this has come up a lot lately in comments on youtube videos and instagram posts: why does everyone think it’s so hard to switch to a plant based diet? people who are vegetarian claim it’s so difficult to give up dairy, and people who eat meat say plant based diets are too expensive or restrictive. here are my thoughts on the issue.as far as giving up dairy: dairy has chemicals in it that react with the brain in a similar fashion to opiates, meaning a love for dairy, cheese in particular, is more often than not an addiction (freefromharm.org). so treating dairy as a harmful drug might make it easier to give up. also, casein, which is the main protein in milk products (whey protein being a significant source) is one of the most potent carcinogens humans are exposed to (forbes.com, cancerres.aacrjournals.org, nutritionstudies.org) – and many humans in western society receive milk products soon after birth. why would it be hard to give up something that causes cancer, particularly breast cancer and prostate/testicular cancer? after all, you’ve likely given up lead paint and cigarettes for the same reason.
as for the supposed expense: i went vegan a little over a year ago, as a junior in high school. the most common point made when defending a transition period to veganism is that those without a significant income (i.e., single mothers, those below the poverty line, children and teens living with their parents) cannot afford a vegan diet. as a teen still living at home, who for the first few months of being vegan bought much of her own food due to lack of parental support (despite not having a job and only making $50 a week cleaning bathrooms at home, and buying her own clothing as well), i can assure you that this is simply not the case. the only expensive things in a vegan diet are meat and dairy replacements, supplements, and protein powders, which the mainstream media and many doctors have convinced the public are necessary to stay healthy on a vegan diet. for the majority of the time i’ve been vegan, my entire diet has been fresh fruits and veggies, rice, and pasta, which (with the exception of certain fruits) are the cheapest foods one can buy on any diet. i have seen significant improvements in my overall health, and as an athlete my performance was not affected by the diet change. (it was affected when i stopped caring about practice, but that’s another post.) you do not need an insane amount of protein to survive – in fact, more people suffer from protein overload than protein deficiency (articles.mercola.com, onegreenplanet.com) – and contrary to popular belief, all eight dietary amino acids can be found in plants (builtlean.com). so there is no need to waste money on supplementary and replacement foods. if you have the money and wish to do so, go for it. but for those with a low income, vegan diets are actually quite affordable.
as for the supposed restriction: well, how about i just list what i ate before and after going vegan?
before: arby’s roast beef sandwiches, milkshakes (anywhere), tacos, grapes, cherries, iceberg lettuce, tuna, salmon, fillet’o’fish, dq blizzards, pepperoni pizza, pasta with garlic and parmesan.
after: banana smoothies, pasta with various toppings, guacamole, strawberries, mangoes, pineapple, nectarines, broccoli, cauliflower, pears, tomatoes, spinach, brown rice, carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, melons, dark lettuce, tortillas/pitas, almond milk, green onions, punjab potatoes/eggplant, tea, bolthouse farms/naked juices, dairy free ice cream, oatmeal, waffles, pancakes, pizza (sometimes with soy cheese!!), meat free tacos, french fries, sandwiches/wraps, oreos, pringles, meat free burritos…
both lists combined cost me the same amount of money per month; and i experienced weight loss on both diets, but only one allowed me to eat more than 800 net calories per day in doing it. now you tell me: which diet is restrictive?