Yes. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a well-planned vegan diet is nutritionally adequate and appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.1 Everyone should have a balanced diet to be healthy, not only vegans. In fact non-vegans may well have unbalanced diets which are not good for their health. In order to be healthy we don’t need to consume certain products, but certain nutrients. Vegans can ingest those nutrients without having to eat animal products.
Being vegan is easier than you may think. Finding vegan food and other alternative products and services that do not involve animal exploitation is increasingly easier. It is true that some people may experience a lack of support from their family or friends or may find it extra challenging to stop eating certain animal products. However, other people can help you with that, especially today, given that internet and social networks have made it possible to get information and help from many other people. It is important to identify the factors that may be hindering your transition to veganism and look for assistance and encouragement from other people.
While this can be useful, as in the case of a planned non-vegan diet, it is not necessary. A vegan diet is suitable for people of all ages and conditions. A vegan nutritionist may help plan custom menus to meet specific requirements – for instance, if you are an athlete or if you want to gain or lose a lot of weight as a vegan. It is always advised to consult a nutritionist regularly for a check-up. However, it is important to note that some nutritionists are biased and don’t know a lot about vegan nutrition. Note also that medical doctors are often not experts on nutrition.
It is usually no more expensive to be vegan than to be non-vegan. Veganism means a lot of expensive foods (such as meats and dairy products) are removed from our shopping list. Some people have the impression that vegan products are expensive because they have in mind certain products such as oat or rice drinks, vegan ice creams, or vegan burgers. However, while these products can be useful when you start being vegan if you miss certain tastes, a vegan diet doesn’t have to be based on them. In fact, even if you buy those products, you may end up paying less for your food since you won’t be buying expensive animal products. Many vegans don’t eat those products at all. In any case, a vegan diet based on grains, beans and other legumes, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables is affordable in most places in the world.
Sure. While it can be nice and convenient to sometimes buy ready-made meals or other vegan products such as vegan cheese or sausages, they aren’t necessary, and you can buy grains, legumes, vegetables, and other vegan foods anywhere today. Moreover, most if not all vegan products resembling animal products, such as vegan burgers or mayonnaise can be prepared at home with simple ingredients. A basic, nutritious vegan meal does not require any specific vegan products. Most vegans shop for food at regular local markets and supermarkets. Clothes and other products that do not involve animal exploitation can also be found at regular shops.
Rejecting speciesism implies we should respect all sentient animals regardless of species membership – each and every sentient individual matters. Animal exploitation is unfortunately widely present in our daily lives, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. Changing habits, however, can be hard for many people, so once we realize it is wrong to exploit animals, it is important to keep a clear vision about our ultimate goal to respect animals and avoid harming them as much as possible. For some people, planning and implementing new habits may be a matter of days. Other people may take longer to fully embrace a new routine. Some people start by going vegan one day per week, then two, then three, until they are finally vegan for life. Others start with one vegan meal every day, then two, etc. You can try what works best for you to make a change. Thinking about the animals who need you to do it can strengthen your willpower. Interacting with other vegans may also be very helpful during the transition to veganism.
Some vegan recipes and products try to emulate the flavor, texture, and appearance of animal products. Some people do not use those products, but others like them. Some don’t find these products totally satisfying at first, but that is still not a good reason to continue to use animals. Note that vegan products can still be really tasty, and you may not even know some of them which, when you try them, you will really love. Note also that the suffering and death of animals is a very serious issue in comparison with our more or less trivial interest in tasting some food in particular instead of other.
1 Melina, V.; Craig, W. & Levin, S. (2016) “Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian diets”, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116, pp. 1970-1980 [accessed on 8 September 2018].