Be Brave Enough To Suck At Something New
Many of the journeys we have read or listened to, including our own, have started out small, with baby steps. When you are brought up a certain way, influenced by your well-meaning parents and family and want to try something new, sometimes you don’t get the support you need. It’s not their fault. They love you and only want the best for you. Especially so if they are afraid for you and fear the unknown. But there are times in our lives when we all have to fly on our own, despite the fear that surrounds us.
Such is the dilemma when you think about how you might move from being a meat-lover to more of a plant lover. Lot’s of unknowns. For example, how will my food shopping change? Where will I find the items I need? What will my friends and family think? Do I really have to give up cheese? Will I get enough protein? Will the food taste good? What can I eat other than lettuce? I don’t cook, so how do I manage that? Isn’t it more expensive to eat plant-based?
The answer to all these questions is, “It’s ok. Be brave enough to suck at something new.” Try it. And don’t expect that you’ll have all the answers right away. And you don't have to be perfect. Even small changes can make big differences.
Just so you don’t panic, I’ll go ahead and answer the questions from above.
- How will your food shopping change? - You can still go to your favorite store to get most of your supplies. If you want fancier stuff or if your store doesn’t offer the product or brand you want, you can always try a different store or use Google Shopping and price compare, then purchase online. Oh and be sure to read the package so you can be sure it does not contain milk, gelatin, or chicken stock.
- Where will I find the items I need? - You’ll be in the produce department mostly, then canned and dry goods, a short visit to the freezer section, and a shorter visit to the dairy section.
- What will my friends and family think? - Frankly, many of them won’t like it or will not understand. Being clear on your personal why will help a lot.Then be prepared to find a comfortable way to close the conversation down if they are not open to hearing why you want to be plant-based.
- Do I really have to give up cheese? - Well, maybe? First, remember why you are trying to go plant-based. If having a slice of cheese now and then works ok with your goals, don’t worry about it. Every little bit helps, so don’t get stuck on one thing. If you must have cheese, try to cut back. But also, good news! There are cheese alternatives that are great in sandwiches, so you might not feel like you are giving it ALL up.
- Will I get enough protein? - <sigh> Yes. This is probably the first question people ask when seeking info about a plant-based diet. If you eat plant foods high in protein such as tofu/tempeh, legumes, nuts, seeds, grains (like oats & quinoa), and a wide variety of leafy greens like spinach you will have enough protein in your diet. However, vegans do need more protein than non-vegans and every person is different, so consulting a functional nutritionist is a good idea to be sure you and your family are reaching your personal health goals. Reach out to us if you’d like to have a 1:1 with Carlee Busby, M.S. our in-house functional nutritionist.
- Will the food taste good? - OMG! So much better. When you substitute whole foods like fresh spinach, sweet potato, strawberries, and fresh herbs and spices for prepared foods, it’s like a party in your mouth.
- What can I eat other than lettuce? - Actually quite a lot. Beans, lentils, pasta, potatoes, tofu, burgers, sasauge, soup, vegetables, chips, cookies, cakes, brownies, ice cream, biscuits, bread, fruits, nuts, peanut butter, jelly… ya know food. Just not food made with animal products like cow’s milk and butter.
- I don’t cook, like at all, so how do I manage that? - This part can be a challenge. It’s much healthier for you to cook your own food, but if this isn’t an option for you then you have 3 other options. 1. If you enjoy dining out most of the time, find a few restaurants in your area that serve items that are plant-based. If you are super budget minded, try Burger King, McDonald’s and Taco Bell. They have a few options. Other chains with mid-range prices are Chipotle, Mellow Mushroom, Olive Garden, and some grocers like Whole Foods have hot and cold bars that have a wide variety of items. 2. The regular grocery store will have prepared pizza, burgers, veggie meat and cheese, vegetables, and canned foods that are easy to bake or heat up. Some stores will have better choices than others. I personally find everything I need at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Harris Teeter, or Harmony Farms. 3. Hire a cook or sign up for a meal subscription service like Fresh n Lean for on-the-go athletes or Purple Carrot for a little cooking fun.
- Isn’t it more expensive to eat plant-based? - It doesn’t have to be. If rice and beans is your jam you could do this quite inexpensively. Tip: Buy bulk rice and beans for super-savings. If you want more fancy stuff, like Shiitake mushrooms, white asparagus, Vermont maple syrup, and prepared foods it can add up. So just do your budget and figure it out.
Now that you are armed with some information, you should feel more confident. Don’t be surprised if the first few meals you make are not perfect. It’s ok. Next time it won’t be overcooked/ undercooked and you’ll have all the good spices handy. You’ll figure it out all in good time. It may suck that you have a few things to learn in the vegan kitchen but that doesn’t diminish your bravery in trying something new.
|Cyn Macgregor - Cyn is a mom, friend, artist, and co-founder of Kind Healthy Life. She's currently trying to conquer sourdough bread-making and growing tomatoes in her incy-bincy garden. Follow her art adventures @cynmacgregor_art|