1. It’s bland.
Think about it. When you cook a chicken breast, do you just eat it plain? Or do you season it with spices, herbs, or condiments? I’m willing to bet that over 90% of the seasoning agents you use are plant-based. Flavor doesn’t come from animal foods – it comes from plants! And these same spices, herbs, and condiments can be applied to plant foods. Think of all the different types of flavorful ethnic foods. Mediterranean, Indian, and Thai food all have plenty of vegan or vegan-compatible choices.
2. It’s boring.
“But don’t you ever get bored?” I think this one comes about because the SAD diet is really the opposite of the whole-foods vegan diet. The majority of the population has a hard time thinking beyond animal products because they really just have no concept of what else is out there.
There are dozens of types of legumes, my favorites being lentils, adzuki beans, black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, and chickpeas. Grains and pseudograins I regularly consume include quinoa, millet, teff, brown rice, corn, oats, amaranth, and buckwheat. Starchy vegetables: sweet potato and potato, winter squashes, rutabaga, turnips, parsnip, and beets. When you add to that thousands of varieties of produce, there really is no end to the combinations you can create.
This is also a great time in history to be vegan. No, not because there are more processed veggie meats on the market than ever before. Because “vegan” is enjoying a spot in the limelight right now. Whether it’s due to Ellen DeGeneres or Bill Clinton, vegan has become almost mainstream and that means more vegan resources and cookbooks for you. You will never run out of recipes to try, and ideas for quick, tasty meals are always right at your fingertips if you have access to the internet. Mainstream restaurants are even starting to wise-up to this and offer vegan-friendly selections.
3. It’s expensive.
“But vegetables are expensive.” I’ve got news for you; eating produce isn’t a vegan issue – it’s a human one. I don’t need more produce just because I’m plant-based! We should all be eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. If anything, being plant-based can be cheaper than a “healthy” omnivorous diet if you make dried bulk items like legumes and grains the caloric lynchpin of your meals. If you compare the $1/pound cost of dry beans and rice (which easily double in volume when cooked) to the cost per pound of meat, I think you will see that being vegan can be very cost effective.
This discussion wouldn’t be complete without bringing up the unseen cost of cheap meat – many people don’t realize that animal products are heavily subsidized. In the early 20th century, meat was expensive and therefore only took up a small portion of the American plate. Without going into any ethical or environmental issues, we are paying taxes to the government to fund “cheap” meat.
There is also the matter of paying up front for health later – I’d rather pay a little extra for veggies than chip up dollars for medication or hospital visits later in life. Diabetes and heart disease are not friendly on the pocketbook.
Conclusion. Take a second to think about what I have said here. Because the next time someone says one of these statements without truly thinking it through, it’s your turn to set them straight.