Every now and then, my diet comes up in conversation, mainly because I’m usually socializing while eating, which is common enough, I guess. Often I’m telling a server in a restaurant, so they know. The servers are my best defense against a meat-filled menu, offering advice on what they can put together for me with off-menu suggestions. I always appreciate their extra service, because I know they’re busy and under appreciated at times.
If I say I’m vegan, I’ll often get these responses:
- Where do you get your protein?
- But you eat fish, don’t you?
- You’re a little nuts, aren’t you?
The consensus among most people is that “they could never do that.”
Every now and then, though, someone expresses an interest in “going vegan,” but they need a starting point. I understand this, because it’s difficult to conceive new habits after a lifetime of meat and cheese eating.
I have a few suggestions just to kickstart anyone who might want to give a vegan diet a try.
First, a couple “don’ts.”
Don’t worry about protein. Plants contain protein too! If you consume a variety of plant foods in sufficient quantities and calories for your weight, you’ll automatically get enough protein. Arm yourself with information, because other people will ask you where you get your protein surprisingly often.
Likewise, don’t worry about calcium and bone health. Plants contain calcium. More importantly, plants do not contain animal protein, which is the real harm in bone health. Read about plants and bone health here.
And a “do.”
Do think about vitamin B12, because it’s the only nutrient deficient in a purely vegan diet. Most people in our population, meat eaters or not, are deficient in vitamin B12, so get yourself a high-quality B12 or B Complex vitamin. Read about B12 here.
Go to the bookstore and browse cookbooks.
Look for a book with interesting pictures and recipes that suit your lifestyle.
Do you want a mix of recipes suitable for both weeknight family meals and entertaining?
Try The Vegan Table, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreaux
Do you want easier recipes for after-work cooking?
Do you want a comprehensive vegan overview and detailed recipes and how-to’s?
Try Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero
I only scratched the surface here. Support your local bookstore. Go take a look!
2. Browse Food Sharing sites and look at pictures of vegan food.
This is easy! Go to the food sharing sites, and click pictures that look yummy for complete recipes. Here are a just a few sites to try: