I spent the weekend working on Wednesday's workshop (it's going to be lit!) and catching up on Power and Atlanta (love these shows).
I also spent some time thinking about some of the steps that anyone who wants to become and stay vegan must do to have a successful journey.
Check out my 3 tips to have a successful vegan journey....
1. Determine your why
Why do you want to be vegan? What will this look like for you? These are important questions. It takes time to transition to vegan life and that’s okay.
I want you to be gentle with yourself and open your mind for change.
Here are 3 common reasons people decide to go vegan:
“Vegans are approximately one-ninth as likely to be obese as meat-eaters and have a cancer rate that is only 40 percent that of meat-eaters. People who consume animal products are also at increased risk for many other illnesses, including strokes, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, multiple allergies, diabetes, and food poisoning.” (PETA)
Even though my family’s vegan journey started as a silent protest to the harsh realities of factory farming, the health benefits on this journey are amazing. We feel lighter, our skin is clearer and we have a lot more energy than we did when we ate dairy, eggs, and meat.
“By going vegan, we can help prevent global warming, rainforest destruction, and pollution, while saving water and other precious resources. In fact, raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined. There has never been a better time to go green by eating green.” (chooseveg.com)
I remember a few years ago there was so much talk about reducing our carbon footprints by not buying gas-guzzling vehicles. Even though this is an important way to reduce our overall fuel consumption, the most effective way to reduce environmental problems is by not relying on animals for food.
“…we in the West constitute a society based on violence, oppression, misery, and domination that has led to an outgoing societal trauma from the microscale to the macrocell for all of us—whether we are the oppressors, the oppressed, or both. I see this clearly in how we collectively consume and how we rationalize why it is okay if our products come from a place of suffering, violence, and equality.” Breeze Harper
I never considered animal rights as much of a reason to be vegan until I read, Sistah Vegan. This book helped to change my perspective about our responsibility to care about animals. I now realize that we don’t need meat (land and sea) and we don’t need animal products for our survival. The bottom line is, factory farming is cruel and unnecessary.
Take these steps right now....
- Think about your why.
- Visualize what your life will look like as a vegan and then determine your why. This will come in handy when you second guess this lifestyle. Get clear on your why and make the decision to go vegan.
- Use this space to write down your why. This is so powerful, so don’t miss this step. It will be helpful to refer back to this when you start to second guess your decision.
2. Always be ready, so you don’t have to get ready
My dad used to say this to me when it came to my schoolwork as a kid, but I feel this quote is also relevant to vegan life. One of the biggest obstacles you may face when transitioning to this lifestyle is getting adjusted to all of the planning that takes place.
Most of us are so used to just eating whatever we want, the extra step of reading ingredients labels (to ensure there's no eggs, meat, dairy) and asking your server questions while dining out, can feel so overwhelming. I promise with consistently this will get better.
Just be sure to add time in your schedule for meal planning, grocery shopping (to get more comfortable in the store & to read food labels) and check out restaurants menus online to see what vegan options they have available before you leave the house. Feeling rushed will only discourage you, so "always be ready, so you don't have to get ready."
Happycow.net is a good resource for finding vegan restaurants near your home and while traveling.
Is it Vegan? is a great app to determine whether or not a product is vegan while grocery shopping.
Finding Vegan is a great resource to find vegan recipes around the interwebs.
3. Be very gentle with yourself
There’s a misconception that vegans are perfect and that we never have issues with food. I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe in perfect. It just doesn’t exist.
This lifestyle is truly a process and it takes time to get comfortable with no longer having meat, eggs, and cheese on your plate.
I want to give you a quick word of advice - Celebrate the baby steps no matter how small and always always embrace progression over perfection.
When you’re struggling with food, the only way to get back on track is by being gentle with yourself and understand that you’re human.
Write down what’s going on in your life that can be holding you back.
Is it a lack of meal planning, too busy to cook or just not feeling inspired? All of these things are normal. What can you do to make changes to your schedule that will allow for you to invest a little more time into getting back on track?
Remember, this transition is so worth it, so relax and embrace the ups and downs that may come along with being on this journey.
There was a time in my own journey that I didn't think I could move forward.
I went on vacation about 3 years ago and ate crab cake.
After eating that crab cake, I ate non-vegan cake and some other non-vegan meals.
I felt so defeated.
When I got home (after being sick for days), I continued to eat mostly vegan but still had issues getting back on track.
I think this is the side of vegan life that many don't talk about. Whether you're on the journey for a few months on a few years (like I was at the time), you realize this journey isn't perfect.
Keep moving forward and please please please don't beat yourself up if you get off track.
This will only hold you back.