Can I be vegan and [gluten-free, allergic, diabetic, etc.]? {{ currentPage ? currentPage.title : "" }}

Understandably, if somebody already has dietary restrictions, it can seem super intimidating to willingly impose yet another restriction on top of that by becoming vegan. Fair enough!

However, even though it might seem intimidating, keep in mind that there are also costs to not becoming vegan. As I discuss a bit here, in the “we’ve discovered something helpful” section, I didn’t realize how much emotional effort I had been spending to maintain my fraught relationship with animals until I finally decided to tackle it head-on and reassess my choices. Paradoxically, once I added the ‘restriction’ of veganism, I actually gained a lot of mental and emotional freedom.

Depending on what your dietary considerations are, a vegan diet may even be helpful for treating or managing your condition, such as diabetes or heart disease. (And don’t forget that veganism is a ‘cure’ for lactose intolerance!)

While it’s true that many vegan dishes contain nuts or gluten, I’ve seen people with these allergies/sensitivities navigate quite well. The internet is your friend! There are tons of recipes online that are keyworded for both vegan ingredients and other dietary restrictions, or that can easily be modified. Plus, if you’re going to a veg-friendly dinner/potluck/event, I’ve found that those folks are particularly cognizant of allergies and are great at labeling, since they’re already used to being ingredient-conscious with regard to animal ingredients. Personally I have some sort of sensitivity to most of the store-bought imitation meats and cheeses, which means that I have been ‘forced’ to cook more at home, or to seek out cuisines that are already delicious without these items (which is probably better for my health in the long run, anyway).

As with any big dietary change, particularly if you already have complex health considerations, it’s a good idea to run things by your doctor first. But every doc I’ve had since becoming vegan has encouraged me to continue, and they often say that they wish they had more patients who would cut down on animal products. While I didn’t make this change specifically for health reasons, the health improvements I’ve gotten as a result are certainly a nice bonus prize.

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