How to Answer the Six Most Frequently Asked Vegan Questions
As soon as you decide to adopt a vegan lifestyle, you’ll start turning heads. Your friends and family will be full of questions. They want to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. This is usually the case, of course, if you didn’t grow up in a vegan family.
At this moment in history, being vegan means being in the minority. People start having opinions on your life when you never asked for them or when your decision affects them in zero ways.
There are tons of questions you’ll get asked, some more often than others. Some will be asked with genuine curiosity and the rest will likely be peppered with judgment. Fear not, this is a blueprint for navigating the most common questions new (and seasoned) vegans get asked most frequently.
Whether you went vegan for the animals, you made the change for your health, you adopted this new lifestyle once you learned about global warming, or all of the above, you’re doing something most people aren’t willing to. When they see you make a dramatic change, especially regarding health, they will likely have a visceral reaction (it may be their guilty conscience talking or it could be their fear of change).
If you’re ready for these questions, it’ll help you from feeling weird, attacked, or question the decision you’ve made.
1. Aren’t you worried about getting enough protein?
This is by far the most asked question vegans get probed with, so much so that it’s an ongoing joke in the vegan community. It’s a common misconception that once you go vegan, your protein intake vanishes.
This, my friend, is absolutely not the case.
Plant protein is present in so many foods that we often over-proteinize ourselves believing in a personal shortage. It’s actually unbelievable how easy it is to get your daily-recommended fix of protein that you’ll start laughing when the question genuinely comes up.
According to this article, “The current international Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 g per kg of body weight.” The article also mentions how crucial it is for humans to start eating sustainable proteins since animal proteins are greatly impacting the environment.
I think this speaks volumes.
When people ask you about your intake of protein (why, by the way, do they suddenly start caring when you go vegan? No one usually gives a shit if non-vegans are getting enough protein in their diet, so…why now?), you can politely inform them that protein is in both animal products and in plants. You can tell them that you get your protein from any of the following foods (without innocently slaughtering a sentient being – oooohh snap, vegan jab there!)
Seitan (richest plant protein source on this list)
Edamame (pre-mature soy beans)
If you end up memorizing this list and spitting that out at someone, please video it and send it to us here or tag us in it (@cravingapeace). ‘Cause that would be hilaaarious!
2. Do you miss eating meat?
If you understand why going vegan is such an impactful decision, you likely won’t look at meat the same as you used to. You’ll see the animal it came from rather than as an appealing dish or the fact that it’s flesh, not just dinner. You likely wouldn’t eat another human or your dog, so what makes a sirloin steak that came from a cow any different?
When someone asks you if you miss eating meat, you can respond with something along the lines of, “To be honest, I don’t see meat in the same way as I used to. It doesn’t have the same appealing effect, especially since I can now imagine how it got to my plate whereas I didn’t ever think about that before.”
If you do miss eating meat, then be honest. I know a lot of people have a hard time letting go of a lifelong habit, but I’d suggest going back to your “why” for why you went vegan in the first place; it makes it easier and more sustainable.
3. Was it hard to go vegan?
The honest answer, for me, is that the first two days were hard, but mostly because I didn’t know what to eat. After I did some research, no, it wasn’t hard. I just had to train myself to shop differently, meal plan with a new approach, and read menus with a changed set of eyes. Some think that’s hard to do, but when you’ve come to grips with why it’s so important to go vegan, you no longer see it as a sacrifice and more as a privilege.
I’m fortunate I get to live somewhere that provides vegan options in stores and restaurants. I feel empowered knowing I am not contributing to the pain and suffering of innocent animals, and I can sleep at night knowing my carbon footprint has shrunk almost entirely (I can’t quite afford an electric car just yet).
Whatever your reason(s) are for going vegan, keep that close to your heart and remember it when people ask you this specific question. Bad health is worth changing your life to overcome; animal cruelty sucks; and global warming is real. How can they argue with that?
4. Is it more expensive being vegan?
Oh, I love this question, mostly because I used to think being vegan was an expensive lifestyle too before I made the change myself. But, that was because I only knew vegan food to be a foreign, fancy diet that I didn’t quite understand. Just like the gluten free peeps that have to pay an arm and a leg for a damn loaf of bread. They shouldn’t have to pay more for an allergy! Ok, rant over (I got your back, though, celiacs and gluten allergic homies).
