Shattering Myths About Plant-Based Diets #6

Continuing with our coverage of Vegan From the Inside, the 2011 survey by author Janice Stanger which explores myths about veganism, here is Myth #6 about plant-based diets. We’d love to hear what you think in the comments at the end of the article. You can read our earlier coverage here: Myth #1, Myth #2, Myth #3, Myth #4, Myth #5.

MYTH SIX: Vegans can’t enjoy eating out or other social get-togethers.

FACTS FROM THE SURVEY:
While 60.2% indicate eating out is less convenient, many respondents wrote in the strategies they have developed to overcome this.

The most common reaction that vegans see when someone learns they are animal-free is curiosity, followed by surprise and willingness to accommodate. These responses can build social bonds. In response to open-ended questions, people provided more information on these challenges on a vegan diet. One is simply the convenience factor, while the other is dealing with erroneous perceptions from others.

Most comments viewed the convenience factor as more of an annoyance that is not especially bothersome. Figuring out how to respond to people who are confused, irritated, or not accepting of their dietary choices is more troubling.

Some respondents stated they did not want to cause more work for others and did not need any special accommodations. Others found that people’s reactions varied by location, age, and relationship. No one considered changing their diet because of this one issue, which some noted is getting easier all the time as people learn about the benefits of plant-based eating.

While some people may be unaccepting of a plant-based diet, this is not the most frequent reaction. Vegans employ a wide range of game plans to positively work with the feelings of others.

IN RESPONDENTS’ OWN WORDS:
“Sometimes it is hard to find food to eat, but generally, even when traveling, I can find a delicious, healthy meal.”

“Eating out is difficult sometimes as I don’t live in a very vegan-friendly community. However, these inconveniences are small and are totally worth it to be able to live a cruelty-free life.”

“I love being a vegan, but it is definitely a social challenge… Also, it is very hard for me to watch the people I care about eat non-vegan diets – I know that it is so very unhealthy for them.”

“Traveling and eating out can be somewhat socially challenging. I often end up places where I can’t eat anything, and have to bring my own food or eat at a different time. It sucks, but I end up saving money and eating healthier foods. Aside from the social inconvenience, being vegan is pretty straightforward. It can be very frustrating to explain that I am healthy just eating plants.”

“Personally, the most difficult part about being vegan is when I am a guest for meals at another’s home. I worry about inconveniencing others with my special dietary restrictions.”

“People are incredibly interested to know what I can or cannot eat. They often think it’s ridiculous that I don’t eat meat or dairy, etc. However, after trying some of my creations (especially my vegan chocolate cake) they find that vegan food is not bland which seems to be the most common misconception I’ve encountered.”

For information on this survey or author Janice Stanger, visit: www.perfectformuladiet.com

Does this myth apply to you? If you are vegan, do you find that you no longer enjoy social get-togethers or going to eat? Share your experiences in the comments, we’ll pick one of you to win today’s Everyday Giveaway for free Earth Balance®!

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