Being Vegan is by no means an easy task to do and it does require a great deal of will power and support from those around you. I have listed what are some of the top five challenges of being Vegan.
1. Eating Out
Being a vegan, eating out in a restaurant can be a pain.
Although the situation is slowly getting better, there are still many restaurants that offer zero or just a few vegan options. It can get tiring to eat the same single vegan meal over and over again or order fries and plain salad because they don’t have any other vegan options.
But there’s more to it. There are some restaurants which don’t even know what’s in their food – they can’t tell you if it’s vegan or not!
2. Reading food labels carefully
You would be surprised as to how many so called Vegan products as actually not Vegan after reading the label. For example it will have in very samll print ‘ This product might contain traces Milk or Eggs due to the manufacturing process’. So how can it be labelled Vegan if there is even a 1% chances of cross-contamination.
3. Social Pressure
Social pressure is another big one for vegans. Let’s be honest – the media is still full of silly stereotypes about plant-eaters. So we can’t really blame anyone for judging vegans. Worse still are your family and friends who secretly are looking forward to seeing you took into a Chicken burger…lol
4. People asking silly questions
Yes, people will ask you loads of silly questions. That’s unavoidable.
“Where do you get your protein?”
“But plants have feelings too!”
“Isn’t it boring to eat salad and carrots all the time?”
5. Cravings For Cheesy Or Meaty Flavors
Although mostly common with vegan newbies, even a few long-term vegans sometimes crave the same old flavors of cheese, eggs, and grilled meat. If we’ve grown up with these flavors, it’s only natural that we crave them.
Fortunately, there are many excellent (and cheap) vegan food substitutes that you can use to replace necessary ingredients or get the flavors you want in your vegan foods.
Scientific research is providing hard facts that if everyone moderately reduced their consumption of meats and dairy products, this wold have a positive impact on global warming and reduce the need for mass farming of animals.
Okay going Vegan is the extreme end to make an immediate impact, below are some hard fact to consider:
Dairy cows have been modified to produce up to 10 times more milk than they naturally would.
Male calves are of no use to the dairy industry and are less suitable for beef production. This means that every year around 90,000 male dairy calves are shot soon after birth and discarded as a by-product.
Domesticated cows have an average lifespan of 20 years, but on dairy farms they are killed after 5-6 years on average.
30% of UK dairy cows have mastitis, a bacterial infection of the udder.
Chickens and other birds
Every year in the UK we slaughter around 950 million birds for food consumption, including chickens, ducks and turkeys.
90% of chicken production in the UK is in intensive windowless sheds which house 20,000-50,000 chickens each.
51% of eggs produced come from chickens in battery cages.
40 million day-old male chicks are killed in the UK by either being gassed or being thrown into a macerator – this practice occurs in all egg farming systems, including organic and free-range.
Beak trimming is the permanent removal of part of the beak of a bird at a young age. This is standard industry practice in the UK despite being illegal in many European countries due to the pain it inflicts.
A free-range egg farmer can legally house 16,000 birds in one building, meaning that they can house 9 birds per square metre of space. This means that free-range hens live out their entire lives in an overcrowded indoor farming unit.
Less than 3% of UK pigs spend their entire lives outdoors.
1/3 of pigs in the UK are killed in gas chambers.
Around half of all antibiotics sold in the UK are used on farmed animals, with 60% of these being used on pigs.
Most pigs are entitled to less than one square metre of space each and the majority of sows (female breeding pigs) are kept in farrowing crates. Farrowing crates were made illegal in several countries across Europe, but are still standard farming practice here in the UK.
Fish and other sea animals
3/4 of the world’s fisheries are either exploited or depleted.
We kill between 1 and 2.8 trillion fish every year. This is 143-400x the amount of the entire human population.
308,000 cetaceans are unintentionally drowned each year after becoming entangled in fishing equipment.
Farmed salmon has 10x the amount of cancer-causing organic pollutants than wild salmon.
For every pound of fish caught, up to 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill.
Sharks kill 12 people per year. People kill 11,414 sharks per hour.
Around 1.4 million sheep and goats are killed without being stunned each year in the UK using halal practices. Many people in the UK oppose this form of slaughter, yet purchase halal meat unknowingly, since it is sold in most major outlets, including supermarkets and takeaways, without always being labelled as halal.
