I recently found out that apparently, November is World Vegan Month. It truly makes me happy to see how far this movement has come and that more people are becoming interested in this path. I went fully vegan about 3 years ago, and it wasn't totally easy when I first started. Changing your diet and lifestyle is never easy, and usually cannot be done overnight. And while many people seem view veganism as being all about restriction or deprivation, I want to show that it doesn't have to feel this way! So I'm here to give you my tips for going vegan, and how to do it in a way that makes it fun and exciting.
Give Yourself Time
When I start talking about veganism with someone new, one of the things I often hear from them is "Well I could go vegan but I love [insert food with animal product here] so much!". To which I reply, "So keep eating that!". Now you might be confused, so let me explain. If you're completely on board with going vegan but feel that you will miss a certain food too much, don't let that hold you back! Change as much of your diet as possible and then take your time looking for replacements for your favorite item(s). If you're addicted to cheese, try some different vegan options and see if there are any you like. If you can't live without pizza, good news, there are plenty of restaurants that offer vegan pizza and frozen options at the grocery store as well. Same goes for so many other traditionally non-vegan items like burgers, nuggets, sausages, cookies, even cheesecake! So take your time and don't be afraid of trying something new, you never know if it could be your new favorite food.
Go To Restaurants
While this might be a little more difficult to do in 2020, going out to eat has always been one of my favorite activities. And as a newer vegan, doing so could introduce you to many new foods you never even thought could be "veganized". Back when travel was still a thing, one of my favorite things to do in a new city was check out a bunch of vegan restaurants. And if in the future you're traveling aboard, this can be a fun way to try vegan versions of local cuisine.
Try A New Recipe
Up until pretty recently, I hardly ever wanted to cook for myself. Since quarantine however, I decided to start looking up and trying out some vegan recipes for foods I love. And I've been having a lot of fun with it! Trying out different spices and ingredients, putting my own twist on recipes I find. And if you're living with someone else who is vegan, this can be a fun activity to do together. Plus, knowing exactly what's going into your food helps take away any anxiety over accidentally eating something that isn't vegan.
Connect With The Community
There are so many people in the vegan community who are always willing to connect with you and give you their advice, myself included! Search hashtags on Instagram, groups on Facebook and recipe channels on YouTube, and I'm sure you'll find pages you love. Sure there are some people out there who might be a bit pushy and preachy, but I promise most vegans aren't like that.
Don't Forget About The Lifestyle
Being vegan doesn't just stop at your diet. It also includes your wardrobe and other personal belongings. However, don't just go throw out all your leather and wool items, use them until you cannot anymore and then replace them with a vegan alternative. Or, if they are in great condition, consider selling or gifting the items before deciding to replace them. This way, you don't have items that are just sitting unused because you feel too guilty to wear them anymore. Same goes for makeup and skincare items (if you choose to use these), don't just throw out all your items and buy new vegan and cruelty-free ones. Use up what you have and try your best to make a more informed and compassionate purchase in the future. And if you're confused about what brands are vegan, there are plenty of blog posts and videos online that can give you some inspiration. A couple of my favorite brands are Pacifica and Ethique.
Try Not To Get Overwhelmed
When learning about veganism, all this new information can start to feel stressful and overwhelming. Don't let this stop you from trying altogether, just do your best and learn along the way. Remember that going vegan is a journey, and all of us are continuously learning everyday. And when you do start to find your way, try to remember not to pressure or guilt-trip other people into following your path. Lead by example and see who you'll end up inspiring. Good luck!