Why don't people stay vegan after trying it?

EddyBC

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Hi everyone!

I've only just joined so thought I would get the ball rolling! Something that's been on my mind recently is why people who try a vegan diet don't stay on it long-term? Especially with the growing popularity of things like Veganuary in the UK.

I'm vegan, and I've found it pretty easy to stick to for the most part but I know everyone has different experiences of it for very different reasons. If you've tried Veganuary (or something similar) but didn't continue with a vegan diet, why not?

Thanks all!

*I'm actually looking into this for a university project too, so if you're interested in filling out my survey then I'd really appreciate it! Here's the link if you have a spare minute: Why do people not continue with a vegan diet long-term?
 

Morning Glory

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Hi EddyBC and welcome to CookingBites. :welcome:

I'm not vegan but my son who used to live with me was, so I have cooked and continue to cook a lot of vegan meals. When my son moved out (he is at University as a mature student) he tried to stay vegan but found it was simply too expensive. Although, of course, meat is expensive, eggs, cheese, milk etc. aren't. In my view, its much 'cheaper' to be vegetarian, than it is to be vegan.

You can of course eat quite cheaply as a vegan if you forgo cheese substitutes and don't buy specialist vegan products to replace meat - but it really requires a lot of cooking skill and some specialist (and quite expensive) store cupboard ingredients, such as miso paste., nutritional yeast etc.

In a nutshell I think there are probably three basic reasons why people don't stick to it.

  1. They never really intended to - they regarded veganuary as a 'health break'.
  2. They found it too expensive to buy ready-made vegan products and didn't have the necessary store-cupboard ingredients to add 'umami' taste to basic food.
  3. They lacked cooking skills
I tried to fill in your survey but because I haven't ever been on a vegan diet, I couldn't proceed after the first question!
 

TastyReuben

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I think it's a complex and somewhat loaded question, though. It implies people don't stay vegan and are going to turn back at some point, which I don't think necessarily true, as I know plenty of long-term veganeers. It also touches on why people are vegan in the first place.

I was near vegan for a year, but it wasn't one of those "I now declare I am almost VEGAN!" moments. I'd gotten way too fat, developed diabetes, and the doctor told me to lose some weight, and instead of measuring this and counting that and trying to remember that a bagel can be worse than a doughnut, I just said, "Screw it, fruit and veg for the next year," and that's what I did. 365 days (and about 80 pounds) later, I eased back into being an omnivore.

I have a niece and her husband, very militantly vegan for several years, the handcuff-yourself-to-a-turkey-farm type, they do a lot of activism, and even she had to revert back after getting pregnant and having some difficulty with that. She lives in Southern California, an extremely vegan-friendly place, and her (vegan) OB/GYN told her, "You're not eating vegan for the remainder of your pregnancy). She slipped off and now she's back at it.

Things, just from listening to my family and friends who are vegan, that seem to prove difficult are:

1. Lack of quality of convenience foods (though everyone loves the Impossible Whopper)
2. Having to prepare more from scratch
3. Expense of fresh foods (usually compounded by choosing to buy organic everything)
4. Lack of choice of vegan options on mainstream restaurant menus (oh, great, my choices are, bean burger, salad, and salad as a wrap)

That's what I hear them complain about mostly, that and the constant negative public perception about veganism.
 

EddyBC

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Completely agree that the meat substitutes and specialist vegan products can be very expensive! I think I only ever have these types of products when I'm eating out, as they can be unreasonably expensive to consume on a regular basis. Combined with a lack of time or lack of skill in the kitchen, price likely has a huge impact.[/QUOTE]
 

EddyBC

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I think it's a complex and somewhat loaded question, though. It implies people don't stay vegan and are going to turn back at some point, which I don't think necessarily true, as I know plenty of long-term veganeers. It also touches on why people are vegan in the first place.

I was near vegan for a year, but it wasn't one of those "I now declare I am almost VEGAN!" moments. I'd gotten way too fat, developed diabetes, and the doctor told me to lose some weight, and instead of measuring this and counting that and trying to remember that a bagel can be worse than a doughnut, I just said, "Screw it, fruit and veg for the next year," and that's what I did. 365 days (and about 80 pounds) later, I eased back into being an omnivore.

I have a niece and her husband, very militantly vegan for several years, the handcuff-yourself-to-a-turkey-farm type, they do a lot of activism, and even she had to revert back after getting pregnant and having some difficulty with that. She lives in Southern California, an extremely vegan-friendly place, and her (vegan) OB/GYN told her, "You're not eating vegan for the remainder of your pregnancy). She slipped off and now she's back at it.

Things, just from listening to my family and friends who are vegan, that seem to prove difficult are:

1. Lack of quality of convenience foods (though everyone loves the Impossible Whopper)
2. Having to prepare more from scratch
3. Expense of fresh foods (usually compounded by choosing to buy organic everything)
4. Lack of choice of vegan options on mainstream restaurant menus (oh, great, my choices are, bean burger, salad, and salad as a wrap)

That's what I hear them complain about mostly, that and the constant negative public perception about veganism.
Agreed it is a big question! Just to confirm I don't mean to imply anything by that. I'm referring more to those who just 'try' the diet, such as through Veganuary. For example, it's become so popular now (especially in the UK) that many people attempt it just because of its popularity, but ultimately won't continue past it.

