Going vegan itself seems easy enough right? Well not exactly, even for previously vegetarian persons becoming a vegan takes it to a whole new level of devotion. Although your motives are of the best intent, society has laid out a hard road for this alternative dietary lifestyle. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find the foods you can not have anymore, or rather the foods you can have. Here are a few challenges you may face depending on your location.
As a vegan dairy may be the biggest challenge to tackle. The obvious easy product to eliminate is milk, however upon your label browsing in the super market you may find that many more products contain it as a raw ingredient than you would have ever thought. Products that contain milk range from the easily identifiable cookies, chocolates, and pre-made baked goods, to the more unexpected. The trick here is to learn your terminology and decode the ingredient list on the back of everything before you buy it. Casein and caseinate are derived from milk and will not suit your new found diet. Whey is also the left over product of cheese production so don’t go thinking you can supplement your proteins with it. Rennet is a enzyme taken from baby cows stomachs that is also used in the production of cheese but does appear in other products. Just keep your eyes sharp watching for these.
Although cheese technically falls into dairy, this sly devil finds its way into a enormous quantity of products. So much so I felt it warrants its own section. Before accusations of extreme exaggeration fill the comments bellow and you tell me I am being obscene about the amount of cheese Americans and the world in general consume stop to think. Cheese burger, Large pizza with extra cheese, broccoli only if its cheesy, Mac and Cheese, and it doesn’t stop there, the list goes on and on. Most of these are easily identified but you will often feel disheartened with the products you must stop consuming because of cheese.
Another demon you may face on your righteous quest is the local restaurants. Due to a lack in demand for Vegan products, depending on your location that is, your restaurant list becomes increasingly smaller the more you browse over those menus. By no means is it impossible to dine out vegan, it just takes a little devotion and courage to ask the waiter or waitress exactly what is coming out on those plates. Meats, milk, and cheese products are usually easily identified. However, it’s the highly processed meals you need to fear. Upon looking over a local restaurant’s menu, my friend and I found no meal that could even be easily adapted so we had to take our leave. Expect to find yourself in a similar situation somewhere down the road.
The Sweet Stuff.
Honey is added to your list of none consumables but would you expect most sugars to be found on it as well? It’s true, most sugars, aside from organic and cane sugars are filtered using charred animal bones making them non-vegan products. Although this varies from company to company depending on the practices of each. Oreos, for example, surprisingly is a vegan product.
Suddenly you will find yourself very limited on accessories. Wool is out of the question, so is leather. Clothing alternatives are easily come by though and you will find it easy to replace that cow hide belt if you take the time to search the available products in your area. Seeings how you are vegan, take it a step further in this area, try to find products that are also humane.
No doubt there is a laundry list of other predicaments you may find yourself in along the way. My best advice I could offer any other newbie vegans out there would be to stick to it, always read the back of the products and be prepared to make sacrifices but remember there are usually products that you can supplement. After all, whether you are doing this for animal rights, health reasons, or just general experimentation everything in life takes some kind of commitment and becoming a well seasoned vegan is no exemption.