Hear me out: deciding to change one’s lifestyle is easy. Making it last is a whole other ball game. As part of the Very Veggie Movement, we’ve decided to ask vegetarians and vegans (both former and current) for their raw, honest feedback on their dietary journeys. What’s helped them stay the course? What factors have made their experience problematic? How can they be avoided or overcome? But, really: what pearls of wisdom do new or continuing vegetarians and vegans need for the best chance at success? Read on to find out.
First things first. Survey respondents identified as…
Many of them had also been long-time vegetarians or vegans (including cumulative time for those who’d lapsed)…
Then, they told us what their biggest motivations for going vegetarian and vegan were – and still are.
When it came to getting social, the greatest number of respondents told us that having peer support – be it through a vegetarian/vegan group or association, or friends and family – has power.
Respondents also told us when they felt their diet made them ‘stick out’ among their peers, and how they navigated.
Aside from clear labeling on menus, respondents mostly agreed that this would make their experience dining out easier:
At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to stay at home more than ever before, and, in many instances, with omnivores. How do vegetarians and vegans find harmony at home?
By far, the top 9 kitchen staples included…
1. plant-based milks
3. nuts + nut butters
5. nutritional yeast
7. tempeh & seitan
8. vegetarian ‘meat’
9. sweet potatoes
Vegetarians and vegans also infamously lack vitamin B-12 (commonly found in meat). How do some approach this potential pitfall?
According to the Humane Research Council, 84% of people in the U.S. abandon their vegetarian/vegan diet within the first year. Respondents told us how many times they’d lapsed personally:
Why had a majority left their diet at least once? Top three reasons included:
1. Lack of support from others
2. Dietary choice felt like a burden to others
3. Lack of satisfying options available
Thinking about all this, we asked respondents what they wish they knew when they first started their journey, what they’ve loved most about it all, and what you can look forward to, too:
Note to design team: A text box here, similar to the ones we added in the recipes!
Learn more about how to transition to a vegetarian or vegan diet, including helpful tips and recipes, at veryveggiemovement.org