John did a great job writing “7 Myths That Keep You From Going Vegan”. He has such command with the English language. Anyway, enough praise for him. I am going to “piggyback” on his post about the myths and dig a little deeper into number 7, “It’s difficult.”
I am a pretty new vegan, I mean a year ago I was devouring authentic Philly Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. I remember my transition and I remember saying (more than once), “this is tough.” So, how does a burger loving, blue cheese dipping, bacon eating girl, (from a family of hunters) like me overcome “it’s tough?” Slowly! Slowly! Slowly! Slowly, I reduced the animal products. You see initially we were just reducing “some” animal products and it was “just for health reasons”. We loved what the plant-based doctors were saying about clean arteries, diabetes reversal, no Alzheimer’s, cancer reversals, and less aging… I mean who can’t get excited about being healthy? We both have watched family and friends battle with cancers and illnesses, and figured if we could change the potential outcomes through healthy eating we were in agreement that we should try. So, that is how this all started.
When you are eating for your health and longevity (and in my case… fewer wrinkles ;)) it makes it easier. So we dabbled. We reduced animals products from our meals, tried variations of our favorite recipes, and ordered plant-based items at restaurants. We liked it, it was easy. We weren’t perfect and that was okay. We made progress.
During that progress, we started watching some of the popular plant-based documentaries, following YouTube channels, and reading books (click here for some of our favorite resources). We had watched Food Inc. over 5 years ago and had made the switch to more “sustainable meat” (“happy meat” we called it… So sad to think we thought that animals in cages, bred for death were happy…smh). Anyway, these new resources opened our eyes to the treatment and reality of factory farmed animals. At that point, we were already 90% plant-based for health, so it was an easy switch to reduce our use of animal products. No, that does not mean I threw away or donated every leather belt, leather pair of shoes, wool coat, or leather purse I own, it means that when we buy new we buy consciously. We choose synthetic or manmade products over animal products, we choose companies that are cruelty-free and products that do not contain animal ingredients. It means we visit and support animal sanctuaries vs zoos and animal theme parks. Being a vegan is an ethical choice that we have made because we know that we do not need animals to survive or be happy and satisfied. This decision did not happen overnight. It has been years of seeds, experiences, and research that got us to this point. Living this way is not difficult.
I challenge you to view these resources, to educate yourself about what you need to eat to survive. I encourage you to take small steps. Progress toward your goal is purposeful progression. Each plant-based meal you eat reduces the demand for animal products. You make a difference. Go a day, a week, a month without animal products. Give up red meat, give up dairy, or give up fish. Switch to non-dairy milk on your cereal or nondairy creamer in your coffee. Order your veggie pizza without cheese; you’ll be surprised how much the other flavors pop without the cheese (and grease). These baby steps are how we started. When you spend money on animal products, you are increasing demand and, essentially, voting for more animal products.
I remember loading up my big salad bar salad and topping it with blue cheese crumbles…. (those poor cows… What they go through). Then I made the switch and topped it with hummus… It was good! It was fresh! It was new! It was easy!
Each little switch or step is progress. In my life I have been told, “you eat an elephant one bite at a time.” This quote was from Creighton Abrams, a U.S. Army General for the Vietnam War in regards to “when doing something difficult, do it slowly.” ( I am unsure why we needed to use eating an elephant as a reference), but in any case, changing your habits and lifestyle overnight may be difficult, so take baby steps. One meal, one change at a time and you will find, “it’s not difficult!”