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Veganism: The end

Posted May 01 2010 2:46pm

It's finally here, the end of the vegan experiment. Well, truth be told, the end came a bit early.

Following a vegan diet wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I never really felt deprived or like we were restricted to surviving off vegetables alone, although, after about a week I did really start to miss dairy. Never thought I'd say this, but I've been taking skim milk for granted all these years.

The thing about veganism is that it's not automatically a healthy diet. That is a misconception. Like meat-eaters and vegetarians, vegans, too, have to put effort into making healthy choices. As a vegan, it would be  easy to live of a diet of refined carbohydrates and high-fat foods, but certainly not healthy.

If you want to avoid processed foods while eating vegan, which is what we tried to do, it means a lot of cooking from scratch. It's not hard to find delicious, healthy vegan recipes, but all that cooking takes a lot of time and effort. Not something that's easy for everyone.
If you want to be the lazy vegan and opt for processed foods, it means a lot of label reading and an extensive knowledge of all ingredients. It often means going to different grocery stores to find what you need. For these reasons, I found it more annoying than anything. If I didn't feel like cooking, it meant a lot of extensive searching to find foods that fit the bill. Even many vegetarian foods you'd think would be fine (such as pasta sauce), often have some sort of animal by-product added for flavouring or as a preservative. B claimed he hadn't been in a good mood since we started the experiment, and I felt no different (for better or worse). After about two weeks, it got to the point where it felt like more of a self-imposed inconvenience than anything else, and thus, the vegan experiment came to an end.

So, with the click of my mouse I unsubscribe from my vegan blog subscriptions. Although some of the foods were delicious, I don't think I'll be making any of them any time soon. From now on, the only regular vegan meal in my diet will be breakfast. My ritual of natural peanut butter and whole wheat toast is always vegan (unless I have coffee with milk :) ).

The only way I can see a vegan diet being worthwhile for someone is
1) if they have a strong ethical reason for following this lifestyle, or
2) if they truly feel being vegan has benefited their health in large some way.

Failing that, I think it would be hard for anyone to find the motivation to follow such an inconvenient way of eating. For those who do follow a vegan diet for one of those reasons, or any other, and are able to do so with healthy foods and get all the nutrition they need, I commend you. It's not easy.

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