Vegan mistakes are pretty common when you are just starting a new vegan lifestyle. You may have preconceived ideas or may be confused by all the information available on the Internet.
Am I making the right choice? Should I think that way? What will people think?
All this questioning can lead to feeling scared, stressed and guilty. Nobody deserves to feel that way, which is why I decided to share with you the top vegan mistakes to avoid in order to be a happy vegan.
The following statements are a collection of false beliefs that I’ve experienced during my vegan transition … and still have to deal with every now and then. I hope these tips will serve you greatly.
Vegan mistake 1: I can go vegan cold turkey and never eat animal products ever again
Ok let’s face it, changing our food habits is not that easy. On top of that, I guess that your favorite food is not vegan. Sussssssshis, burgeeeeer, cheeeeeese !
Don’t torture and give yourself a guilt trip if you don’t switch to eating 100% vegan overnight.
Why don’t you try to add more fruits and veggies to your regular diet to begin with instead of cutting off everything you are used to eating?
There are different ways to gradually go vegan. Pick the one that suits you the best or create your own guidelines. Keep in mind that baby steps are the key!
From time to time you might relapse or want to eat something non-vegan…and IT’S OK!
Vegan mistake 2: If I want to be a real vegan, I have to throw away all my leather shoes, coats or bags. If not, I’m just an evil person aka animal killer.
Raise your hand if you are a fashionista and find you never have enough shoes in your closet!
Are you feeling sad just thinking about the idea of getting rid of all your leather goods to be a vegan?
Yeah me too!
Do you know that there are different “kinds of vegans”?
Some people are vegans for ethical reasons meaning they want to respect animal rights; others are vegans for health reasons.
Both are excellent choices but it doesn’t mean you have to adhere to both ways of thinking.
What I also learned is that veganism contributes to save the planet and protect our environment.
Knowing that, I decided that I’m going to keep my leathers goods and use them instead of creating more garbage.
When it will come the time to buy new fashions items, I could then revise my choices and ask myself if I want to buy ethical fashion.
Vegan mistake 3: Vegans eat vegan food 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. PERIOD
Sometimes you will go to a restaurant, be invited to your friend’s house or just be travelling around the world and there won’t be vegan available.
Should you starve yourself for that?
If the idea of eating non-vegan food gross’s you out, you can always bring some vegan snacks with you but if it doesn’t bother you that much, relax and eat the meal without guilt.
Perfection is a matter of personal perception and hoping to be 100% perfect all the time is unrealistic.
Vegan mistake 4: A vegan diet is a healthy diet…ALWAYS
A vegan diet has lots of health benefits like increased energy, clear skin, better digestion but it’s only true if you eat nutrient-rich foods.
Doritos spicy sweet chili, Red bull energy drink, Hershey’s chocolate syrup and Fritos original or BBQ corn chips are all vegan.
Do you think these foods are healthy?
More real food, less processed food! That’s your best option.
Vegan mistake 5: Vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, fat-free, non-GMO, natural, organic foods are necessarily good for me
Yes that 6.99$ organic cracker box might not be that healthy. Please read the label!
If you don’t recognize an ingredient big chances are that your body won’t either.
The food industry does a great job of convincing us that we absolutely need to buy food that are labelled as organic, gluten-free or name it. But what does it mean anyway?
Here’s my little guide to understand food labels :
Vegan food: Excludes all animal products (meat, dairy, egg, gelatin, honey).
Gluten-free food: Excludes the protein gluten (wheat, rye, barley).
Sugar-free food: Has less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving or given reference amount. Often sugar has been replaced by an artificial sweetener.
Do you only eat 1 serving of cookies? 😉
Fat-free food: Has less than 0.5 g of fat per serving or given reference amount.
Non-GMO food: Excludes genetically modified organisms. GMO are organisms manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering at the gene level.
Natural foods: There are no formal rules on the subject but the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that it means nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source).There is no mention of pesticides or food processing or manufacturing methods.
According to the FDA did not consider whether the term “natural” should describe any nutritional or other health benefit.
Organic foods: As per Organic.org’s definition, organic means produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering or ionizing.
Also, animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.
Remember that a wholefood diet including fresh fruits and veggies, beans, nuts and seeds should be enough to keep you on the healthy path.
After that, if you want to buy a fancy bag of organic veggie chips to treat yourself – go for it!
Vegan mistake 6: Knowing the benefits of a vegan lifestyle, EVERYONE should go vegan.
Everyone has a right to their own opinion. It’s important to show others respect if you want them to respect you.
Maybe they are not there yet. Maybe they are not focusing on that right now. Maybe a vegan diet is not what they need.
Enjoy your vegan life and let go of other people’s behavior.
Vegan mistake 7: I get all the nutrients and vitamins I need in my vegan diet.
We can’t deny that a healthy vegan diet is loaded with vitamins and nutrients. Still, you might want to check your vitamin B12 and vitamin D levels.
B12 is an essential vitamin responsible for the formation of blood and regulation of the nervous system.
Animals have bacteria in their digestive tracts that can produce B12. Meat eaters get some of their vitamin B12 from meat but plant foods don’t contain vitamin B12.
You can obtain vitamin B12 in enriched food like non-dairy milk or nutritional yeast.
Vitamin D is present in very few foods. We usually get it from sun exposure.
If you live in a country with a long cold winter you can be at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
You might want to ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice on supplements.
Vegan mistake 8: I’m scared that I’m going to have crazy food cravings
From my experience, food cravings occur when I don’t eat healthy and my body requires nutrient-rich foods to function properly.
I also get cravings when I’m super tired or stressed and my body needs food to convert into energy.
On the other hand, when I eat clean and follow a sleep routine I don’t experience huge cravings.
Vegan mistake 9: Everybody around me eats meat– they probably think vegans are aliens
People don’t usually like to be different. It’s normal. They want to be part of the gang.
In fact, when you think about it, everybody has a little something different and this is what makes the world more interesting.
Yes people will ask you about your vegan lifestyle. There is nothing to be ashamed of. They are just curious. They might even be interested in joining you!
If you have a friend or colleague that is actually making fun of you for being vegan, you might want to cross them out of your circle. Nobody needs that kind of negativity in their life.
Your friends and family should be the ones who believe in your infinite potential and help you be the best version of you.
Vegan mistake 10: I don’t want to be an animal rights, eco-feminist, or political activist
Whoa! You’re just changing your eating habits not your personality.
It’s great to take care of animals, fight for male and female equality or be interested in politics but if these were not your top interests before why should they be after switching to a vegan lifestyle?
Fight for a cause close to your heart or do more of what you love to do every day.
Everybody can contribute to make this world better their own way.
Are you making any of these vegan mistakes? Please write your comments in the reply box below. We can all exchange our personal experiences and tips to help each other!
Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide (9. Appendix A: Definitions of Nutrient Content Claims) http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm064911.htm
What is GMO? http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/what-is-gmo/
What does “organic” mean? http://www.organic.org/home/faq
Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/