If you love animals, care deeply about their welfare, and you’re not already vegan, you probably, at some point, have given some consideration to supporting the greater cause of advocating for animals and no longer consuming products from their bodies. There are many benefits to veganism– the major ones being saving the lives of animals, no longer supporting companies who exploit and abuse animals, giving yourself the gift of knowing you’re giving back, as well as providing yourself a healthy diet simultaneously. Yet, despite the benefits of being vegan, some are still hesitant to make the commitment. There are big misconceptions that veganism requires a massive life shift, a compromise regarding food preferences/taste, and an inconvenience regarding grocery shopping or ordering in a restaurant. None of these assumptions are accurate. In fact, now, it is easier than ever to be vegan. One might even call it close to effortless. Reading nutrition labels is a regular, pro-active part of being vegan, but, most likely, this will not be a change from your current habit; many non-vegans already read food labels as part of staying on top of what is going into one’s body. As a vegan, it is important to read labels to ensure that egg or the rogue dairy product didn’t squeak by and might be included in the ingredients.

Will it be difficult to find vegan food? Absolutely not. Even five years ago, vegans often had to shop at specialty stores such as Whole Foods in order to readily find foods without animal products as part of the ingredients. No longer. Now, vegan foods are a staple in just about every grocery store chain as companies are realizing just how commonplace veganism has become. Whether it be tofu, canned goods, or an abundance of dairy-free, egg-free items, it is easy to walk into any grocery store and find these, and many other, vegan groceries. There are even meat-type products that taste like animal meat and model its consistency as well. These are also easy to find in most stores. Shopping vegan has become as convenient as conventional shopping.

Will I need to give up cheese? It’s my favorite food! A resounding no! There are dozens of non-dairy cheese substitutes that come in the same varieties as dairy cheese. Amongst the vegan cheeses are parmesan, jack, cheddar, and many others. But what about when I go to a restaurant? Won’t that be limiting? Most menus now have vegan options. In addition, with the increase of vegans every year, restaurants think nothing of the request to “Please substitute xxx for the cream sauce” or “Please leave off the cheese/sour cream/mayonnaise”. And it’s all about outlook. Rather than looking at it as missing out on an ingredient, take it as an opportunity to experiment and explore different types of food options. Instead of mayonnaise, replace it with hummus. Or in place of the cheese on a sandwich or veggie burger, add avocado. You’re not depleting your food options, you are substituting.

Don’t I need calcium that I would otherwise be getting from milk products? And what about protein? There are lots of vegan foods which are loaded with calcium. Almond milk, for example, has 50% more calcium per serving than actual dairy milk. Soy beans (edamame) and broccoli also contain high calcium content. As for protein, just a few of many delicious vegan foods containing this necessary compound are: oatmeal, lentils, tofu, beans, quinoa, artichokes, nuts, spinach, broccoli, and asparagus. Most are versatile items as they can be used with all types of sauces and recipes. Above all else, remember why you are making the decision to be vegan in the first place. If your intent is to do good in the world and do your part in treating animals as equals, the logistics of the food aspect will fall into place and become second nature.

Lets Do This !