Being vegan never felt limiting to me. Is it hard? No, it’s not. But what about eating out? It’s not hard. What about traveling and finding vegan food? Not hard. The hardest part about being vegan doesn’t have to do with the food, the travel, or getting enough nutrients. The hardest part about being vegan is wondering why everyone else hasn’t gone vegan.
I visited my sister this summer in Colorado. My niece has an adorable one year old baby named Isaac. I watched as they fed him scrambled eggs the color of sunflowers and lamented that he didn’t want seem to want to drink the three glasses of milk a day that his pediatrician recommended. Yep, three glasses of milk a day.
I picked up my water glass and chose to say nothing. I didn’t recommend my niece read Dr Neal Barnard’s new and amazing book about the addictive nature of cheese and milk. I didn’t recommend she get a new pediatrician. I didn’t mention that milk is the perfect food for a baby cow, but not a human baby. I didn’t freak out. Nonetheless, I wanted to.
You see, these situations are what makes being vegan hard. It’s not the struggle of finding something to order off the menu at a steak house. It’s not being asked why you’re vegan at a table of 15 at Thanksgiving. It’s not that I have to worry about getting enough protein (no, not that one again) or calcium. It’s that, for god’s sake people, why are vegans still such a small percentage of the population?
Don’t you people get it? Haven’t we known for at least 30 years that a vegan diet has all the nutrients necessary for good health? Wasn’t it even the American Dietetic Association that said it, way back in 1987? It wasn’t some fringe group of vegan hippies. It was the ADA.
Even if you don’t know seemingly endless benefits of a vegan diet, how in the hell don’t you know how bad for you the standard american diet is, with it’s focus on animal products high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and pus?
I forgive you for not knowing much about being vegan. I get it. You’re busy. You have time constraints and don’t have the 90 minutes to watch the excellent What The Health documentary streaming for free on Netflix or read something life-changing like The China Study. I get it.
But how do you not know that 3 glasses of milk a day is far more likely to make you obese than it ever is to provide nutrients you can get just as easily from plants? How do you not know that you greatly increase your risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity when you eat meat and dairy at every single meal?
Listen, I know that being vegan makes me a bit of an outlier. I get that not everyone thinks about or obsesses over health that way that I do. But it’s still shocking how little the average person knows about the effect food has on their health and well-being.
That is what makes being vegan hard.
But also…read a book, watch a documentary, study nutrition, question everything.