In our pursuit to convert just about everyone to a vegan lifestyle, us vegans sometimes make mistakes. As a vegan, I tend to be quite critical of my own community, because we all mean well, but sometimes we mess up. If you want to lead a healthy, happy plant-based lifestyle, keep reading!
5. Transition Mistakes
Most new vegans don’t know what they’re doing when they first transition. Some try to go vegan overnight, others spend too long transitioning and fail. The problem with bad transitions is that they usually result in people going back to eating meat and/or dairy. The best way most people go vegan is to start by cutting out animals by the number of legs they have, so to start, remove beef from your diet. Once you’ve felt good there for a few weeks, go ahead and phase out pork, lamb, etc., too. Then, chicken and duck. Finally fish, then eggs and dairy products. Cutting out animal products this way tends to work the best because you’re eliminating the least lean meat first, which means that the meat you are still eating is getting leaner and leaner, and you feel healthier. Also, be careful not to eat too few calories, because plant foods are less calorically dense, it’s easy to under-eat them.
As vegans, we’re trying to create a world full of vegans, not an exclusive club. Don’t exclude people from your life because their eating habits make you uncomfortable, and don’t promote restrictive vegan diets like raw or 80/10/10, even if you follow it. You can advocate for your diet, but ultimately if people are reducing their animal product intake, they’re doing a lot of good for the world.
Trying to win people over with guilt (e.g. the Meat is Murder campaign) is so rarely effective that I always advise people against it. When people are made to feel guilty about their diets, they get defensive, and any chance of them changing their ways just went out the window.
2. Eating Too Few Calories
It’s especially important that vegans eat enough calories, lest they risk particular deficiencies, but because a lot of the appeal veganism is weight loss and overall health, many people associate that with eating fewer calories. When eating plant-based, more is better, especially if you’re focusing on whole foods that tend to be lower in calories. Eating too few calories usually leads to health issues that turn people away from veganism. That’s why everyone always has that one friend who went vegan and got sick. Don’t be that vegan.
1. Leading Too Strict a Lifestyle
Don’t make veganism look more restrictive than it already is. That’s all.