For 23 years I loved and ate animals.
To me, vegetarians were weirdos going against nature. And ridiculous vegans took it too far.
This is the article I wish I’d read when I first decided to be vegan 1 year ago:
1. There is nothing wrong with being vegan-ish
After discovering everything that goes on in the meat & dairy industry all you want to do is swear off them and never give them another penny.
But please go easy on yourself.
A lot of people are too strict. They go hungry because they haven’t found good alternatives yet. Become miserable and quit because it was too difficult. This is a huge change. Don’t feel bad about having cheat days, Meat Mondays, being a social meat-eater or a weekday vegan! Make up little rules to make it easier.
If you’re really craving a burger, then just go out & eat a damn burger. Better that than quitting all together 🍔
Ethical sources help minimise guilt too. On a mass scale free-range is nothing more than a marketing buzzword. But on a small scale it’s possible. Buy eggs and chicken meat from a small local farm, or someone who raises chickens in their back garden. Anywhere that you can see the hens and judge the conditions for yourself.
As long as you’re on the right path that’s all that counts.
2. Focus on food first
Animal by-products & animal testing is everywhere. It’s in your food, alcohol, make-up, toiletries, cleaning products, clothes, bedding, car and plastic bags.
It’s completely overwhelming. Breathe. Focus on just one. And don’t move onto cutting out the next issue until you’re ready.
Alcohol: Barinvore just search a drink and Barnivore will tell you if it’s vegan friendly or not.
Make-Up: veganmakeup.tumblr.com has a great brand list. But they’re not all on there, you might have to Google your favourites.
Toiletries & Cleaning Products: Search the PETA index or simply Google specific brands.
Bedding: please never buy down, it’s particularly brutal.
Car: there are a lot more animal products in cars than just the leather interior. But opting for a car without a leather interior is a great place to start!
Plastic bags: They contain animal fat, but thats the lesser of many evils. Try to avoid all plastics for the sake of the environment AND animals. Here are some good starting points.
3. There is a vegan alternative for EVERYTHING
In the first fews days of veganism I literally mourned for all my favourite foods I’d never eat again. Cheese, burritos, pizza, spagbol and chocolate. I didn’t even like lasagna but I was mourning that too.
Which was a total waste of time! WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME YOU CAN STILL EAT EVERYTHING!? 🍔🍣🍟🍫🍦🍪
Literally just Google “vegan” followed by whatever you want and I promise you, it’s out there.
Most resturants have vegan options, the really amazing ones have whole vegan menus. Shout out to my UK fave Zizzis 🍕❤️
There is also A LOT of vegan milk out there. Go crazy, try all of them. Almond, oat, rice, quinoa, flax, soy etc. My personal favourites are hemp and coconut.
Soy, replacement meat and replacement cheese are fine in moderation and as a part of a healthy balanced diet.
Some vegans also deem oysters & mussels okay to eat because they do not have brain so cannot feel pain. And farming them even improves the environment. (Only wild & rope grown mussels, make sure they haven’t been dredged from the seabed).
It makes me laugh when people ask “So, what do you actually eat?” Literally everything hunny 💁🏻
4. Buy some vitamins and start taking them immeditely
Speaking of not overdosing on fake meat & soy, here’s another health tip…
Do your research into B12 & other vitamins.
And once you’ve researched and bought them, take them religiously. Even if you’re cheating. Even if you’re being super healthy. Because if you are lacking them for whatever reason, you will feel tired and weak.
And you don’t deserve that, you’re doing a good thing. Keep up the good work & take care of yourself.
5. The hardest part of veganism will be your loved one’s reactions
Most of my loved ones have fallen into 3 categories:
a. Completely Uninterested
Eyes glaze over whenever the topic arises. And if the conversation doesn’t move on quickly they might even start eye rolling or tutting.
Personally I find these ones are the most hurtful. Because my loved ones are nice, caring people, so why don’t they care about this? It’s really frustrating and I get tempted to spell out every single reason why they should care. But that’s the worst thing you can do. Don’t become the pushy vegan stereotype.
