For many, the change to a Vegan diet can seem like a daunting prospect. So daunting in fact that any notion to try the diet is often dismissed as quickly as it enters the mind.
For others, the thought might slowly manifest but not be actioned upon for various reasons. Common trepidations range from the fear of giving up a favourite chocolate bar to more serious concerns about protein intake, Vitamin B12 deficiencies or the judgement of others when you inform them you are going Vegan. All concerns are entirely understandable, as with any big lifestyle change switching to Veganism has potential to be uncomfortable, scary, filled with doubt but hopefully in the long term rewarding and fulfilling.
Ultimately, for any lasting change to occur the desire to change must be greater than the desire to stay the same. For those who have a desire to change but are held back by a potentially unfounded limiting belief we wanted to use both our experience and knowledge to address some of the main misconceptions about the Vegan diet.
One thing that we must make clear is that musclemary is for everyone. We do not insist or even actively try to persuade our clients to become Vegan or plant based. We have made our choice to follow a path, but we respect that everyone has the right to make their own decision. We just encourage everyone to make as informed a decision as possible and hope that by addressing the below ten topics we can assist anyone being held back by false assumptions. As always if you have any doubts about your personal circumstances please seek medical advice.
1: Vegans Struggle for protein:
There is no reason that a Vegan diet should be deficient in protein. There are numerous plant-based sources which are high in protein and can provide a thorough intake of all essential and non-essential amino acids the body requires. For example, chickpeas, seitan, tempeh, tofu, lentils, edamame, quinoa and hemp seeds are all excellent sources of plant-based protein. Due to their unique makeup it makes sense to combine a wide range of different protein sources to reap the maximum health benefits.
In addition, for ease and to gain a quick intake of protein a supplement can be taken. Supplementation can give that final boost towards hitting a protein target or offer an effective alternative post exercise or early in the morning when some individuals struggle to digest wholefoods. We would obviously recommend musclemary NotJustProtein as we know the quality of the protein contained, with the mix of pea and hemp giving a strong amino acid coverage.
While it is true that if you are changing to a full Vegan diet there will be foods that will need to be taken out of your existing diet. This will potentially feel uncomfortable at first and it is entirely expected that you will have cravings for foods that you previously ate. Breaking the habits of a lifetime is not straightforward.
However, the rise of Veganism has brought about a rise in Vegan options. Most common foods now have Vegan alternatives which are available in mainstream supermarkets and usually taste as good if not better than their animal equivalent.
Many individuals even report that because they are forced to think about their food choices in greater depth they consequently discover a love of cooking and realise a whole new world of amazing taste sensations.
Furthermore, a quick internet search will provide a host of amazing Vegan recipes for anything from Vegan burgers to Vegan chocolate cake. Check out our recipe section for a few inspiring recipes.
3: I worry about B12 deficiency:
This is a legitimate concern with Vitamin B12 only being obtained through animal food sources and not available in plants. However, it is possible to easily reach a recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12 by supplementation. It is for this reason we added this crucial Vitamin to our NotJustProtein mix. To learn about Vitamin B12 and the benefits check out our blog….
4: I worry about people's negative reaction:
Veganism has long been plagued by negative stereotypes and been the source of countless jokes. It is therefore understandable why people would be concerned about potentially being judged or being labelled in a certain way because of one part of their identity. However, most people’s assumptions come from a lack of knowledge about Veganism and are generally made on unfounded beliefs or fear. We would always approach these reactions from a place of kindness and accept that although people may disagree with your choices you have made them as you believe in them.
The good news is that as Veganism moves firmly into the mainstream attitudes towards Veganism are changing significantly. Stereotypes are slowly changing so fear of negative judgment should hopefully not be a concern for much longer.
5: I worry it will be expensive:
Veganism should not be expensive. Yes, some synthetic versions of animal products can be more expensive than their equivalent, but this is not true for all products. Using wholefoods such as fruit, vegetables, beans, and legumes should provide excellent value for money. There are several strategies such as batch cooking, buying in bulk and using similar ingredients across meals that you can implement to keep the cost down.
6: I worry about stomach issues:
Moving to a Vegan diet can potentially cause some stomach issues. This is invariably due to the increase of fibre in the diet as most plant-based wholefoods have a high fibre content. As a result, the digestion process can be a challenge for the body. It is advised to not to significantly increase your fibre intake at the start to mitigate against this.
However, as your body gets used to the change it will adapt and any discomfort should subside. Like any health issue is this becomes a significant issue medical advice should be sought.
7: I play sport and am worried I won't be able to compete at the same level:
This should not be a concern, as all macro and micronutrients (with the exception of Vitaminb12) can be obtained from following a well-planned Vegan diet. In addition, any deficiency can generally be supported with an appropriate supplement. Similarly, to when following an omnivore diet, the most important thing is that any nutritional plan is structured correctly to maximise performance.
Indeed, many top-level athletes including Lewis Hamilton, Venus Williams, Colin Kapernick, Jermaine Defoe and Tia Blanco all compete in different sports report performance improvements from moving to a Vegan diet.
8: I worry about having dinner at a friend's house:
t is very understandable to have a concern about causing offence if someone has made an effort to supply you with a meal which contains an animal product. It may be appropriate to advise the host prior to attending that you have made a choice to become Vegan and potentially offer to bring appropriate food to not cause trouble.
If a host does not accept your choice to move to a Vegan diet, we would suggest that they have not respected your basic human right to choose a diet in line with your personal belief. I would suggest this is a problem within them, not you. Moving to a Vegan diet is not something you should be made to feel guilty about.
9: I don't know any other vegans:
If you feel like you are struggling to stay motivated or slightly isolated if you are the only Vegan in a friend group or family there are a number of groups or forums that you can join to speak with like minded individuals. A host of online communities are available which cover a range of topics specifically targeted to Vegans such as cooking, lifestyle, bodybuilding and travel. In addition, most major cities will now have specific Vegan events that are great places to meet like minded individuals and expand networks.
10: I worry that I could not stick to it:
The only way of finding out is if you try. Do not put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. Changing habits is a long and very rarely smooth transition and should not be seen as all or nothing.
It is inevitable that when you first try to go Vegan that you will consume an animal product either out of habit or lack of knowledge that the product was Vegan. This does not mean you failed, just something to reflect on and if you need to change accordingly.
We hope that this will potentially have helped individuals who are faced with some of the aforementioned issues. The most important thing for us is to enjoy the journey and do what you feel is right for you.
As always if you have any questions about our products or our content, we would love to hear from you.