Every year around 4 million newborn lambs die within a few days of birth, mainly because of malnutrition, disease or exposure to cold weather.
Male lambs are castrated using elastration, a technique that involves a thick rubber band being placed around the base of the infant’s scrotum, obstructing the blood supply and causing atrophy. This method causes severe pain to the lambs who are provided no pain relief during the process. Lambs also have their tails docked using the same method.
Put simply, intermittent is a weight loss method that revolves around fasting at certain parts of the day/week.
In other words, for certain periods of time, you will fast (i.e. eat nothing or very little) until your eating window comes around again.
16:8 Method: Basically you eat solely during an 8-hour eating window and fast for the remaining 16 hours. You exclude breakfast completely in the mornings, only having water or fruit juice instead.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
1. Helps you lose weight
VIF diet can aid weight loss and help to build a muscle tone body.
Experts are still debating exactly how intermittent fasting allows you to lose weight – some think it’s just because you consume less fat and kcals overall, while some think it has more to do with the restricted eating times.
2. Improves mood and focus
VIF diet boosts the production of BDNF, a protein in your brain linked to improved mood and cognition, by 50-400%.
3. Reduces the risk of diseases
Among other health benefits, there is evidence to suggest that VIF diet could help to reduce the future risk of various diseases, assuming that dieters eat good food and follow a relatively healthy lifestyle.
4. Increases energy and endurance
Evidence has shown that VIF diet boosts mitochondrial biogenesis, meaning that your cells create more mitochondria.
Now we don’t have time to launch into a biology lesson here, but suffice it to say that mitochondria give your body’s cells more energy, hence giving you more energy as a person made up of said cells.
5. May help increase lifespan
The smart people over at Harvard University recently discovered that intermittent fasting could help to increase your lifespan due to some very complex science stuff that we mere mortals cannot understand.
If you’ve not taken care of your body as well as you should have, perhaps it’s time to try a vegan intermittent fasting diet plan.
Successful VIF diet relies on discipline and preparedness. It’s important to fill your eating time-frame with nutritional, balanced, and filling foods.
Filling foods generally have higher amounts of protein, fiber, and water, and low energy density. Prepare for your VIF diet by consuming meals that are high in these ingredients and always make sure to drink lots of water.
VIF diet will take your mind and body to new level of fitness and help to focus and strengthen your own inner Zen.
Many people still think there are no suitable alternatives to replace the experience of eating meat or diary products when you are a Vegan. Well, there are actually plenty of options. Below are a list great alternatives to to replace meats and diary products..Vegan style!!
Applesauce Egg substitutions don’t get much simpler than applesauce. About 3-4 tablespoons will replace one egg in your baked goods. Just remember that applesauce does have a sweetness to it and acidity that isn’t present in regular eggs, so you may have to adjust other parts of the recipe you’re using to account for this.
Bananas Great for making fall desserts, bananas are a staple ingredient substitution for any vegan baker. The ratio is basically 1 banana to 1 egg. The fibrous nature of bananas makes them great binding agents for your baked goods, but the texture might be a little thicker than you’re expecting. If you’re having trouble getting the bananas to break up entirely when you mix them into your ingredients, consider mashing them up thoroughly before adding them to the rest of your ingredients.
Purees If you’ve ever made a dump cake, you’re probably aware that purees and pie fillings make great replacements for eggs and other binding agents. Plus, it’s a great way to improvise with your recipes, adding in new flavors and making truly unique recipes.
Silken Tofu Tofu is probably the closest thing you will find to an all-encompassing egg replacer. The other alternatives have pretty limited uses — applesauce and “flegg” for instance can really only be used as egg replacements in baking. But with the right kinf of seasoning and spices and with a close eye on the cooking, you can actually use silken tofu to create a vegan version of scrambled eggs!
2. Milk Re-placers
Soy Milk, Hemp Milk, and Rice Milk Vegan milk substitutes basically fall into two categories — nut milk and other plant-based milks. Soy milk was once the kind of the vegan milk world but has recently lost some steam to newer, “hipper” alternatives like hemp milk and rice milk. The best part about these substitutes, though, is that you can use them to replace the milk that’s called for in the recipe with a simple 1:1 ratio. No math necessary!
