So you’ve signed up for the ProVeg Veggie Challenge, tried some new recipes, and discovered delicious new foods. You’ve probably also had a lot of questions from your family, friends, and colleagues about your new diet. “But what do you eat?” “Isn’t it hard?” “Can you still shop at a normal supermarket?” These are all very normal questions, so it’s understandable that the people around you ask these kinds of things. Hopefully, after reading this post, you’ll have an answer for everything.
How do you manage with eating out?
If you’re heading to a restaurant with a group, you can call the venue beforehand and find out whether they have options for you, or if they’re able to prepare a meal for you. Let them know what you can and can’t eat, and help them out by taking a look at their menu to see what could be modified from an existing meal. Of course, you can also suggest to your friends that you choose the restaurant so you can be sure that you’ll find something great to eat. And if you slip up and eat something you didn’t intend to, don’t beat yourself up about it – you’ll know better next time!
Do you have to shop at expensive organic supermarkets?
No, you can still do all your shopping at your local supermarket. You don’t have to use any tricky or unusual ingredients at all: get inspiration from this post about vegan products in the supermarket before you head out grocery shopping. If there’s not enough to choose from, try contacting the store manager – perhaps they can order some products for you.
What do you do when you’re invited for dinner?
If a friend invites you for dinner, let them know that you’re trying this new way of eating and that if they’re happy to adjust their menu for you, you’ll offer meal suggestions or help with the shopping. Send them a link to our recipe database so that they can choose a recipe from there, or make things super easy for them and offer to bring a dish to share – this is a good opportunity to showcase a delicious plant-based meal to people who might otherwise not try it. If your friend does cook for you and they include an animal-based ingredient by mistake, don’t get upset – accidents happen! Just point it out in a gentle and friendly way so that they know for next time. Also, try to avoid discussions about dietary choices during dinner. Explaining your choice to avoid meat while someone is cutting into a steak is not the best timing!
Do you get enough protein and vitamins?
If all you eat is fries, cookies, and crisps, you will definitely have a more difficult time getting your daily vitamins. But if you eat mainly vegetables, fruits, legumes, wholegrain foods, and nuts and seeds and ensure a good balance between healthy eating and an occasional treat, then you’ll almost certainly be fine. It is also virtually impossible to eat enough calories from a varied and balanced diet and not get enough protein – so it’s also important to make sure that you’re getting enough calories. If you’re not sure, you can keep track of what you eat in a day and enter it in Cronometer, to check if you’re eating enough. If you need to get more calories in, try eating bigger quantities such as an extra sandwich, a handful of nuts or a few pieces of calorie-dense fruit such as bananas, apples or grapes.
I’m very active: can I still thrive on a plant-based diet?
Yes! There are plenty of top vegan athletes, including ultra-marathon runner Fiona Oakes, tennis star Martina Navratilova, and ultra-athlete Rich Roll, who all thrive on a plant-based diet, and German powerhouse Patrik Baboumian has been vegan for years! In short, the fact that you spend a few hours a week at the gym doesn’t mean that you can’t eat plant-based food. If these top athletes can do it, you can too. Read more about protein-rich plant-based foods here.
If you have a hard time answering questions during the Veggie Challenge, feel free to contact us via Facebook or send us an email, and we’ll be glad to help. When you’re answering questions about a plant-based diet, always try to be patient and kind. Most people know a lot less than you do about this topic, and they’ll be naturally curious. Remember, always stay positive!