No vegan restaurants around, no shops with vegan products, I'm scared of being judged, I wouldn't know what to eat... do you see yourself in one of those reasons? Change is difficult and going vegan is a huge change, but not an impossible one.

Whenever I've been having conversations about food and diet with people who are not vegan, I've always encountered two types of situations. On one hand, I've seen complete closure to the idea of eating only plant foods. That's ok, I'm used to that and I usually don't even bother continuing that conversation. On the other hand, though, there are people who are open-minded, who understand the reasons of your choice, who agree with what you say and who recognize the benefits of eating plant-based, but for some reason they haven't yet (or they don't want to) switch to the vegan lifestyle.

I've always struggled to understand why. Those people seem to be ready, and yet they seem to have issues with implementing this kind of eating on a daily basis. To try and understand the reasons behind this, I've been looking back at when I was in their same situation. If you are one of those people, I might have some tips for you which hopefully will help you transition and adopt this healthier, compassionate way of living.

So, why aren't you vegan yet? Maybe you'll see yourself in one of the following reasons...

Because it's impossible to find vegan products in my small town!

All right, fair enough. This might be very true, but you know what? There is not a single vegan packaged product that you really must have in order to adopt a plant-based diet. All you need are fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds. I'm pretty sure you can find those even in the smallest town in the civilized world. And, if you really need some more specific products (say, nutritional yeast - do you know what it is? it's some kind of cheesy thing that we vegans use to replace parmesan - or fancy plant-based milks) you can always use that small, little thing called the internet and you'll easily get them delivered at your door. So, yeah, that's not an excuse, my friend, it's just laziness ;)

Because there are no vegan restaurants around!

This can also be very true, maybe open one yourself? Just kidding. Restaurants - and eating out in general - might be a real issue indeed, but there is always a solution. Like opening a vegan restaurant... ok, not funny. Seriously, unless you live in Warsaw (yay, lucky me!), Berlin, L.A. or New York, than you might have to cut down on eating outside, but think about it: this has a good side as well! More than one, actually: 1) you'll save money; and 2) you'll get to practice cooking at home, which hopefully means... 3) you'll eat helthier! Most restaurants, even the vegan ones, often serve very unhealthy food or dishes prepared using a lot of oils, which are not good for you. Sounds like a lame excuse? It might be, but it's true.
Anyway, the lack of 100% vegan restaurants in your town doesn't necessarily mean you can't eat out anymore if you are following a plant-based diet. Many restaurants are open to listen to their customers' needs and willing to adjust the dishes in their menu at your request (for example by not using animal fat for frying, exclude the cheese from a pasta dish or a pizza, and so on). In other words, don't be shy! Also, it might surprise you how many of the dishes served in normal restaurants are actually vegan already, especially if you go to asian restaurants or indian ones.

Because I don't want to be part of a cult!

Since when eating a healthy diet means being member of some kind of evil sect? Since the word "vegan" was invented! Don't get me wrong, I have no issues either using this word or calling myself such, but it is undeniable that people often refer to vegans as a group, almost some kind of religion. I see where you're coming from and I understand your fear. But - as you see, there is always a "but"! - do you really care? Would you rather keep eating the way you do knowing that yes, nobody will label you as a weirdo, but you'll have no power to play with your kids at age 40? Would you rather keep eating this way and contribute to the decline of your own health and the health of the planet? Would you rather... well, I think I made my point. But there is more: do you really care what people would say if you already know you'd be doing the right thing?

Because I like the food I currently eat!

I get it, change is difficult. I know, I've been there and I used to think that going vegan means eating only boring salads and raw vegetables, and giving up all the foods I love. But have a look at my Instagram: I think I definitely proved myself wrong and debunked the boring vegan myth I've been creating in my head when I was a "omnivore". Of course, I eat foods that I was not used to eating before, but this doesn't mean I eat a boring diet. It's all about exploring new types of foods, and that's why I've put the word omnivore between quotation marks in the previous sentence: now, I'm definitely much more omnivore than I used to be, in the sense that I eat a broader variety of foods instead of the usual chicken breast and salad, scrambled eggs and pasta al pomodoro. This, of course, in addition to all the dishes that I used to love and that, in a way or another, I've veganized. Like my beautiful lasagne, which I now make with red lentils instead of red meat, and soy or almond based bechamel instead of cow's milk bechamel. Give yourself a chance, put some effort in it and you'll see it's easier than you think.

Because I don't know what to eat!

Have you already read my post 5 easy tip to switch to a healthy, vegan diet? Well, you should! Also, I'll get into more details and practical advices with future articles. In the meantime, make sure you keep an eye on my Instagram feed, where I always post what I eat, so you can get some inspiration. And, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me and I'll be happy to help.

Italian, (plant)based in Poland, passionate about nutrition and avid oatmeal eater.

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