Almond Milk and Other Nut-Based Milks By far the most popular type of plant-based milk, almond milk is loved be vegans and meat-eaters like because it’s just so good! Whether you use it to replace regular milk in your baked goods or pour it over your cereal, almond milk is praised as the “good kind of fat” alternative to cow’s milk.
Substitutes for Buttermilk Sometimes the recipe you’re working with calls for buttermilk, and your instinct might simply be to replace it with one of the plant-based milks listed above. Don’t be fooled — there’s a difference between milk and buttermilk. Buttermilk has higher levels of acidity, which means that it will react differently with other ingredients. To substitute buttermilk, simply add about 1 tsp of vinegar for every cup of plant-based milk.
Tofu and Tempeh Tofu is the classic meat substitute. It’s spongy texture and ability to absorb flavors make it great for replacing almost any meat imaginable with the right seasoning. Tofu is a great place to start for beginner vegan chefs because it’s pretty easy to handle, too. Similarly, tempeh is a soy-based meat substitute that’s versatile and absorbs flavors well. You can do just about anything with it that you can do with real meat.
Seitan Like tofu and tempeh, seitan is a flexible meat substitute that tastes delicious and goes with just about anything. The main difference between tofu and seitan is that seitan is made from wheat gluten instead of soy. Seitan is particularly good for substituting chicken.
Beans For the protein-conscious vegans out there, replacing meat with beans is super easy and super delicious. While it’s not always true that vegans have trouble getting protein in their diets, people who highly active lifestyles do require higher amounts of protein. Consider replacing ground beef for tacos and burritos with beans for a meaty flavor that’s both affordable and a great source of plant-based protein.
Eggplant You’ve probably heard of eggplant parmesan, but the options for this versatile vegetable don’t stop there. You can cut them into chunks, sautee them, and even slice them into thin, burger-like pieces. Their neutral flavor and thick texture make them great for absorbing savory flavors and creating a convincing meat substitute.
Mushrooms Another staple of any vegan produce drawer is mushrooms. They have a naturally savory and meat-like flavor, so it doesn’t take a lot of work to transform them into a meat substitute. Use them to replace chicken in stir fry or mince them finely, sautee them, and add them to your tacos.
Jackfruit That’s right — fruit. Jackfruit is the hottest trend in the vegan and vegetarian worlds because of its ability to transform when cooked. You might not always find it in your normal grocery store, but if you have an Asian or “international” market near you, you can easily find jackfruit. The pieces of fruit are stringy on the inside, and when cooked, their flavor becomes neutral. Just throw on some barbecue sauce, and you’ve got a recipe for vegan pulled-pork that will fool even the biggest meat eaters.
3. Cheese Re-placers
Tofu Cheese The soft but malleable texture of tofu makes it a great base for your cheese substitutes. Of course, tofu on its own doesn’t necessarily create the most amazing tasting cheeses. We recommend experimenting with flavors and spices to create a convincing cheese alternative that tastes just like real cheese.
Nutritional Yeast Sold in a powdered, flaky form, nutritional yeast is entirely plant-based, and it has a uniquely cheesy flavor. It can be hard to put your finger on what exactly nutritional yeast tastes, like, but when you add it to your dishes, you will definitely notice a difference. Plus, as the name suggests, there are tons of health benefits of nutritional yeast.
Cashew Cheese You read that right — cashew cheese. When soaked in water, cashews become very soft and flexible, which means they can easily be blended into a smooth paste. Their neutral, nutty flavor means they can absorb flavors well. A little nutritional yeast and some herbs and spices added to these blended cashews will create a cheesy spread that’s hard to resist.
Potato and Carrot Cheese It doesn’t get much easier than this, folks. Potatoes (or sweet potatoes) and carrots blended in the blender until they’re nice and smooth make an amazing base for vegan nacho cheese. The spicier, the better!
Coconut Oil For cooking, sauteeing, baking, and more, coconut oil should be in every vegan chef’s pantry. It melts easily, so you can use it for greasing a pan or even just as a 1:1 substitute for butter in baked goods. If you’re feeling really brave, try coconut oil on your morning toast.
Vegetable Oil Because vegetable oil is… well, oil, it’s hard to use it for much of anything besides baking. You can use it as a substitute for melted or softened butter in recipes, but if the recipe calls for you to “cut in” the butter or just a regular stick of butter, vegetable oil is probably not your best option.
