After a long hiatus, you are reading part 2 of the series I started on my transition to a plant-based diet! Brief refresher: the first part of the series covered why I transitioned, and now I’m going to answer another common question I get- was it hard?
In terms of being expensive or accessible- most people have this misconception that all of a sudden, I could only shop at Whole Foods and eat at exclusively vegan restaurants-- not the case. After deciding to go plant-based, my mom continued to joke that I was “made in Kroger,” because of my frequent trips to scope out “10 for $10 deals” on Larabars and Silk yogurt. Plus, despite that people are soooo sleep on Atlanta’s vegan restaurant scene, I could definitely still find things to eat at my favorite “omni” restaurants like Desta’s or Thai Restaurant of Norcross.
It also helped that one of my greatest friends, Rahkeen, had been vegan for years. He went out of his way to bring me different treats and cooking essentials like coconut oil, vegan kimchi, and goji berries.
I actually began cooking and baking more than ever- and found a love for it. My pseudo-sister Nhi watched Cowspiracy with me, so we began the plant-based transition together- using some of Rahkeen’s gifts to whip up vegan deliciousness. Whether on my own, with Nhi, Rahkeen, or my actual sister Nancy- we chef’d up meat & dairy-free versions mushroom Alfredo, cheesecakes, key lime pies, cornbread, stir-fries, Mac n cheese, lasagna, cinnamon rolls, lotsa stews and chilis, and my pretty popular banana bread.
I will admit though, being plant-based was and still is a test of patience and conviction for me.
These are some of the things I hear most often and the responses I have (in my head…when I’m feeling sassy).
Plant Based Pet Peeves
- "There’s no way you can survive like that!”
- So... I guess we’re going to ignore the lives of people and entire cultures that never have/will choose to eat meat.
- "You can’t eat anything!”
- Given that I have no allergies, I can eat about anything anyone else can- I just don’t want to eat meat.
- "I can’t eat that; it’s vegetarian."
- Plant-based diets are just about as inclusive as it gets.
- "Man I couldn’t do it."
- Most people just don't want to do it. Very few people who've said this to me have actually tried or got a doctor's note saying they're protein deficient.
The hardest part was probably family outings, or even at home. It wasn’t hard to turn down the food itself. However, the frequent guilt-trips with people insisting that I eat meat to be part of the family- despite knowing that I’ve made a decision that makes me happy, was unpleasant.
This definitely gets better with time, as my momma eventually started whipping up animal-free goodness like this veggie stir-fry.
All in all, I’ve found that a plant-based diet is typically cheaper than an omnivorous one and I can still enjoy several options eating out. On top of that, I have and incredible support system, and try to stay aware of my nutritional needs. At this rate, I’m happy and don’t see myself reverting back from being plant-based.