Although more people are resorting to plant-based dietary changes, research reveals that the diet has its fair share of challenges. An 11% increase in plant-based food retail within twelve months proves this lifestyle is catching on with the population. While such diets are mostly based on a personal choice to eat healthier, it’s important to know more about them before jumping in. Knowing the challenges that may come with this diet will equip you with the information you need to get the most benefits from this helpful diet. Below are some common challenges you may experience on your wellness journey if you’re on a plant-based diet.
- Meeting nutritional needs
The Society for Nutrition has continually hammered on the increasing number of essential nutrient deficiencies among sections of the population. While transitioning to a plant-based diet, you must carefully consider your reasons for starting. First, are you moving towards an all-plant-based diet as your primary food source? Knowing the concerns surrounding vital nutrient deficiency would be best if that’s the case. Indeed, plants contain highly beneficial micro and macronutrients, but they tend to lack some, compared to animal-sourced diets. For example, Vitamin B12 is naturally present in animal food sources like eggs, cheese, milk, and meat, but not necessarily so in plants. That is why it’s been a major concern in vegan food discussions. Many vegans’ Vitamin B12 can only be sourced through fortified cereals and soy products. Now that you know this, you must have a backup plan to meet all essential nutritional needs when you switch to wholly plant-based diets. An easier option would be to explore natural and organic supplements like Juice Plus, which address these nutritional deficits.
- Societal pressure
A report published in the Vegan Trade Journal says societal pressure is the most difficult thing to face in this lifestyle. According to many vegans, the constant judgment of dietary choices stems from a possible lack of awareness of this lifestyle. Unfortunately, this increases the risk of social isolation, especially when you want to avoid such pressures. If these emotions are left unmanaged, you will notice a growing apprehension towards social events or eating at restaurants. Although many eateries have made room to include vegan and vegetarian dishes in their menu, you may prefer takeout to eat in solitude. It helps to clearly communicate your needs to others to overcome these pressures. If you’re attending garden parties and other social events, make your dietary preferences known in advance. You can also find a group of like-minded vegans to make your transition easier.
- The amount of time and preparation
Another thing you must know is the time it takes to prepare plant-based meals. Compared to processed and regular meals, plant foods may need more preparation time, especially when cooking from scratch. For example, some that must be eaten without any heat source must be thoroughly washed and often soaked in one cup of white vinegar diluted in water, which can take up to 15 minutes to get rid of microorganisms. Undoubtedly, this can be challenging if your daily schedules are packed. Fortunately, batch cooking on the weekends can prevent time wastage. It also gives you ample time to vary your plant-based meals and make them as delicious as you want. When you have time, you can experiment with other healthy recipes to incorporate into your diet. Another easier option is to opt for meal prep kits for plant-based foods.
- The cost factor
Cost is another factor to consider when you streamline your meals and make them significantly different from regular ones. Believe it or not, chicken and other animal products can be cheaper than plant-based foods. Processed foods are cheaper due to the high consumption numbers. In sharp contrast, wholly plant-based foods are consumed by a section of the public, which makes them costlier. Maintaining this dietary preference can be challenging if you are on a tight budget. Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom, especially because there are affordable plant-based food options. Beans, lentils, and whole grains are easy on the pocket and can give you varied meals as long as you know what to do. If this is your lifestyle choice, it can be worth the effort if you know how to navigate these challenges. Your body needs all the nutrients it can get from your food choices; therefore, remember to choose wisely.
The above challenges can give you the insight to adequately prepare for a plant-based diet to achieve the best results.