Sharing that you’re a vegan with friends, family, and acquaintances can sometimes lead to interesting and educational dialogues. Other times, it results in the same questions you’ve been getting since you first made the switch and have been rolling your eyes at for weeks, months, or maybe even years by now. Most of the time, questions come from ignorance about a plant-based diet, others from a genuine intrigue, and some are possibly looking for advice from someone who has already taken the leap. Here you’ll find some helpful answers to the questions and tips to share with others to further not only their knowledge, but yours as well!
Be sure to share your in-depth knowledge about these topics with your friends so they can learn more! Don’t forget to leave a comment below with some of the more ridiculous questions you’ve gotten and some helpful answers that have helped in these situations.
1. Are you always hungry?
…not. The beautiful thing about a vegan diet is that most foods have a low fat content and are fairly easy to prepare. If one bowl of grilled veggies wasn’t enough for your long day, have another! As long as you’re not overdoing it with the carbohydrates, sauces, or salt, there is no reason to skip out. I find that I am eating more lower calorie foods, while maintaining a healthy body weight and am hungry less often.
2. Are you on a diet?
No way! Diets are often fads that contradict the previous one. Eating a plant-based diet is a lifestyle choice based on many diverse reasons that differ from person to person. If the person asking this question is curious about your reasons, be sure to answer them in a way that does not shame their current choices, but instead, offers them some insight into your decision and gives them a good jumping off point if they choose to give it a go.
3. Is it difficult?
With the resources available today through the magic of the Internet, finding new foods, recipes, and even restaurants in your area has never been easier. A good way to debunk this question is to invite that friend over for a meal and whip it up together! Fun new experiences and eating a healthy lunch all in one afternoon is a great way to bond and share more information about plant-based cuisine.
4. Are you trying to be cool?
Plant-based diets are nothing new. In fact, according to Colin Spencer, author of The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism, it has been recorded as early as the fifth century BCE in ancient Greece and India. Plant-based eating may be on the rise now, but it is not some new trend that will soon fade like other fads such as the South Beach Diet or Atkins. Speaking of Atkins…
5. What about protein?
How many times have I had to answer this question? Protein can be found in many plants that we already consume. It is an ongoing debate about how much is recommended to intake daily, however the numbers seem to hover around 46 – 56 grams. This macronutrient is not only found in meat but in many recipes. It can also be found in most whole foods including soy-based products, beans, nuts, seeds, cauliflower, broccoli, quinoa, and spinach. Hey, Popeye was pretty buff.
6. What do you eat?
Everything! A vegan kitchen is a colorful one. My plate now looks more like art than a lump in the middle of a plate. My morning cereal is spotted with strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. My lunch has an array of greens, oranges, and reds. Dinner is a mix of just about everything. There is no shortage of delicious recipes to put to excellent use. Take some time sifting through these tasty ideas and find what looks good!
7. How do you live without cheese?
I notice a lot of people say, “I couldn’t live without cheese!” And to be fair, I was once the same. Why is it that we think we can’t live without it? What is this addiction all about? Yes, I’ll admit cheese is tasty, but so are a lot of other things. Including the vegan versions of cheese you can find in the market or make at home. We even have vegan mac and cheese for goodness sakes!
8. How do you get your calcium?
Apparently another myth that needs debunking is the idea that calcium only comes from dairy products. There are a lot of plant-based foods that contain a TON of calcium. These include broccoli, sprouts, squash, collards, kale, sweet potatoes, soybeans, black turtle beans, soymilk, rice milk, orange juice, and figs. The list goes on, but these are among the highest concentration of calcium per cup according to the USDA.
9. Can you eat dessert?
Ohhhh, you bet. Baking with vegan recipes takes a bit of time to get used to, especially if you’re an avid baker and are used to tossing a cup of butter into the mix. Things will be a bit different now, but you’d be surprised how much better these desserts are. After a giant piece of cake, you don’t feel the need to faceplant into the couch to hide the guilt then wake up at the crack of dawn to get yourself to the gym to work it off. Vegan desserts, while tasty, also tend to be lower in calories. They are also a good way to get some extra fruit into your diet if you use dates as a base.
10. But WHY?!?
Look, everyone has their own reasons for going plant-based. Whether you’re vegetarian, ovo-, lacto-, vegan, etc., if someone asks you why, it means they are genuinely interested in what compelled you to make the choice. Consider sharing it with them in a light way and offering some insight into your decision making process. Back it up with information and positive facts about your lifestyle. Chances are, by the end of the dialogue, it’s something they’ll think about trying.
Lead image source: Kevin Lawver / Flickr