Your 4th point is very, very true in many restaurants (unfortunately for me)! But I've found lots of places near me which are becoming more friendly to it and are bringing out dedicated Vegan menus. So it's only a matter of time hopefully before you get some real choice.
 

Morning Glory

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Your 4th point is very, very true in many restaurants (unfortunately for me)! But I've found lots of places near me which are becoming more friendly to it and are bringing out dedicated Vegan menus. So it's only a matter of time hopefully before you get some real choice.
I'd say there has been a phenomenal change in restaurant menus in the UK over the last two years with regard to veganism. In fact, you would be hard pushed to find any restaurant where I live in Kent which doesn't offer vegan dishes. Many offer whole vegan menus and quite imaginative ones too.

Of course, now there are no restaurants open anyway!
 

Saranak

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Ciao e Benvenuto Eddie,
I have respect what you do. In Napulitana meats and seafood is very big part of my culture as same in most of Italia. I to be honest think we are made to eat both vegetable and meats, as some one say omnivore. Si, I make some dishes with only vegetable but this only usually a side dish. This is no choice I make for husband, bambini and me.

In reality terms we waste no part of animal, fish or anything, there is saying in Napoli, if woman can use moo off cow she would. I some time have problem with factory farming. Yes I find it cruel yet realise with amount people who need food, this may be necessary evil. Friend say cow have little or no natural predator now, so what do with millions cattle? I always get natural raise meats organic, animals that have life outside not in factory, same as I buy vegetable with no chemicals spray on them.

Mi dispiace but I cannot imagine life without meats and seafood. If a person make choice from convictions, I respect those if make from "is fashion" I do not. I make many post for recipes that all include meats or seafoods here, forgive if I offend you.

I can not take survey.
I wish you well.

Sarana x
 
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EddyBC

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I'd say there has been a phenomenal change in restaurant menus in the UK over the last two years with regard to veganism. In fact, you would be hard pushed to find any restaurant where I live in Kent which doesn't offer vegan dishes. Many offer whole vegan menus and quite imaginative ones too.

Of course, now there are no restaurants open anyway!
Quite right! There are many options available now, but it must have been very difficult for vegans 10, 20 or more years ago. Hard to imagine!
 

Morning Glory

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it must have been very difficult for vegans 10, 20 or more years ago. Hard to imagine!
Very. Our site owner SatNavSaysStraightOn has been vegan (with eggs - veggan) for a very long time so she should know. I was vegetarian for many years (from age 11 to 20). The only restaurant food worth eating if you were a vegetarian in those days was Indian. In fact, a lot of Indian food is vegan.
 

TastyReuben

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The only restaurant food worth eating if you were a vegetarian in those days was Indian. In fact, a lot of Indian food is vegan.
That's a really good point. Another nephew and his wife tried being vegan for a couple of years, then finally fessed up that they had stopped because so many options that were "naturally" vegan (meaning, it wasn't a dish that had been converted from a meat dish, like a lentil-based meatloaf) were from cuisines that were outside their comfort zone, and they felt limited by their own palates. I think it helps to be naturally adventurous if you're going to make the switch.
 

Morning Glory

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I think it helps to be naturally adventurous if you're going to make the switch.
Indian food runs in our blood in the UK. Why do you think Yorky who lives in Thailand cooks so many Indian curries? So..well its not so adventurous for us. But delicious it most definitely is as well as possibly misunderstood in other countries. Curries are not about curry powder, or heat. They're about layers of subtle and complex flavour.

And here speaks a chilli-head who can eat the hottest curries possible (phals). :D:pepper:
 

rascal

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Indian food runs in our blood in the UK. Why do you think Yorky who lives in Thailand cooks so many Indian curries? So..well its not so adventurous for us. But delicious it most definitely is as well as possibly misunderstood in other countries. Curries are not about curry powder, or heat. They're about layers of subtle and complex flavour.

And here speaks a chilli-head who can eat the hottest curries possible (phals). :D:pepper:
My kids are like you, love heat, we made samosas yesterday, daughter held back some mixture and added 2 bhuja kita? Sp, hot chillies and two green Birdseye chillies. She nipped corners with a fork so we know which ones are hers and our sons ones.

We will see next time I cook them.

Russ
 

summer57

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Indian food makes it much easier to be vegan. You can do so much with chickpeas, dal, vegies, chutney and the spices.

Curries are not about curry powder, or heat. They're about layers of subtle and complex flavour.
And definitely, Indian spices are about layers of flavour, it does not have to be hot. Some non-hot ingredients I use are powdered dried mango (amchur), fresh fenugreek (methi), mint, onion seed - but it does help to live near an Indian community so you can get the ingredients.
 
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