Becoming Vegan: My Top 5 Tips

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Hello again :)

     Before I begin, let me quickly say that I have been active on my YouTube channel which you can find under xoLoveLeti <- or click there. If you want beauty/lifestyle related videos featuring tons of awesome brands, go check it out!

     Now... onto the main event. Recently I was asked to be a "mentor" for someone's class project in relation to becoming vegan/etc. After the initial shock of "Wait, what? Me? A mentor? Are you sure?" and feeling incredibly humbled, I began typing my vegan story (which you may have previously read). I never really realized that the decision of living a different lifestyle would impact my life so much, but as I typed I began to really grasp how big the change was for not only myself but my perspective. I also realized how much credit I never gave myself for changing so drastically and never looking back.

     With these realizations, came my next idea (which you are currently in the midst of). Tips. Something I never really searched for or had when I was transitioning into this lifestyle. The main reason why I want to share this with everyone is that I feel like I can offer an unbiased guideline. I was a meat eater most of my life, and as I mentioned before had every obstacle one could have thrown at me. I'm still surrounded by and living with people that live the opposite lifestyle as I do daily, but it has not affected me one bit. Rather than spending my time judging and enforcing my own choices onto others, I have learned to simply do my own thing and inform as I go when I see fit. It has actually helped influence others around me in a positive manner without a harsh approach- which brings me to tip #1:





1). Don't be an angry vegan. One of the best things I ever did for myself was to sit down and watch what I had never been exposed to and avoided all of my life: the truth. I guess that's a tip within a tip, because I highly suggest you do the same. The internet is overflowing with resources in the form of videos, articles, and more. Watch Earthlings. Read about the horrid details of the dairy industry. Research speciesism. Learn about animal testing. Make yourself aware. Do not choose to live in ignorance. After doing this you may initially begin to feel a lot of anger. Anger toward people who choose to sit back and do nothing about what you have just seen. Channel that anger into motivation for yourself. Do not take it out on others and expect everyone to do what you are doing. Just focus on yourself and the rest will fall into place. People tend to use defense mechanisms when they are suffering from a guilty conscience or presented with something foreign to their upbringing. You will end up influencing others in a positive manner if you simply educate yourself and present what you find in a friendly manner.

2). Don't overwhelm yourself. Take it one step at a time. If you are a full omnivore, either eliminate certain things at a time or begin with "vegan before 6/once a week/etc". Foods like cheese are addictive, and the social conditioning of adding dairy into almost every single recipe is something your mind will need to become used to steering away from. Find replacements for those, even if you use more processed vegan foods in the beginning and from there begin to be more healthy. Not every vegan replacement tastes good, but don't let that discourage you. For example, I never liked most forms of vegan cheese alternatives on the market until I ran into Chao and fell in love. Now not only do I rarely ever use cheese in recipes period, but I've found other more tasty ways to tweak my meals. Just remember that no one in this world is "the perfect vegan", and judging others/yourself will harm the movement more than it will help. Do what feels right for your personal self. Only you know what pace is best. A vegan lifestyle isn't just the "finish line", it's a constant evolution and process. Don't let the anxiety of reaching a level of perfection steer you away from just doing your best. I actually have "fun" with my food now and appreciate it more than ever. Don't feel like you have to tell everyone what you're doing because that is often met with too much discouraging critique. Take this journey with yourself and enjoy it.

3). Find support. This is probably one of the most difficult as no vegan is alike (contrary to popular belief, we aren't all extremists that dress in chicken costumes throwing buckets of fake blood at fur-wearing consumers). As with any topic, not everyone is helpful and friendly. Find supportive Facebook groups with people that are willing to help you along the way. Look online for threads relating to whatever it is that you may be finding the most difficult to achieve. I have found a ton of local groups that even meet for dinner and help find restaurants with options/etc. You can also observe rather than participate in the beginning, and then become more social. You will end up learning new things without even meaning to. For example- I never understood myself that well until I learned that my cravings were merely my body's way of letting me know I was lacking a certain nutrient (even as a meat-eater). We sometimes associate that with needing animal products when really we just need to incorporate something specific into our diet. I learned this through others around me that had previous experiences with deficiencies and learned to thrive from simply being more aware. Now even things like my depression are more controlled and resorting to supplements is a thing of the past.

4). Get your information ammo ready. It's kind of insane how people that live with a stereotyped stigma of being judgmental vegans are the ones actually most met with judgmental challenges. As a vegan, you'll definitely get used to the typical questions such as "But where do you get your protein? What about B12? What's wrong with eating honey? Plants are living too!" and so, so many more. However, thankfully in this day and age we have the resources to learn about all of this and have an answer ready to go. This will not only help inform others the right way, but it will also show people in your life that you are more than prepared to take this lifestyle on and stick with it (not that we have to prove ourselves to anyone). A quick google search and an article full of responses to common questions can be found. It'll strengthen your credibility and in turn hopefully show others that being vegan is awesome & achievable for anyone.

5). Rethink grocery shopping. I have found that for my insanely busy schedule and small budget, buying in bulk is key. I love to meal prep using organic produce- it's all about learning how much longer different foods last and how to extend their shelf life. Leftovers are my best friends. Coupons are always helpful, and more websites are popping up each year with discounted items/etc. Of course, this is just what works for me. There are countless recipes for people who either enjoy cooking or are all about the quick fix- it never means deprivation or lack of nutrients. A vegan diet is full of options that can fit your personal needs. I can't count the different substitutes I went through until I found the ones that fit what I enjoyed. Experiment. Get resourceful. Step outside of the mindset you've been taught to have! Learn about yourself as well as your food. Your body will reward you in the process.


     Although this is my simplified version of tips to you all, I know for a fact that there are tons of other posts that will give you a greater quantity and chose to focus on what I personally found to be the most important. Before I continue, here are some of my favorite resources:


     For me, being vegan isn't just about not eating animals. It's about having a new relationship with them. Loving a cow the way you would a dog. Letting this new perspective open your eyes toward more awareness in regards to other subjects as well. I now only strictly purchase from cruelty-free vegan brands and have completely stepped away from consumerism. I've learned the dangers & harm animal agriculture is causing not only to ourselves but our world. I am no longer mindlessly applying thousands of chemicals a week onto my body or this earth- I read labels. I learn daily. I do not support human suffering in any way- even with my clothing. Sweatshops, animal testing, toxic chemicals... these are just some of the things I no longer fund and continuously learn more about. The perspective I have now has given me a beautiful advantage in life- to live as a happy individual that does not cause harm onto others or herself. And it is so much easier to do than anyone wold expect.

1 comment:

  1. Very well written, thoughtful and insightful You are soooo right about lecturing others, it just leads to confrontation. As Ghandi said " be the change you want to see ". I try to lead by example in quiet dignity. You are an amazing young woman. Namaste. Xxoo. Linda.

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