Unfortunately, the word “vegan” has such a negative connotation. Vegans are seen as socially liberal human beings, that will mention their eating habits at any chance they get…but who doesn’t like to share thoughts on food?
My brother was the first person that I closely knew that recently (like 3 years ago??) went to a fully vegan diet, and all I see is someone that immensely cares about the future of this earth. He is completely fueled by environmental issues of the meat and dairy industry. While others have different reasons for going vegan, such as against animal cruelty or health, these eating habits shouldn’t be looked down upon. All you can do is educate yourself on the impact, then make more conscious decisions. Here’s what I have gathered:
- Use the word “plant-based”. I love the word plant-based. Because vegan has unfortunately seen as an almost snobby adjective, I prefer to say plant-based. Not only do meat-eaters connect with it more, it also doesn’t offer such a strict diet.
- Don’t quit cold Tofurky (lol). It took a year of not eating red meat for me to finally cut out other meats. Two years later, and I am still only 80% all plant-based and 20% non-meat eater. I still enjoy cheese sometimes (when there are no cashew spreads around…’cause that stuff is amazing), and won’t have a cow (more lol) if a small amount of egg wash is used on a pastry. Celebrate they small victories, and you can look back at how far you’ve come.
- Grocery shop with waste in mind. A huge part of having a more plant-based life is reducing your carbon footprint. Buy bulk using your own containers, skip the plastic bags for fruits and veggies (just give it a quick rinse when you get home!), and never forget your reusable bags. Keep a look out for sustainable brands, and think about buying glass containers that you can reuse rather than disposable plastic.
- Focus on your health. A lot of people have seen that their skin clears up after cutting out excessive amounts of dairy. They have better gut health, etc. But sometimes others start adding legumes or soy to supplement protein to their diet and see negative results. Stick to what makes you feel good, while still focusing on plant-based foods. Experiment to know what foods are not good for your body.
- Know that it’s about conscious eating. Our way of lifestyle is about environmental impact. It’s about health. It’s about trying new things. But mostly, it’s about taking control of what we put into our bodies.
- Surround yourself with supportive people. This could mean someone who has similar ideas about eating. Someone who has contrasting ideas, but still respects your decision and is open to new ideas. A significant other that may need some convincing. Question having people in your life who talk down on your personal decisions. You deserve better.
- Continuously be learning. Whether it’s experimenting with new recipes yourself, finding new ingredients, or listening to like-minded (or not like-minded!) individuals via blogs or podcasts, it’s great to keep getting new information.
Whether a full on vegan or a part-time plant-based diet is what your aiming for, we can all gain from being more conscious about the link of health to our diet.