Opinions, everyone has one. Everyone has one, and theirs is right, am I right!? But when it comes to diets and food preferences, those opinions seem really, `extra`. Extra strong, extra expert, extra judgy, extra annoying, hold the bacon, add extra organic lettuce, GMO free pickles, with some sass on the side, kind of EXTRA. Honestly, I am right there shouting from the rooftops about my opinions on the benefits of a whole, clean, plant based diet. But there are a lot of people who have tried it, and make claims about why it didn’t stick. Why it didn’t work. Why in their opinion, it's seemingly impossible to maintain. Why it became extra hard, and going back to eating animal products, just seemed extra easy.
Let me start by saying I do understand that for some it may be a diet and life style they truly cannot maintain. They may have disorders or situations that prevent them from staying healthy on a plant based diet. I don’t know everyone’s situation, and I will not pass judgement on those that simply, for personal health reasons, can not thrive on a plant based diet.
That being said, this blog post is for the rest of the population, in an effort to offer some insight, and encouragement if you are choosing this path, or have tried and for whatever reason, deviated, or if you have formed opinions about plant based eating that may not actually be true. I will take some of the comments and opinions I have heard and try to shed a more positive, and alternative light on them. But at the end of the day, we fiercely guard our opinions and maybe we can’t always be swayed. But y’all, I gotta at least try!
COMPLAINT #1: IT'S INCONVENIENT
It is inconvenient, well, as much so as you make it. Fast, “convenient" food is rarely the most healthy choice, no matter your diet. Packing a lunch is normally more healthy and economically responsible, even if you are not plant based. There are a ton of plant based sandwich meats and cheese substitutes available at the grocery store now. I know if you are in a hurry and forget to pack a lunch you may argue that it is too hard to find a plant based lunch or snack on the go. I know it's easier to hand your kids lunch money than it is to shop for, and make their lunches everyday. But if you are concerned for your families health, the environment, and the fair treatment of animals, then isn’t that little bit of effort worth it? If you forget to pack your lunch, there are options. Fast food salads minus the meat and diary. A banana, apple, or bar from a gas station. I’m just saying, I live it, and I haven’t starved to death on any occasion when forgetting to bring some food with me. I have learned to keep snacks in my car, or in my bag like a box of protein bars, some crackers, or fruit. I have ran into a grocery store while out and grabbed an inexpensive pre-made salad and juice from the produce section, in a pinch. Just because the world doesn’t seem to cater to your dietary needs, doesn’t mean there is not a quick, inexpensvie, plant based solution solution, in most situations.
I also often hear people complain that it became too hard to maintain their social life. Like I have said before, food is cultural glue, so naturally it will be frustrating at first when you go out and realize you can’t seem to find anything to eat at the restaurant your friends or family choose. But it’s not that hard to google the menu and see what options you may have before hand. I will simply eat something before I go out, and order a salad or a veggie side if that is all that is available for me. Because here is the thing, at the end of the day I am going out to meet my friends or family, and to enjoy their company, and to be social. I want those experiences far more than I want a restaurant catering to my chosen dietary restrictions. You can always throw out some suggestions that might have more options for you, as well. Like pizza for example. Just get the pizza minus cheese. A lot of pizza places even offer a dairy free option now. Mexican, because rice, beans, gauc, and veggie fajitas. Indian, Thai, and Korean have a lot of plant based options. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions and if your suggestion is shot down, eat a peanut butter and jelly on your way out the door and enjoy just being with your people. You can always suggest just meeting for coffee or drinks.
Here's the thing, y'all. You decide in your life what you want to dwell on, complain about, get up in arms over. No matter the diet you choose, you are going to find limitations here and there. Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, atkins, keto, breatharian (yeah, that's really a thing,) whatever. You decide how, when, and what you eat. Life isn’t always convenient. So you make the decision to plan a little more, but to also become a little more flexible. If you choose to change your diet because you don’t like it anymore, because you miss meat, dairy, and eggs, then that’s your choice, plain and simple. Only you can do the research and decide for yourself what is important regarding your health, the impact you make on the planet, and the animals that share it with you. But know this, in 2018, there are more convenient options than there ever have been for a plant based diet. So if you choose to jump off the wagon, just remember it was full to the brim with options, but there is always another wagon for you to hop on around the corner, going a different direction.
TO BE CONTINUED...