When people first find out I’m vegan, the second question they ask is,
But how did you do it??
Truth is, most of it was not that difficult. Once I was enlightened and choose not to ignore but accept my true feelings and values about our treatment of animals, I couldn’t un-see it. Consuming animal products was over for me and there was no way to turn back. I’ve summarized what helped me into the four tips below:
One… Educate yourself and form your own opinions
What started this all off was watching Cowspiracy. Watch documentaries. There are many others; just google it or check Netflix. Read books and articles. Do your research but whatever you read, also have your own mind. Consider that any piece of writing, research, content is likely biased in one direction; sometimes even scientific articles (consider who funds the research). There are always agendas. I accepted some things as they seem logical to me and others I may reject because I find them too extreme. Use what works for you and if you’re undecided but want to be decided, dig deeper.
I also did Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s 30-Day Vegan Challenge. It was a really easy way to consume a lot of helpful content in small bite-sized doses. Each day you will receive an email with either a short article to read or Sound Cloud audio clip to listen to. I found it much easier to consume the info this way rather than getting overwhelmed with trying to get through a book.
Two… Plan + Prepare
You will need to have instructions and options.
Or in other words, what will you make? Pinterest, YouTube, even Instagram are great resources to find good and more importantly free recipes. You don’t have to go out and spend your paper on cookbooks. You can sometimes find author’s recipes on their blogs/Instagram accounts for free – try them out, then decide if you want to buy their books.
This one’s a big one. You may be fine with eating food just to eat it even if it doesn’t taste good, but make this as easy on yourself as possible. Aim to make delicious food; at least at the start. Know which grocery stores have the best and freshest produce and try to find one close to you, because you will be eating a lot of it. See if they have a vegan/vegetarian section, if they have plant-based milks, cheeses, plant-based meats. Visit the spice/seasoning section. Seasonings are gold for me and there’s so many interesting varieties available – mango chipotle, siracha lime, mediteranian sundried tomato… Check the ingredients; most of them are 100% plant-based. Find a good health food store close to you in case you need ‘specialty’ ingredients that you can’t find at your regular grocery store like nutritional yeast or egg replacer.
Look into what vegan options are available at the places you eat out at currently and/or research places you haven’t been to before that are full vegan or have vegan options – make it a point to try them out.
Three… Know your vices. Be flexible. Be kind to yourself.
Of all the things you will no longer be eating, what is it that you think you will miss the most? Mine are cheese and baked goods. Not that you can’t get these cruelty-free but they can be more difficult to find. For example, I no longer get a donut or cookie when I grab a coffee from Timmies. Which is probably good for my pocket as well as my stomach. But I made sure to look up recipes to make vegan baked goods, I looked at which bakeries I could get them from and which grocery stores had them already prepared. I looked up recipes on how to make my own nut cheese and I know a couple of places where I can buy some.
Know that you will slip up.
Sometimes you will forget to read the ingredients before buying something prepackaged and it turns out it had milk powder in it (sneaky fuckers). Or you didn’t bring your own vegan treats to the party and now everyone’s eating cookies and you desperately want a damn cookie laced with cruelty. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Let it go and move on, you don’t have to be perfect as you are already better than you were before.
Four… Know your why!!!
You better believe that people are going to ask you why you’re vegan and they may be judgey AF about it too. Oh well do you wear leather? Do you drive a car, that’s bad for the environment too. Wasteman! STFU. You do not need to explain yourself to anyone. But if this is going to bother you, just be prepared with an answer. No one can logically tell you that your reason isn’t good enough because it’s your truth. Many times when someone pokes at you, it’s really because they want to poke at themselves. The only person that has to live with your decision is you. So own your truth.