By Mariella Irivarren, B.A.
This is a continuation of our blog post GOING VEGAN 101 – PART 1 where we cover the first steps taken when choosing vegan.
STEP 7 – LEARN ALONG THE WAY
- At first, you might gravitate towards foods you have always eaten and realize they aren’t vegan. Also, you will quickly learn that some foods you wouldn’t even think of have animal-based ingredients in them, such as gelatin and whey. Lastly, eating at restaurants may seem more complicated at the beginning until you understand how to ask for what you want. Luckily, times are changing, and eating vegan is easier than ever!
STEP 8 – DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP
- If you struggle adapting at first, its ok. You are making a HUGE lifestyle change that will take time to adjust. There is no such thing as being perfect. You are making a long-term positive change in your life and any progress you make is considered a win! If you have a solid why, it will be the driving force that helps you stay on track.
STEP 9 – ENJOY THE BENEFITS
- When done right, eating a plant-based diet can have several positive effects on your body. Results will vary from person to person, but you may naturally lose weight from upping your veggie intake, your skin may clear up from acne by eating real food, your digestion will certainly see an improvement due to the high fibre content in your diet, and you might see an increase in energy because you are better nourishing your body. These are not a guarantee, and it is possible to have an UNHEALTHY vegan diet (Oreos and French fries, anyone?) but as long as you combine your cruelty-free meals with healthy foods in general, you should experience positive benefits.
STEP 10 – THINK BEYOND FOOD
- Being vegan involves more than just eating plant-based food. It also means being conscious of your purchases and even your wardrobe. Things like makeup, body & hair care products, as well as clothing can be non-vegan if they have any animal derived ingredients in them. If you wear clothing with fur or leather, and even items with silk or cashmere, etc., these are all animal derived and therefore not classified as vegan. If your makeup brand and skincare products don’t have a “Vegan” label on it, they probably contain animal derivatives.
- Look out for “cruelty-free” labels in your products, including cleaning supplies! It’s heartbreaking knowing how many everyday items are not vegan and/or tested on animals. Does this mean you have to throw away everything you have ever owned and re-buy? You could! Or you can simply be more aware of your purchases moving forward and slowly start replacing items you own for vegan-friendly ones.
Becoming vegan can seem overwhelming to many people. You may have the best intentions to try it out, but struggle maintaining the lifestyle. Lack of knowledge, purpose, peer pressure and cravings can all affect your will power and ability to stick with it.
Being vegan is one of the most positive and compassionate things anyone can do, for the animals, the environment and for themselves, but the journey to veganism is personal to every individual. To anyone considering going vegan, I salute you. For those who are still unsure, you can always start with Step #1.