Allow me to preface this rant by saying that I most certainly am not a vegan.
While I do consume a plant-based diet 97.3% of the time, I eat good ol' eggs, fish, cookies, pie, pizza, salted chocolate ice cream, and other sorts of delicacies that aren't local and organic and pure and perfect when I feel like it. WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT!
I've learned the hard way that putting a label on it means subjecting yourself to a constant onslaught of annoying, ridiculous, and unwarranted accusations and judgements. There will always be someone who doesn't support your choices, even though your choices are just that--- your choices. There will always be someone questioning something you don't have an answer for and answering a question you didn't ask.
If you're a BNV (brand new vegan), perhaps you've made the grave mistake of eating tofu scramble or tempeh sausage or some other blatantly vegan food whilst sporting a leather handbag. Did you get 38 hate emails about the animals that died for that dreamy lavender accessory? I bet you did. You terrible vegan, you. I mean when did it become legal to eat what you want to eat and wear what you want to wear!
Or maybe you've been a veg for oh I don't know, let's say 23 days, and you committed the ultimate vegan crime. You indulged in a few scoops of Jeni's ice cream, put it on Instagram, (I honestly can't even), turned your notifications off (what a wise, wise decision), then came home to a slew of comments from the angriest of vegans shunning you from the community because dairy touched your lips and you're now a liar and a cheater and the worst vegan ever and you should most definitely rot in meat and dairy hell.
I may order pizza without cheese or sub avocado for bacon but never will I ever subject myself to the scrutiny encompassing calling myself a vegan. I will never explain to someone why I'm eating salmon or sauerkraut or sour cream or fairy dust or pickled porcupine when they "thought I was vegan." I don't owe a reader or a friend or God or a bunny rabbit any sort of explanation for what I choose to eat. I will promote a diet full of fruits and veggies and beans and legumes and whole grains till the cows come home, but if I decide to eat said cow, that's my prerogative!
1. Where do you get your iron/protein/calcium/
Asking a vegan where they get their protein is kind of like asking a Jewish person if they celebrate Thanksgiving. It's just plain ignorant. I would need two hands to count the number of times I've been asked both those questions.
I get my protein from beans, lentils, tofu, edamame, tempeh, whole grains, nuts, seeds, nooch, occasionally eggs and fish, and plant-based protein powder like Skoop and Vega. As a dietitian, I'm of course very conscious of eating a well-rounded diet to ensure I get my nutrients. If your diet consists of pasta with vegan butter and Oreo's, that's another story. I get my iron from lentils, beans, greens, nuts, oats, quinoa, dried fruit. I get my calcium from leafy greens, nuts, tofu, tempeh, broccoli, and almond milk. I have blood work done yearly. I've never been low or deficient in protein, iron, or calcium in the six years I've followed a plant-based diet. (The dietitian in me feels obligated to tell you that I do take B12 and vitamin D several times a week, AKA when I remember). Oh and I get my willpower from grass-fed yogurt.
I could point you to countless articles singing the praises of plant-based diets for longevity. I can't say the same for people dying of deficiencies from eating less meat and dairy.
2. How do you deal with the social pressure?
Social pressure to what, exactly? To conform? To cave and just eat meat and cheese? Aren't there more important things to talk about? Aren't there more FUN things to talk about?!
If you're hanging around people who pressure you to do ANYTHING, whether its eating Colby jack or bologna or bananas or shards of glass, then those aren't your friends. Don't surround yourself with negativity. I would find no joy in judging you for eating a steak, so don't embarrass me for not eating one. Anyone that feels it necessary to waste their time belittling you for your food choices is either a) a moron b) jealous of c) a and b.
3. How do you get enough calories?
But honestly, how can you pack in the cals when the only things your allowed to eat are like kale and chickpeas?
HA. Ask anyone that spends a lot of time with me...I eat more than most people I know! I remember when I thought vegan meant eating only fruits and vegetables. If you still think that's true, hop on any plant-based blog and get cooking. Coconut whipped cream, cashew cheese, and cauliflower Alfredo are about to change yo' life.
4. How do you live without cheeseburgers?
Cheeseburgers are like men. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. Kidding! I can think of about a trillion foods I couldn't live without that trump cheeseburgers, like garlicky hummus, dark chocolate, curried chickpea salad, sweet potato fries, guacamole, strawberries, peanut butter, and pancakes. Cheeseburgers....meh.
Thank god for veggie burgers. With extra avocado!
5. How do you eat out?
I eat out multiple times a week. It's not hard. It's actually pretty easy. Talk to your waiter. They want to help you eat what you want to eat! I recently went to a blogger media event at freaking City Barbecue and feasted on more plant-friendly food than my belly could handle. There's so much more to restaurant menus (and to life) than meat and cheese when you dig around a little!
Whew! Glad I got that off my chest. END RANT!