If you think about it, when you go to a salad bar or order a generic meal at a restaurant, doesn’t it cost extra for the meat options? When you get pizza, doesn’t the meat cost more than the veggies to be topped on your cheesy pie? Vegan Pad Thai is cheaper than Chicken Pad Thai, at least where we order from.
However, I do know that ordering coffee with regular cow’s milk is usually cheaper than almond milk or other milk alternatives, and vegan cheese costs more than cow’s milk cheese, so I acknowledge that.
We can sit here and nitpick all day, but when you nickel and dime it, on average, it’s not a massive difference…except when vegan health bills end up being lower (oooohh, vegan jab #2…mwahaha).
When you really line things up, you can be an extravagant shopper as a meat eater and as a vegan. You can also live on the cheap as either a carnivore or as an herbivore. If you substitute your $10 portion of steak at the grocery store for a bunch of in-season veggies and a few new spices, your meal has already gotten more exciting for the same cost.
Try to shop for fruits and veggies in season and plan your meals around them. Take note of how much you’re eating out, too, and cook at home & meal plan as much as you can.
To get to the bottom of this question, my boyfriend, two non-vegan friends, and I did a bit of a shopping experiment. We compared two weeks of basic shopping in a vegan household versus a meat-eating household and this is what happened…click here!
When people ask you this question, tell them the truth about any significant difference in your food spending. I personally don’t believe it’s a massive difference, but if you’ve had a different experience, please tell me in the comments below!
5. How do you feel about the fact that your food is my food’s food?
General jokes about veganism can be frustrating, especially if they come from a co-worker, neighbor, or even your boss. It’s annoying mostly because you can’t always fire back what you really want to say like you can with your closest friends.
You’ll have to gauge how to respond in each scenario, but speak in a way that’ll be specifically impactful to the person in front of you. No one really likes a preachy vegan, mostly because it pokes at people’s guilty consciences and people don’t like feeling bad about the decisions they enjoy making.
Taking a different approach often makes a bigger impact.
Laughing them off and moving on is one way to combat these jokes (usually if you can’t be bothered responding). Another is to come up with a joke that puts carnivores at the butt of it all, or you can jokingly shower them with facts or funny brags like, “You laugh now, but I’m gonna live till I’m 150, so joke’s on you!”
Again, gauge the situation, the person, and your relationship with them and how far you can push it. If they’re just poking fun at you and it actually is funny (which typically only passes with good friends), have a laugh. However, when people are intentionally making jokes because they think you deserve to be made fun of for a world-peace-kinda-lifestyle (big claim, I know), then they’re obviously not woken up yet and don’t realize the importance of why being vegan is actually the coolest thing you can do for yourself, animals, and the whole damn planet.
(Have I told you vegans I think you’re on the right side of humanity yet? I’ll explore that more in another post, but I just want to remind you of that right now. You rock.)
6. Have you noticed any changes to your body?
I don’t know about you, but I definitely noticed myself finding more energy that I never had as a meat-eater. No more afternoon slumps. No more naps after big meals. No more food comas that make you reconsider everything about your life while you’re wallowed in a soft couch. No more nighttime meat sweats. And, no more swelling in your face you didn’t know was there until it’s gone. Those are just a few things I’ve happily forfeited with this whole vegan thing.
In the documentary What the Health on Netflix, they cover a lot of stories that show dramatic physical changes in people once they switch to a plant-based diet. Some of them are seriously jaw dropping. If you haven’t seen it yet, get your butt to Netflixland right now.
The best way to respond to this question is to speak honestly about the changes you did or didn’t feel in yourself. Some people feel more dramatic shifts internally and externally than others, but take note of it if you’re a new vegan. If you’re not a new vegan and can’t remember what happened to your body when you went vegan, then be honest as well. I recommend trying to slide some stories or facts into the conversation you’re having about it since people are often very oblivious to the health benefits of going vegan (especially like how it can prevent and cure some cancers…I feel like that should be plastered EVERYWHERE!)
Okay, go forth and answer vegan questions like a champ. I personally believe you’re a solid human if you’ve chosen a vegan lifestyle and I applaud you for your choice. The positive impact you’re making legitimately means you’re leaving the world a better place than you found it. You’re fucking awesome.
Remember, no one likes a preachy vegan, so live by example, be humble, and don’t police people. They’ll get there; you’ll just have to leave a breadcrumb trail to accelerate the process ;). We got this, veg family!
Was this list helpful? Would you take a different approach to answering any of these questions? What other questions do you get asked regularly? Tell me in the comments below!