A vegan diet and lifestyle is becoming more and more common every day. However, for someone wanting to change their life and become vegan, it can be confusing and a little scary. As with anything you take on in life, it is best to know the facts. A little research goes a long way. A lot of research goes even longer. What follows is insight into 10 common questions asked by new vegans or those thinking about making the change.
Will I still be able to compete in sports?
Absolutely. Following a proper vegan diet will provide you with all the energy and nutrition you need to live a very active lifestyle. In fact, without all the negative components of meat products flowing through your organs and veins, you will most likely find that your physical performance and recovery time will improve considerably.
How will I get enough calcium?
Contrary to popular belief, calcium is not only available in dairy products. Calcium is available in small amounts in most vegetables. It is found in greater quantities in leafy greens such as spinach and swiss chard. It is also abundant in nuts such as almonds, cashews and hazelnuts.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of meal options. Do I have to eat a plate of lettuce for every meal?
On the biggest misconceptions of veganism is having to eat ‘rabbit food’ for every meal. Fruits and vegetables are available in seemingly infinite varieties. You can bake, roast, fry, boil, stew and barbeque your vegan food as well as eating raw. Recipes are found in every corner of the internet and are just waiting for you to try.
What essential nutrients do not come from plants?
Vitamin B12 is the only essential nutrient that does not come from plants. Any daily vitamin contains more than enough B12 to get you by. Soy milk and veggie patties are usually fortified with B12, as well.
Will I have to take a ton of supplements?
No. You will actually be getting much more of the essential vitamins and minerals the body needs now that you rely on fruits and vegetables for your nutrition and fuel. Because of vitamin B12, you should take a daily vitamin, but that’s all you need.
Will my skin turn pale, my gums recede and my hair fall out?
Eat a balanced diet and this will never happen. No matter if you are a carnivore or herbivore, you should educate yourself on the nutrients necessary for the body to function optimally.
How will people close to me react to my decision?
Those around you will think you’ve made a decision that will fall apart in a few weeks if not a few days. Once they realize that you are sticking to veganism, they will be convinced that you are starving yourself to death. After several months, they will come to realize that you aren’t dying and are in fact thriving. At this point their reaction will change to curiosity, admiration and a little envy. They’ll still think you’re weird, though!
What do I do when I go out for dinner to a restaurant?
Do your research. Most restaurants have on-line menus and you can check out what’s available before you go. If you’re with a group of people and are not sure where or when you’ll be stopping at a restaurant for dinner, fill up early on a hearty meal (beans come to mind) and take snacks with you. A bag of mixed nuts stuck in a jacket pocket is a great idea. If at the restaurant, there is nothing on the menu that suits your diet, ask the waiter or waitress and they most likely can provide you with an alternative that is not on the menu.
Are alcoholic beverages vegan?
For the most part, yes. However, some beers and wines use a clearing agent that is extracted from the organs of dead animals. Check out Barnivore.com for an extensive on-line guide to what is and what is not a vegan beer or wine choice.
Will I lose weight on a vegan diet?
9 times out of 10 you will lose weight when you start a vegan diet. Most likely a fairly rapid loss of 5-15 pounds is in store. This is the detoxing effect as all that undigested meat that has been sitting in your innards is finally flushed out and not replaced. What you will definitely find is that weight loss will be just as hard as before once you’ve been vegan for awhile but weight maintenance will be quite easy.