I often get asked "How do I go vegan?" and my response is always "I'm curious, why do you want to go vegan?" In my experience having a "why" is what will differentiate veganism as an ethics stance from a diet. When someone eats plant-based most of the time, they are eating a plant-based diet. Veganism does include a diet that excludes meat, fish, dairy and eggs, however it's not for diet reasons, it's for ethical and political reasons. Veganism isn't actually about human health, although a plant-based diet is one of the healthiest ways to eat (bonus)!
I was a lactose intolerant vegetarian for 14 years before going fully vegan. I always knew I wanted to be vegan but I was a teenager, I told myself when I was living on my own I would be vegan and that's what I did and that is what worked for me. I have now been vegan for 8+ years, and I am still learning. In my life I have seen many people go vegan, go plant-based, or want to be vegan etc. but for many it didn't last. I firmly believe the key to going vegan and staying vegan is having a why that is separate from your body. Some examples: for the environment, to reduce the oppression of non-human animals, to not participate in the oppression of marginalized humans in slaughterhouses, you don't support animal testing etc.
If you are interested in veganism or new to veganism here are a few things to consider:
Going Vegan Doesn't Mean Going On a Diet: Veganism is not a diet. If you would like to cut non-human animals out of your consumption habits and reduce your impact on non-human animal oppression the WHY behind this decision is key.
What is your why? Sit with that question. Right down your why. Talk about it.
Cutting out food groups for sake of dieting can lead to disordered eating
Change Takes Time: Food consumption is one aspect of veganism, often the aspect that comes with the biggest tangible change. You can become a plant-based eater overnight and you can become a plant-based eater over many months.
There is no "right" way to do this. Allowing your body to adjust to new foods and higher amounts of plant-foods can make the change a little easier.
Start slow. Do research. Ask questions. Keep an open mind. Work with a nutrition professional.
Perfection Doesn't Exist: You may eat a non-vegan food without knowing. You might not have the same reasons for being vegan as someone else. You may own a leather belt that you've had for years. You may have soap that has animal products in it. It's okay. There is no perfect vegan, nor is that the goal.
You will never be 100% cruelty free.
Doing what's possible and practical with the means you have is enough. Becoming vegan is a huge learning experience and learning curve, go easy on yourself.
Some People Won't Understand: We live in a society that views eating and oppressing non-human animals as normal, going against that isn't easy, especially socially. You will most likely be questioned, judged and perhaps feel quite lonely sometimes. Remember that there are so many people out there who hold your same values and views. You don't have to justify your choices and views to anyone. You don't have to stay in spaces where you don't feel welcome. You don't have to visit restaurants that don't have vegan options.
Following accounts on social media that you resonate with can be a great way to build community and learn.
Veganism Is a Philosophy Not a Stereotype
Vegans don't all look a certain way
Vegans don't just eat salads and smoothies
Vegans come in all shapes, sizes, abilities and colours
Vegans can get sick
Vegans aren't perfect
Veganism isn't a cure-all or an elitist health club
Veganism is an ethical, philosophical and political stance against non-human animal oppression.
You are welcome, just as you are.
You can always check out the recipe tab on my website or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Always available to have non-judgmental conversations!