Five Steps to Ease Into a Vegan Lifestyle
What is Veganism
Veganism is a movement to eliminate the reliance on animal-derived foods and products. It is a notch beyond vegetarianism. Dairy, eggs, and honey, for instance, are among the foods discarded in this diet. While some may say that veganism is a diet, I would argue that it is a lifestyle as it tends to bleed beyond food choices. Many vegans try to reduce the use of leather and products tested on animals. In other words, veganism is more about animal rights than health alone. In addition, many vegans are passionate about the well-being of our planet as animal agriculture causes quite a bit of damage.
Going vegan is a big decision to make. It is one that can enhance your life, and introduce you to wonderful awareness and kindness toward the planet and its inhabitants. Here are some of my tips to help you make sure you have made the right decision when it comes to veganism.
One of my Favorite Veganism Tips Video
What is Veganism?
Veganism is a lifestyle involving the avoidance of animal products. Meat, fish, poultry, ham, and dairy are the main ingredients eliminated in this diet. However, other elements are debated as non-vegan such as honey, gelatin, the dye red 4 in foods.
Some also argue that veganism is about bettering the environment for all beings. As such, many vegans suggest avoiding palm oil and other products that threaten the well-being of other beings.
I have been vegan for ten years now. Let me tell you, there have been many ups and downs along the way. As veganism gains more traction in more recent years, there are many information available. However, I want to share my own perspective as someone who is recovering from disordered eating while on a budget. I live at home with my family, and have no income. In other words, my own food is on a limited budget. Moreover, I live in a mostly conservative area with no access to fancy foods. I prefer simpler ingredients as I am not a good cook. Even more restricting (or freeing, depending on your perspective) is that I am not a patient cook either. I prefer quick and easy recipes. Her are tips could have changed my life, made the transition into this lifestyle easier. I hope you find them helpful.
Do you know (of) any vegans in your life? (could be celebs or athletes..etc)
1. Do Your Research
First, make sure you do your research. It will take some time for you to figure out sources you find trustworthy. Do not do what I did: watch a video, be horrified, and then learn by trial and error. A lot of videos on vegan ideology is emotion-based. It is mostly used to stun you with graphic torture images of animals. While I do agree that animals deserve better treatment, I don't understand how seeing the images helps anyone. You can read about the way animals are treated for dairy or meat industries, and empathize without having to see these terrible images.
Take the time to see what vegans eat, and why they eat these things. A lot of vegans can come across as self-assured. This is mostly because veganism is a personal choice. It comes in all kinds of shades and levels. You can make it as intense as you can or want. Some people are vegan and they eat foods from corporations that sell non-vegan things. I often refer to this as the accidental-vegan product. For example, fries from a popular hamburger joint are sometimes vegan by having no animal byproducts. Other vegans do not do this; they choose to support only vegan companies.
Some vegans do not eat oil, salt, sugar, or cooked food altogether. These are personal preferences regarding how people want to live in this world. You can slowly ease into what you can do while balancing it with your goals
2. No Shock-Based Choices
On New Year’s Eve of 2008, I was looking at what veganism was. Even though I live in California, the term “vegan” was not clear to me, so I was curious. A few hours later, I was crying because of sad animal videos. And, I think this shock can be powerful, but I don’t think a drastic lifestyle change like veganism can be effective just from being stunned. Instead, I think a conscious choice to learn more, learn frequently, and learn from different perspectives is more appropriate. It would be helpful to have more than an emotional connection to this lifestyle.
This is similar to the research bit of this article. Please look into how veganism impacts the environment. The dairy industry is heartbreaking from a maternal and familial point of view. I did not connect with animals until I had my own cats, who are my babies. They support me. In turn, seeing a calf taken away from their mother hit me in a powerful way. I do not need to see the image to feel it.
Find your connection with veganism. As a claustrophobic person, I connected with hens in small cramped spaces, for instance. It is all about reflecting. Would you want to be treated the way animals are treated?
Research how veganism can help your health, the environment, and the animals. Give yourself time to thoroughly think this decision through. By doing this, you are less likely to slip up. I will also advise you not to go vegan to lose weight. Chips are vegan. In fact, many a junk food happens to be vegan. Besides, many companies provide vegan foods that are also rather unhealthy. For example, vegan meats tend to be high in sodium, which leads to retaining water in the body (and that manifests in your weight).
3. Keep it Secret
I distinctly remember someone laughing when I told them I was vegan. Actually, this happened a lot at first. The reasons for this were twofold. First, I didn’t know what was in the food choices I was making. For instance, I had no idea that garlic bread had butter. With each slip up, there were plenty of criticisms and mean comments. Second, a lot of people have odd notions about vegans. Like, somehow, you become a superhero who knows what is vegan and what is not. (I will never forget my shock when I discovered that broth in traditional soups is derived from animals. No joke, no lie). If you can, keep it a personal preference without the grand announcement. Just till you stand on your own feet and feel confident in your lifestyle. Keep it a private personal quest. Maybe you can even avoid saying that you are vegan until you feel that you have a good handle on how you want to approach this lifestyle. Like, maybe you don't mind oil, but you want not too fond of processed fake meats and cheeses. Again, reflect on what makes you feel good and what doesn't. Take the time to see how you want to go about being vegan.
4. Keep It Simple
No matter what you do, don’t feel obliged to follow the fancy vegans out there. You know who I am talking about. There are people who can afford fake meats and cheeses, powders and juices. Many vegans online talk about having access to vegan-only restaurants, bakeries, and dessert spots. You do not have to be surrounded by vegans to be a successful vegan. While I am sure a sense of community and ease is nice, it is not necessary to be vegan. Please don’t feel like veganism is dependent on a certain level of privilege. You can make it a simple choice without breaking your piggy bank. Look into cheaper alternatives, and make it as uncomplicated as possible. Maybe buy frozen food. Make a lot of smoothies and salad, or even roast vegetables to get all your protein in.I personally am a fan of canned beans and tofu to get protein. I regularly snack on fruits, but when I want sweets, I go for accessible candy that is accidentally vegan. The most famous one is Oreos. You do whatever enables you to reach a happy balance between ease, health, and conscious living.
Ready to Join the Cool Kids
I think ultimately when you know what you want from veganism, you have a clearer image of how it will work for you. Give yourself time and put in the effort to see how you feel about the facts you find. Good luck. Remember that it is not all or nothing. You can implement Meatless Mondays, or eliminate dairy on certain meals. Every little bit counts. The animals and the environment thank you.
Welcome to the club. We have superpowers.
© 2018 Dina