November 1st is here! This means Halloween is over (snif, snif!) and World Vegan Day and Month are here!
Apparently this has been created by the UK based Vegan Society to promote and celebrate veganism. What a great idea!
So on this day, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on what I learned the past few years as a vegan. In the last few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about what veganism meant to me, and I realized that my vision of things has changed quite a bit. So here are five things I want to share with you.
It’s much easier to be a vegan if you so it for the right reasons. I became vegan for ethical reasons. I did not what to hurt animals myself, and so I felt uncomfortable to ask someone else to do it for me. Also, the automation and systematical way of treating animals gave me nightmares. I did not want to be part of a system where respect of animals, individuals and the environment was missing.
I feel like have these reasons helped me keep in line better than if I had been focusing on health issues. Of course these reasons are extremely valid and relevant, but they are also easier to negotiate with your mind: Sure, ice cream has a lot of fat, but I’ll just go to the gym later!
When you start being vegan for ethical reasons, it is much more difficult to negotiate with your mind, and thus a lot easier to follow.
You do not have to justify yourself. When I first started my vegan journey, I felt like I had to justify my lunches, my protein intake and my ethics to everyone who asked me questions, and even to innocent bystanders. Not only was this process draining emotionally and mentally, it was also useless and often led to frustration. I also noticed that most people asking questions are trying to reassure themselves that a ‘conventional’ animal based diet is the best diet. Because of this, dialogue and healthy discussions are often out of the question. I soon realized that the best answer to all types of questions is simple to say that it is a personal choice. More often than not, when faced with this answer, people who were looking for reassurance are reassured, and the others feel like they can keep up the discussion. Way easier than to explain that there are proteins in the plant world!
Cravings and slip ups are usually there because you are out of balance. Yes cravings and slip ups are part of the way. Are they something terrible to look down on? Not really! This is a journey, and there will be moments where you feel like going back. Often though, I find that when I am craving omelets or butter, I’m really just craving the feelings associated with these foods or I’m just plain hungry. As time goes by, I found dupes for most of my cravings and built confidence to stay on track. Cut yourself some slack, and be patient!
It’s important to step back and to have fun with veganism. I find that sometimes, especially when I am busy, it is easy to go through meal planing in a mechanical way and play things like: cold tofu with rice and kale. Very exciting, I know! Or soups for three weeks in a row (I’m so glad the last batch I made is gone!)… Of course there are moments when being in the kitchen is a chore. In these moments, I like to step back a little and see how I can make regular dishes more fun. I like to buy one extra ingredient that I don’t know a lot about and try to incorporate it. The last addition: cranberries! They can make the simplest dish exciting and fun again!
Preach through example. Finally, if you feel like more people should join the vegan movement, the best thing you can do is to harass them by criticizing their lunches, their weight and health issues… or maybe, just show them how happy and healthy your are with your new way of living.
I hope these thoughts were relevant and helped you through your vegan transitions. What are some thoughts you have on veganism? Let me know! 🙂