That's why the Dirty Vegan Diet is good food for thought for those struggling to go fully plant-based. It still excludes all animal products (seafood, eggs, dairy, meat, and poultry) although you can have processed foods that mimic animal-based meals. Think jackfruit calamari, soy cheese, beyond burgers and seitan chicken.
According to People magazine, the term is sometimes used to reference to those who mainly still to a vegan diet but loosen the reigns on occasion (see also: "chegan.")
“I tend to call myself a dirty vegan. I’m mostly plant-based — but if I do need to eat some meat, I’ll have it," actress Lisa Rinna told the outlet.
So... should you try the Dirty Vegan Diet?
Yes and no, depending on how often you're indulging in these faux meats.
"I wouldn’t advise having heavily processed food," Melanie Boehmer, R.D tells Men's Health.
She recommends asking yourself —sans judgement— why you prefer vegan products that look and taste like animal-based dishes. This will better help you assess your motive for adopting the eating regime. For example, do you love steak but want to eat fewer animal products for environmental reasons? If so, make sure you're chowing down on a wide variety of whole foods to ensure you meet your RDI for certain nutrients, for example, protein and iron. Or, maybe you're following a vegan diet because you think it helps with weight loss. If that's the case, know it is totally possible to reach your goals without restricting any foods.
"You have the ability to make this beautiful plate full of flavours and colours [on the vegan diet]. It can be a nutrition bomb in the best way," she says. That said, if you find yourself replacing well-balanced meals with less nutritious options, say, a grilled chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread vs a plate of deep-fried faux cheese, this might not be the best option for you.
Noted. But what *is* the best way to go vegan if you're finding it too strict?
Start simple, says Boehmer. Why not try your hand at meat-free Mondays or even going plant-based for one meal per week? Then, come up with a list of your favourite recipes and make some simple swaps. Beef bolognese tastes epic when made with lentils and a bean-based pasta is a simple way to sneak in extra nutrients.
She also recommends avoiding super complicated recipes. "If you make this easy for yourself, then it’s going to be easy," she adds.