Veganism has gone from an obscure movement to a virtually mainstream lifestyle in just the last few decades. Veggie and vegan burgers have transformed from little more than a few vegetables mashed together in a patty to meticulously crafted, plant-derived creations that have the biggest self-proclaimed meat lovers lining up to eat them.
In the midst of these swift societal changes, you may find yourself curious about veganism in a way that you never have been before. Many vegan companies have made their products available in large grocery store chains and fast food restaurants, making it easier than ever to find food swaps and find cruelty-free versions of your favorite meals.
Whether you’re going vegan for personal health, animal liberation, or environmental change, it’s useful to know how to go vegan the right way. This ensures that you kickstart your journey from an informed perspective and are able to persist through the relational challenges and societal obstacles that arise in the vegan journey. The five recommendations below will help you enact this powerful lifestyle change with minimal resistance and maximum effectiveness.
Make (Or Find) A Strong Why
Veganism—despite having every reason to be one of the more heavily adopted and ethically championed issues of our day—remains contentious and tends to drive discomfort in social situations. Discovering that someone chooses to eat food differently than you, only to find out that it was a conscious choice and not about allergies, can cause major cognitive dissonance. Add to that the fact that vegans are ridding their lifestyle of all animal consumption and exploitation, and this combination naturally brings many questions to the surface.
As is the case with any major personal change you make—such as buying a home, moving away to college, getting married, starting a business, or having children—it’s important to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Change happens instantaneously but progress takes time, and to grow through hardships, you need compelling reasons to overcome the difficulties life throws at you.
Going vegan will prompt you to look at restaurant menus, grocery stores, social events, forms of entertainment, clothing, hygiene, heck—life itself—completely differently. Because of your conviction that unnecessary harm towards animals is wrong, you’ll need to have a way of staying the course when the pressure to cave is palpable.
Are you vegan because it provides for your belief that human health and animal freedom are compatible? Are you vegan because you condemn animal agriculture’s practice of placing slaughterhouses in or near impoverished communities? Are you vegan because you believe our culture has accepted an ignorant, ill-informed, and inherently corrupt narrative about the nature of the “food” system?
Whether it’s any of these reasons, a combination of them, or something even more personal for you (such as how a vegan diet has changed or restored a family member’s life), memorize it and keep it with you wherever you go. Learning how to go vegan the right way often starts off easily but comes with resistance at some point.
The question I’ve been asked so often since going vegan is, “Why?” Why did I choose to give up the consumption of animal products when I could just as easily keep doing what I’ve always done? The answer is because when I found a better way to live my life—a way that was more deeply aligned with who I am and what I value—I couldn’t employ subpar reasoning or principles anymore. I had to upgrade.
After you make the decision to go vegan, it’s likely multiple people in your life will also ask you why. By determining and cementing your why ahead of time, you will be prepared to answer, no matter who asks.
Ask A Friend Or Family Member To Join You
One of the time-tested ways to stay disciplined through change is having an accountability partner. Instead of feeling like you have to figure everything out yourself and as though no one is cheering you on, you have someone who’s taking every step with you.
An accountability partner also introduces a supportive environment where each step is viewed (by both) as an opportunity to learn and understand. We all like to feel smart, and by embarking on a personal journey with someone who’s in the same stage as you, asking questions tends to feel effortless instead of potentially uncomfortable or embarrassing.
What’s more, people are often influenced not by facts and figures, but by the relationships in their lives and the power those relationships hold. In other words, showing people statistics about the egregious violence and waste of slaughterhouses may get them to silently nod in agreement, but discussing how veganism has made an impact on you personally is (sometimes strangely) more likely to influence them.
This can be a frustrating fact to behold, at least for vegans who have been in the lifestyle for some time, but it is nonetheless true. As vegans and those learning how to go vegan the right way, we ought to embrace what people resonate with as a viable means to reach them with the message. This works a lot better than shunning what works solely in favor of what we like to do.
Discover Cookbooks And Recipes
Leveraging the convenience and culinary insight of those who have gone before you makes it easier than ever to make smart health decisions that your taste buds adore. A simple search on Google or Pinterest that’s heavy in keywords, such as “easy vegan lunch ideas,” will generate hundreds of possibilities for you to browse.
Thanks to the Internet, any of us can easily find recipes in line with our culinary preferences, dietary needs, and time-related limits. Whether you’re looking for fast and simple breakfast recipes you can make ahead of time for work, or soiree dinner meals with elaborate flavor subtlety, dozens of varieties abound, and they’re just a few clicks away with your thumbs or mouse.
Of course, this isn’t to overlook physical cookbooks and bookstores! Barnes & Noble, restaurants, and local bookstores often have excellent recipe resources if you love hard copy alternatives. It’s also often a bit easier to prop these up somewhere free of spills when working on recipes at home.
Try New Restaurants
Trying a new vegan restaurant has multiple benefits. First, you’re bound to discover a new dish that you’ll want to tell family and friends about. Through your word of mouth recommendation, they’ll be eager to know what the buzz is all about! Second, restaurants are an amazing place to forge or deepen friendships, and having friends who share your convictions always makes life change easier.
Educate Yourself Consistently
Strengthening your knowledge about circumstances that the animals, humans, and environment face (just for starters) is essential in lifelong vegan advocacy. If you’ve been a vegan for any longer than a few days—and sometimes even in that amount of time—it’s important to be well-read in order to support what is regularly a misconstrued lifestyle.
As you can see, understanding how to go vegan the right way definitely takes some work, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming if you have a clear strategy. Like anything else, going vegan comes with a few discomforts at first, and that’s not something you should feel guilty about—or allow to keep you from following through.
Our worldwide society is not set up to bolster individuals’ desires to enact positive change, and that’s unfortunately for a reason. Those who seek to do harm in this world only benefit when people and animals are sick, suffering, misguided, and divided. When you focus on your convictions, however, and remember to use bite-sized tips like the ones in this article, anything is possible, and you as an individual truly can make a difference in the world.
Knowing how to go vegan the right way and staying vegan is a bit like finishing a project or handling a work assignment—you can try to cut corners at first, but if you do it the right way the first time, there’s no need for a second time. If this post has helped you embrace a vegan lifestyle for the first time or again after a time, let us know in the comments below!
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