Recently, plant-based diets and lifestyles have taken the media by storm, and they seem to have divided the population. Half of society is ready to jump on board the vegan train, and the other half of society is judging the other for doing so. I personally made the transition to a completely plant-based diet about 2.5 months ago, and I have to say that I feel great; however, I would never want to judge anyone who has not made my same decision. I am in a place in my life where I am enjoying the extra challenge of getting creative with recipes and planning my meals, and I am thankful that I have the necessary resources to explore. I am also thankful that my family, and even my husband, has started to delve into veganism as well. A full vegan transformation takes dedication, time, and yes, sometimes sacrifice. Eventually, the sacrifices become joys, but the lifestyle has to be a passion if the decision is ever going to hold.
The keyword here is passion. A person should choose to be a vegan because of their own beliefs about personal health, environmental concerns, and what is best for their body. Veganism should not be inspired by guilt, feelings of supremacy, or peer pressure. There is an overwhelming amount information in the world today dictating what people should do, and a seemingly larger amount of information dictating what people definitely should not do. Often times, these actions coincide: “Drink apple cider vinegar/Don’t ever consider drinking apple cider vinegar” and “Eat a low fat diet/ High fat diets are the healthiest for you” are just two examples of items on a long, convoluted list of dos and don’ts. At the end of the day, I want to be able to look back and feel confident that I made decisions that were inspired by my own convictions rather than any other societal influence.
Personally, I have been thriving off of a plant-based diet. While the food that I have been eating has been healthier, I don’t even believe that my diet is what has made all the difference. Rather, what I believe to be the most beneficial is how intentional I have been with my food. Before, I wouldn’t necessarily take the time to prepare or plan out my meals in advance, because I knew I could just throw something in the microwave and that it would all somehow work out in the end. Now, I have to think about boiling lentils, cooking tofu, or looking up a recipe in order to ensure that I get enough solid nutrition. This increased amount of thought has resulted in tastier meals, less stress, and surprisingly, a greater amount of protein intake. Desserts and tasty treats have also become more special, since vegan delicacies are not all that common in a little mid-western city. I am a person who loves to be dedicated to something, and following a plant-based diet has helped foster my drive.
Am I saying that everyone needs to stop what they are doing and be plant-based? Absolutely not. What I am asking though, is for everyone to listen to their own desires when making life choices and stay true to their own passions. There is a lot of plant-based pressure in the air. Let it fuel your fire or float on by, but don’t let it cause a storm.