It’s no secret: veganism can be a tough lifestyle to stick to. Recently I have been suffering from a lot of desire for things that I shouldn’t have: going out to pizza with the roommates and having to opt for a cheeseless version as they enjoy their gooey, cheesy pies; walking into our apartment with the smell of fresh-baked, non-vegan cookies thick in the air; wishing for a veggie and egg scramble topped with cheddar on buttered toast instead of my normal oatmeal or brown rice cereal. Let’s face it, non-vegan food is freakin delicious! And sometimes I do give in as I snag a fresh baked cookie off the cooling rack, but I have to remind myself that it is just a little bump in the road.
To cure myself of this bumpy road of vegan depression, I turned to my new vegan bible, The Plantpower Way, hoping they would have a section that would give me a little hope for my future. And they did! First, they have a great section on the protein dilemma that everyone seems to drill vegans with. Where do we get our protein? I have to say I started having my own doubts, thinking that I should perhaps reinstate eggs into my diet so I can get higher levels of protein. But really, there are so many extremely fit people, even international athletes, who eat a plant-based diet with no protein deficiencies. In the book, they claim that only about 10% of your daily calories should be protein to maintain a healthy body, which is pretty easy to accomplish without even focusing on your protein intake. Of course, eating a variety of grains, beans, nuts, veggies, and fruits is the key to maintaining balance, but the point is that protein isn’t really that big of a deal.
Second, one of the authors wrote a great section on how the transition to veganism is really tough, but we need to switch our perception of veganism from one of deprivation to thinking of all of the great culinary opportunities the plant-based diet provides. It is so easy, as I have done myself many a time, to think of all of the things I can’t have: no ice cream, no scrambled eggs, no gourmet cheeses. But it is time to focus on all of the things I get to have: coconut cream ice cream, tofu scrambles and superfood vegan pancakes for breakfast, gourmet nut cheeses that I never would have tried if I still was eating regular parmesan. I am opening doors to a new world of wonderful, nourishing foods that will support my body and help me to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
So yeah, this journey hasn’t been easy. But I guess no journey that is actually worthwhile is ever easy. And I still feel very passionately that it is my duty, as an individual who enjoys so many things that our beautiful planet has to offer, to help protect and conserve the health of our only home.