Happy Sunday Wanderers!
Although I have written a blogpost about my personal journey and ultimate decision to go vegan, I am often asked how to go vegan. Although there is no concrete path to veganism and no perfect way to be vegan, I do believe there is a certain flow of doing things that will make the transition from your current life into veganism more comfortable. This article may also be intriguing if you've always admired the vegan lifestyle but thought you could never do it yourself. The truth of the matter is, going vegan is actually very easy, but there are definitely things you can do to make the transition easier on yourself!
Step 1: Educate
You might be thinking about veganism and saying to yourself that it would be a nice thing to do, but you just simply don't believe in yourself to do so and don't have the proper motivation to make the leap. This is why step one in the process is educating yourself. Firstly you need a clear definition of what veganism is, and secondly you need an important reason to go vegan. Many people dismiss veganism by saying that there are bigger issues in the world. However, can you be a part of the solution to most of those issues on your next trip to the grocery store? Veganism is one of the easiest movements to be a part of which facilitates massive amounts of change. Did you know that one vegan can reduce the demand for 200 animals to be slaughtered per year?
To learn about how veganism can help the environment, watch the documentary Cowspiracy (Netflix). Learn how veganism can drastically reduce your risk of disease and benefit your health by watching the documentaries Forks Over Knives & What The Health (Netflix). To learn about the ethical reasons why you should choose veganism watch the documentary Earthlings. To learn about the horrors of the fur industry watch the documentary The Ghosts in Our Machine. Animal tourism often creates extremely negative environments for the animals being exploited and confined, to learn more watch the documentary Blackfish (Netflix). Some images of what goes on inside slaughter houses and factory farms may be disturbing. If you can't stomach it, why put it in your stomach?
Step 2: Evaluate
Once you have solid reason and motivation to go vegan you should evaluate your current lifestyle. How are you currently living and how far away are you from living a vegan lifestyle? What changes can you make today to be closer to veganism? If you are just beginning your vegan journey I recommend going through your entire fridge, pantry, bathroom, and labeling all of your food, toiletries, makeup, and household cleaning supplies as either vegan or non-vegan. If you are a visual person you may even use red and green stickers as indicators. Use green for vegan products that are safe to purchase again and red for non-vegan products that you are going to choose not to purchase again. To find out which of your current products aren't vegan, simply conduct a Google search or use the App "Is It Vegan." Peta's website also has very comprehensive lists of what products are cruelty-free and which are not. If you find that one of your current products isn't vegan do the extra research to find out why and you will find some information you may have never considered. For instance lots of beauty products contain and ingredient called carmine which is derived from crushed beetles. I promise that for every product you find to be not vegan or cruelty free, there is a reasonably priced vegan alternative.
Step 3: Research
That brings me to my next suggestion, which is continuous research. As you dive deeper into your interest in veganism, or transition into veganism, you must continue your research. You may even become disheartened by the large list of things that have the potential to not be vegan; such as tampons, condoms, razors, vitamins, medications, artificial dyes, clothing, etc. Do not give up just because it seems overwhelming! Any swap you make from a non-vegan product to a vegan one is making a difference. Be patient in your transition from where you are to where you want to be, but strive to be better with every passing day.
Step 4: Transition
Transition! Start your movement towards a vegan lifestyle today! Firstly cut the animal products out of your diet! This is the hardest hurdle for most people but it is so amazing I promise you! Eating a plant-based diet has helped me get healthy and become passionate about food and cooking. This is something to get excited about! Watch vegan recipe videos on YouTube and get inspired. I recommend binge watching Hot for Food and The Happy Pear for mouthwatering vegan recipes. To learn about eating delicious vegan food on a budget watch Cheap Lazy Vegan. Next time you go to the grocery store make sure you give yourself ample time for shopping as it will be a new experience for you! Bring your phone and google everything as you go to make sure you get vegan items! You can do it. As veganism is about much more than a plant based diet you will soon ask yourself "Is this vegan?" whenever you make a decision. Soon you will realize how easy it is to skip over the non-vegan decisions in life such as taking a picture with the trained monkey on your vacation to Mexico, or buying that leather bag. You can visit your local animal sanctuary instead of a Zoo and opt for faux-leather alternatives.
Step 5: Never Stop Growing
Treat your transition into veganism like a yoga practice. In yoga if there is a pose you really want to accomplish you will practice it every day until you master it. Once you master it you must still continue your practice to retain your body's ability to do that pose. Once you have achieved this pose there are always more difficult poses you can try out to further your flexibility and practice. If you miss a day or two, or even a week of your yoga practice, you shouldn't get disheartened and abandon it all together. The same goes for veganism. There is always a way you can work to improve your practice and grow as a person. Keep striving to be better and do better.
I have been vegan for two years and I know I am still not perfect, there is always more that I can be doing. If I make an occasional slip up, I do not throw my lifestyle out the window or get discouraged. The areas of growth I am focusing on for myself right now are buying more fair-trade and local items, reducing my use of plastic and waste in general, and becoming more vocal about the vegan message online and in person.
Step 6: Share The Message
Once you have experienced for yourself the amazing benefits of a vegan lifestyle I think it is important to share your message with others. I know often times vegans are perceived as pushy, judgmental, and unkind to non-vegans just because of a select few individuals. This style of activism is not for me. I want everyone to know that the vegan community is actually super positive and uplifting. As with all humans there will always be some negative people mixed in. However, you will eventually realize that some vegan activists have an unfriendly demeanor because they have seen a lot of pain and suffering in the world and they are highly motivated to change what they see as unjust.
If you aren't vegan yet I want to let you know that this community is a safe space. You are welcome here & I am always here to chat if you have any questions about your new-found interest in veganism. I will never shame you for "not being vegan enough" but simply facilitate you with advice as you progress. I have had so many friends go vegan with a little bit of help and inspiration from me and it has been such a rewarding experience. My dad actually just transitioned to a plant-based diet and I am so proud of him. My friends often message me that they are going vegan, are inspired to transition to veganism, or are simply making more vegan decisions. I want you guys to know that you inspire me so much to continue doing what I am doing online!
I am inspired to be more vocal and become a better activist because of people like Kayla, Hannah, Brenna, Bobby and many, many more. I hope this blogpost has given you a gentle nudge in the right direction.
Continue your personal research here:
- 22 Inspiring Vegan Documentaries
- Try the 22 Day Vegan Challenge : You receive recipes and guidance
- Gary Yorofski's informative website about all things vegan, make sure to watch his speeches!
- James Aspey's blogpost about going vegan
- Answers to the questions you may still have about veganism.
- Check out the section of vegan cookbooks in your public library to get inspired!
Wander often & wonder always,