5. Honey Re-placers
1. Agave Nectar 2. Maple Syrup 3. Coconut Nectar
All the above re-placers when used correctly will give you the same enjoyment as if you were eating the real thing. Enjoy discovering.
So what are the benefits to being a Vegan you might be thinking or wondering, well it’s quite simply..You body will feel so much better and not filled with all the toxins from meats and dairy products.
Going Vegans means you are looking after your body, even if you just go three months for the year being a Vegan you will reverse some of the damage you are doing to your body.
Have a read below of the real benefits that you will giving yourself, what do you have to lose?
1. It’s a Nutrient Powerhouse Diet
The vegan lifestyle means that you get plenty of nutrients into your diet. The Western diet with animal products and meat-based recipes is okay, but you can often reduce your micronutrient intake. You can find yourself lacking in the likes of healthy vitamin A, zinc, magnesium and more. While you think you’re getting them through your meals, the non-vegan diet is stopping your body from fully absorbing all the nutrients.
2. You Can Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
The Western diet isn’t the best for blood sugar levels. In fact, there’s a growing concern of people suffering from Type II diabetes. The Vegan lifestyle can help to rectify that. It’s all about the types of foods you choose to eat.
3. Reduce the Risk of Kidney Failure
The meat diet isn’t the best for the body, especially in a high consumption. Some studies show that those following a vegan diet have reduced the risk of their kidneys not functioning properly. This is usually due to switching the type of protein they consume.
4. Some Cancers Can Be Avoided
The World Health Organization states that about a third of cancers are affected by the diet and other aspects of your control. That means you could minimize the risk of third cancer by taking steps to change your lifestyle. The vegan lifestyle is one that you want to follow.
5. You Could Reduce Arthritis Pain
If you suffer from arthritis, you’ll want to look at the food you eat. Studies show that a vegan diet can help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis, which includes the pain experienced. This is linked to the inflammation in the body that animal products can cause.
6. There’s a Lower Risk of Developing Heart Disease
Heart disease is a silent killer and is a major problem. It’s one of the main killers in women around the world and part of the risk factors is linked to your diet. Those who eat more meat are more likely to consume saturated fats. These will increase the blood pressure and cholesterol levels, putting more strain on the heart, affecting the arteries, and disrupting the blood flow.
7. You Can Lose More Weight
If you’re overweight, you may want to reduce the number of animal products you consume. They are higher in fats, which means they’re higher in calories. There are high chances you’ve seen diets suggest cutting out certain meats, dairy products, and a few other animal products. Those on a vegan diet are more likely to consume plant-based food and see more weight loss.
8. Improve Physical Fitness Levels
There are many people who will tell you that the vegan diet isn’t good for those who like to train and do exercise. This is often due to the claim that vegans don’t get enough protein. Of course, if you eat a balanced and varied vegan diet, you will be able to increase the amount of protein you consume.
9. You’ll See Lower Cholesterol Levels
You consume cholesterol through the foods you eat. People only consume cholesterol through animal products, whether through meat, eggs, milk, or other products. You don’t get cholesterol from plant-based foods. This instantly tells you that vegans are going to have lower cholesterol levels than vegetarians and meat eaters.
Apart from the instant health benefits Veganism brings by the avoidance all dairy and meats, Veganism also makes you more aware of the healing and uplifting powers of nature’s essential oils, below is a useful summary of the best essential oils to use.
Basil Essential Oil
Ease menstrual discomfort
Support immune system
Black Pepper Essential Oil
Can lift your mood and reduce uneasiness
Helps support digestive function
Enhances the flavors of food
Provides antioxidant support
Supports healthy circulation
Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
Can boost the immune, metabolic, circulatory, and digestive systems
Can maintain a healthy blood sugar level
Adds a spicy and sweet flavor in baking and cooking
Can help relax muscles that are tight and sore
Frankincense Essential Oil
Promote healthy skin
Support immune system
Lavender Essential Oil
Soothes skin sensitivity and irritations and reduces skin imperfections.
All the above essential oils are derived from plants, many remedies such as these are far better than modern medicines. It is still always good to get advice from your GP, but also, explore the healing power of nature and the essential oils.