating out of boxes and bags? Even if you aren't vegan you should be cooking most days - just to eat more whole foods that aren't processed. Not that you can't rely on some vegan convenience foods. You can... and that's another reason why eating vegan is easier than it has ever been. We have choices in our stores for frozen entrees and prepared foods. But, we still should be cooking for ourselves to eat vegetables and grains and fresher foods. And we all make choices to give and do better in other ways. Nowhere in my post did I say that eating vegan means you are ending child labor or ending starvation. Why hold that perspective anyhow? If you "can't solve everything, don't bother trying to solve anything"?? What will that help? No, you're not going to solve world hunger by eating vegan. But, you might save your own health, and a few hundred animals while you're at it. And, it might bring you to a new understanding of food and compassion that you learn about other ways you can help to give to others. Like giving to charities or other causes that are become as part of your values.

Twisted Cinderella said...

Dreena, I have to say, I agree with your comments to Anonymous. Your response was well-written and well thought out.

Michelle.D said...

pgkoWell said Dreena. I have a real issue with the all too common attitude of finding ways vegans (or environmentalists, etc... ) are failing. No, we're not perfect. I'm not completely vegan. But I know by eating more and more meals that are vegan I am improving my own life, as well as the lives of other people and animals. You introduce one change at a time and feel good about it, then you feel motivated to make another change. I think so many naysayers are just looking for excuses so they can feel okay about not making changes.

thanks for your encouragement and advocacy Dreena!

Cherie said...

I agree that being vegan is easy, as long as your heart is set to not intentionally harm animals.

Linda said...

im in love with this post. nuff said.

linda, said...

Is IS hard being a vegan, as a student and photographer. I need the film and the books to get by my education and work, what can I do about that?