When people think about veganism, they feel that it is full of sacrifices - no chocolate, no cheese, no steak! However, this is not the case at all! There are many products available which are similar to these animal products suitable for vegans, and taste almost the same or better. There are great cheese substitutes that grill up perfectly, without the greasiness of dairy cheese, I know which one I'd prefer. And what about soy chocolate? I know some might say "Soy chocolate? Yuck!" but it truly tastes just like dairy chocolate! And you are not just limited to plain soy chocolate, what about soya chocolate with almonds, rice crackle or white chocolate. Plus soy chocolate is so much better for you, with reduced fat and sugar content and provides many health benefits as well.
Now let's talk about milk alternatives. To the novice, soy milk may seem distasteful, after all its just ground soy beans and water. There are alternatives to soy milk, such as rice milk and almond milk, but after trying these you may appreciate the taste of soya milk. Soy milk has increased in popularity over the last couple of years, which is great for the consumer as we now have many different brands, types eg. reduced fat, no fat and also some brands have introduced flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, cappuccino, and strawberry. So if you don't like the plain, try one of the flavored varieties, especially the vanilla flavor, as it is a subtle flavor and doesn't disguise the taste of the soy milk too much. Really, once you get to used to it, you will probably find that there is no way you could go back to cow's milk. You could also try introducing it into your cooking, until you get used to the slightly nutty taste. Remember though, this is soy milk and does not taste anything like cow's milk, so it is good to have an open mind before you try it.
Veganism is definitely an easy feat to achieve, especially if you take your side blinkers off and are prepared to step out of your comfort zone and try some new foods. People who are dependent on their weekend barbecues or easy weeknight take-outs may find it a lot harder to change their habits to suit a vegan's needs. At first you may find it hard to give up foods which were part of your daily diet, but you can learn to explore new foods, new flavors, and new ways of cooking! Turning vegan can be exciting when you think about all the products that you have probably never tried that are beneficial to your health in your new diet.
In terms of nutrition, you must ensure you obtain enough essential vitamins and minerals. Things that vegans generally need to make sure they are getting enough of are protein, iron, and vitamin B12 as these are normally found primarily in meat and dairy. However, if you learn to include vegan foods rich in such nutrients as regular parts of your diet, you can guarantee you won't be lacking. Such nutrient rich foods include fortified soy milk (which is also an excellent source of calcium), nuts, beans and legumes, and of course, vegetables.
Remember, have fun with becoming vegan and step outside of your comfort zone - try new dishes, flavors, spices and ingredients that you would never have explored in your non-vegan world. No, veganism is not hard at all, in fact it is a very enjoyable and rewarding lifestyle change.