Like the fat-free trend of the '90s, and gluten-free everything going mainstream in the last five years, the vegan diet is having its moment right now. Whether you’ve been confronted with ethical, environmental, or heath reasons, going vegan can be a convincing lifestyle choice. However, like many things in our society, the honorable idea of adapting veganism can be misleading. Whether you’re pondering your current dietary choices or have been vegan for years, here’s a refresher on what not to do. 

1. Relying on Vegan Junk Food

chocolate, tea, milk, coffee, sweet
Kaitlyn Eisenshtadt

A doughnut is a doughnut, whether it’s made from animal products or not. Food magazine Bon Appetit says it best: “the more mainstream a diet becomes, the more the food industry capitalizes on it — meaning convenience and packaged foods pop up everywhere you turn.”

Regardless of bakeries churning out vegan cakes, ice cream, and other treats, let us not forget that many of our favorite indulgences, such as Oreos and gummy candies, have been vegan all along. Just to clarify, a sleeve of the chocolate sandwich cookies does not count as a cruelty-free breakfast.

2. Stocking Up On Meat Substitutes

tofu, meat, sweet, chicken, bread, pastry
Anna Hirschorn

Containing lists of ingredients, meat substitutes often aren’t worth the protein they supply. Most products rely on soy as their filler, a substance that nutritionists are frequently connecting more harmful heath affects to. Instead, try to utilize plant-based proteins, such as quinoa, beans, barley, tempeh; the opportunities (and recipes) are endless.

3. Disregarding Nutritional Essentials

jar of nuts, Whole Foods, make your own trail mix, banana chips, nut, nuts, Trail mix
Shelby Cohron

From iron to protein, the nutritional benefits meat provides Americans make it a dietary staple. These nutrients can easily be received from plant-based sources. Where many assume that vegans rely strictly on fruits and vegetables for sustenance, this would be detrimental to their health. It is essential for vegans to get the nutrients animal products supply. Luckily, this is easily done through whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats (such as coconut oil or avocados).

4. Forgetting About Fat

rosemary, oil, tea, herb, olive oil
Jessica Kelly

Key to making us feel full, fat is essential to everyone’s diet. Healthy fats are found in animal products, such as steak or salmon, and is also easily added to vegan diets. Whether it be through a handful of nuts or a drizzle of olive oil over pasta, vegans can’t forget their fats.

5. Making Your Own Substitution Rules

rice, milk, sweet, cereal
Heather Feibleman

There are some really stellar baking substitutions for vegans – such as flax or chia seeds for eggs and coconut oil for butter. However, taking these discoveries as confidence to freestyle your own creative alternatives is discouraged. Rather than making your own call on what’s really necessary for a vegan molten cake, leave the experimenting for the professionals to prevent baking flops.

6. Ignoring Hunger

Hungry, Snack, yogurt, milk, berry, strawberries, midnight snack, mini fridge, fridge, tea, strawberry
Denise Uy

A consequence of not enough healthy fats and protein in one’s diet is the constant lack of satisfaction and fullness. It is essential for those following a plant-based diet to be checking in with their overall health, especially energy levels, to ensure they are giving their body the fuel it needs to function. For a vegan snack that will satisfy, check out these noms.

7. Judging Non-Vegans

meat, pepper, tofu, stir-fry, vegetable
Katherine Baker

No one enjoys being preached at, whether on religious views or culinary habits. If you have experienced health benefits or personal gratification through your veganism, that is awesome. As your friends, we celebrate this with you. However, let your improved health, peace of mind, and overall glow speak for itself. This is the most convincing argument, I promise.

Eating a vegan diet can be very beneficial, but you should make healthy choices to reap all the benefits. Avoid some of these faux pas and you should be right on track to living a healthy, happy, and animal cruelty-free life.