A plant-based diet is a diet derived from plants such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, with little to no consumption of any products obtained from animals.
A plant-based diet has a wide array of benefits. It can help prevent most of today’s chronic illnesses such as heart disease, obesity, among others.
Like all kinds of diet, people who follow a plant-based diet has its downside, and that is facing the following social challenges listed below, on a daily basis:
- Dating. Food is usually the center of any relationship. When people start dating, they go out on dates to eat out; and during those meals, it is where they get to know each other. It is also where you get to distinguish the kind of food the other is eating, and to some, not having aligned food choices leads to incompatibility.
After passing through the stage of dating, cooking together might also pose as a challenge when already cohabiting; because while one only wants to see and consume plant-based food, the other would want to eat something acquired from animals if he’s an omnivore and not strictly following a plant-based diet.
Communication, compromise, and respect are the keys to any successful relationship; whether it concerns food preferences or not, if someone in the relationship is not willing to compromise or respect one’s decision, the relationship dooms to fail.
- Introductions. Having friends and co-workers that are non-vegetarians or purely vegan, being introduced as the vegan as if it is the only thing interesting about you often happens and shaking that label off is often hard.
If introduced as the vegan, immediately add something to the introduction that is interesting about you or related to work like from which department you are or how long you have been in the industry or company often does the trick.
- Social gatherings. Parties, potlucks, reunions, or any social gatherings where food most of the time is the main attraction, these two things are proved to be difficult when in the situation and those are: eating and interacting. Unless you brought a vegan-friendly meal in the event and caught eating it, being flocked by curious people wanting to know about how being vegan has worked for you could happen.
Providing a brief explanation as to why you have chosen the path of a plant-based diet without sounding like Professor Smarty Pants will give them an idea of its benefits without having to nod off the second they hear you go on about how much you love it. Do not forget to also ask about how they are during the party to redirect the question and curiosity back at them.
- Limited plant-based food choices at restaurants. Unless you are living in cities like Toronto, Montreal, Los Angeles, New York City, London, Paris, among others, where these establishments are common, eating out could be difficult since there are those that cater to the majority of meat-lovers out there and only a few to vegetarians.
Researching about restaurants that are vegan-friendly will help save you from disappointment and time from walking aimlessly especially when in an unfamiliar place.
You can search for vegetarian/vegan restaurants here: https://www.happycow.net/
I would love to know how you handled social challenges when on a vegetarian/vegan/plant-based lifestyle. If the things I have mentioned above worked for you as it did with me or you did something else other than what was suggested here, let me know in the comments below.