You’ve just got to accept the topic is a no-go zone unless they raise it.
I much prefer the defensive, because at least they’re interested to some degree and want to talk about it!
But remember to handle the defensive with care.
Never give the impression you’re better than them or making better decisions. Simply state the facts while being friendly and nice.
If you’re upset or angry avoid it all together before the conversation falls into name calling and ugly comments. And if you sense they’re bored or frustrated with the conversation, move on. You’ll only ever win people over by playing the long game and staying in their good books!
c. Understanding/ Curious
The ones who get it are actual real life unicorns. You can chat all day about vegan make up & pizza and all the other awesome stuff ✨🌈💖
The curious need to be treated with a little more caution. Answer their questions the best you can. And direct them to vegan films, documentaries that will explain it better.
But once they stop asking questions, stop talking about it!
Give them chance to think about it. And save the happy dance for after they’ve left. If you act like you’re super excited to recruit them into some crazy cult they’ll probably never join 😂
6. Be the vegan you wish you’d met before going veganThis is the best advice I’ve ever heard.
It’s sad that vegans have to work so hard against the pushy vegan stereotype and learn to bite their tongue.
And I don’t want to be nice when someone says for the 10 billionth time “But you know you’re not actually going to make a difference, right?”
But I have to be the vegan I wish I’d met before going vegan! And that’s not someone who shouts, pushes their beliefs or gets angry because their feelings are hurt.
It’s someone who is nice, answers your questions and doesn’t act like they’re better than you.
7. Vegan facebook groups are amazingIt can be hard work if you don’t have a lot of people around you who get it.
Finding likeminded people is awesome. Even if you never comment or speak to anyone, just knowing there are people out there who feel the same is a huge support.
Some of my faves:
- Regan the Vegan for punny inspiration
- The Comforting Vegan for recipes & niceness
- Peta2 for all round vegan inspiration & motivation
- Mercy for Animals to remind me why I’m doing this
- Vegan Humour for funnies
9. You will have bad days
My worst one came after going travelling without my vitamins (like an idiot).
After 3 weeks I started feeling weak, tired and just not myself. I got really low and wanted to quit all together. I still supported the ethics, but it all felt too huge and overwhelming. I just wasn’t strong enough to do it.
If you find yourself having a similarly bad day, here’s my advice:
- Take your damn vitamins
- Look after yourself. Lots of water, good food & self care
- If you want to, take a cheat day (preferably on the healthy side, not just total junk food)
- When you’re feeling better, watch a vegan film or documentary
This got me through the rough patch super quick.
Even if you’re not feeling low, watching vegan films & documentaries every now and then will do wonders for your motivation. Or visit a local farm animal sanctuary 🐥🐮🐷🐔
- Live and Let Live
- Peaceable Kingdom
- Forks over Knives
- Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days
- Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
- Speciesism: The Movie
- The Ghosts in Our Machine
- The Cove
- Unlocking the Cage
- Tyke Elephant Outlaw
9. You will have many, many more good days
Diets have made me happy when I lost weight. And health kicks have made me happy when I got into shape. But this is different. (For one I’ve never stuck to either of those for over a year!)
I feel a lot healthier and I have more energy. I’m more interested in nutrition and what I’m actually putting into my body. And my skin is clearer.
But it’s the shift in mentality thats made me the happiest. I’ve become much more conscious. I consume less, recycle more, started volunteering and protesting.
It’s really empowering. I honestly believe can leave this world in a better place than I found it, and I will.
10. Never forget you are making a MASSIVE difference
Seriously, when I started out I completely underestimated the just impact one person can make.
Saving animals is not the only benefit.
In one year I’ve saved:
1,519,823 litres of water 💦
1,022 square meters of forest 🌲
365 animals lives 🐥
6,607kg of grain 🌽
3,322kg of Co2 ☁️
Want to be a more responsible traveler?
Tiny changes can make a huge difference
Tips to help both animals and people