Going vegan seems to be the new fad — at least according to all the vegan-centric Instagram accounts and YouTube videos I’ve seen lately. You constantly hear the phrases “high-carb, low-fat” and “rawtill4” and “carb-up” thrown around. You unavoidably hear about all the wonderful and miraculous weight loss and acne clearing stories. And, naturally, you begin wondering whether you should go vegan. Should you? Well, here’s six things you should consider before completely upending your diet regime.
1. “If I go vegan, it doesn’t matter how much I eat, I won’t gain weight, right?”
Wrong. As much as I wish that statement were true, there is just no getting around the simple law of energetics: if you eat more calories than you expend, you will gain weight. It doesn’t matter where the calories come from — be it from fruit or from chicken. There is no magical loophole. So, if you were planning on stuffing yourself silly with all things not animal related, think again.
2. Fruits and vegetables are expensive.
As penny-pinching college students, we don’t have the luxury of stocking our pantries with infinite amounts of fresh fruits and veggies and all those other dairy and meat substitutes that make the vegan lifestyle compelling. We can barely afford our daily lattes as it is, not to mention avocados.
3. You’ll have gassy problems.
Everyone’s body reacts differently to different types of foods. Vegan diets are typically high in fiber and depend mainly on soy and legumes for protein. While fiber is good for you and your intestinal tract, sometimes it’s a bit too good, and your body can’t handle all the fiber you’re shoveling in. And so, you run into some unpleasant…gassy…problems. Ditto soy and legumes, which have quite the rep as gas producers. To avoid embarrassing situations in public, you might want to avoid these foods at all costs.
4. It takes a toll on your social life.
Unless you intentionally surround yourself with similar-minded vegan people, eating out anywhere is a pain. Normal restaurants usually don’t have many — if any at all — vegan options. And, vegan restaurants hold little attraction to those not converted to the lifestyle. Frankly, it’s a pain in the ass to have lunch dates, or dinner dates, if your friends aren’t remotely supportive of veganism.
5. You’ll miss your dairy.
You will be hard-pressed to give up dairy and its derivatives. Period. Unless you’re a devout supporter of no cruelty to cows and other livestock (cue: Cowspiracy), you’re going to miss your brownies, your hot chocolate, your croissants, your ice cream, and more. And soon, you’ll find yourself asking why the French people can enjoy their cheese and pastries and cafe au laits, and stay svelte. In other words, you’re going to be pretty freakin’ depressed. For a full list of foods you’d probably miss if you went vegan, click here.
6. You gotta remember to take your supplements.
While a proper plant-based vegan diet is undeniably healthier than the traditional omnivorous diet, the truth of the matter is that some vitamins can only be found in animal-based foods. Vitamin B12 being the most important one. If you’re not getting enough B12, your body is going to start developing some pretty nasty health problems (such as B12 deficiency), and the symptoms can include difficulty walking, numbness, and hallucinations just to name a few. Worried yet?