From celebrities to your best friends at work or gym partners, it is highly probable that you will get an “expert” opinion about veganism being very demanding, borderline impractical, meant only for the rich.
To tell you the truth, you are reading too much into the hype about turning vegan. It is a systematic lifestyle change and not an overnight switch. It is not a dietary change but a lifestyle transformation that touches every aspect of your daily schedule.
Becoming a vegan takes time, there is a learning curve involved and the curve can be steep or flat—it is different for different individuals. This perception about veganism being limited to eliminating animal-sourced foods is the half-baked truth, served with a sprinkling of more misinformation such as bigger corporate brands trying to sell you plain foods branded as vegan.
In this discussion, we are going to clarify how you should approach veganism, the myths related to it, and why staying committed to veganism is not as difficult as it is portrayed by the media or perceived by most folks.
First, Get Your Fundamentals Right – what is Veganism?
Veganism is not just about avoiding meat or animal-sourced food. Yes, it comes with many dietary restrictions but you need to understand the concept beyond these dietary restrictions. Veganism is about living a cruelty-free, eco-friendly, and healthier lifestyle. If you happen to get your daily basket of vegan produce wrapped in layers of plastic packaging, you have misunderstood veganism!
This lifestyle choice is also about adopting Earth-friendly practices. Vegan food should have minimal impact on the environment, least number of transportation miles, limited electrically powered preservation hours and should come packaged with recyclable materials. Think of veganism as a combination of vegetarianism and being organic. You are adopting a different way of living, a choice that does not take a toll on animals, soil, water, and our ecosystem. If you insist on organic produce sourced from nearby community farms that have shunned the use of chemicals, you are progressing towards being a true VEGAN!
Switching to Veganism is not that boring – Vegan Cuisine is evolving!
If you are hanging on to the perception of a vegan chewing half-cooked veggies like our prehistoric ancestors, you need to wake up. Vegan cuisine is being reimagined, reinvented, served on a platter if you are willing to explore. As a vegan, you can expect a more than satisfactory 3-course meal across the world. From popular to remote travel destinations to metropolitans, there is always a vegan option. If not, you can pack delicious vegan snacks and supplements that are now available online. From cakes to chocolates and tacos to energy bars, sandwiches, smoothies and protein supplements, the vegan food marketplace is bustling with action. The current vegan menu is more tilted towards innovating. 2016 is turning into the year of exotic vegan dishes with some creating curiosity among dedicated meat-eaters!
Adopting Vegan Lifestyle has just one barrier, Your Mind!
From vegan bloggers to vegan health experts, members of this community will tell you that the only way you can sustain a vegan lifestyle is by adopting it with utmost conviction. You need to hold on to your belief when a tempting steak is being shared across the table or when people are digging into sumptuous, meaty burgers. Yes, this is hard. It takes a toll on your mind, challenges your will. At this point, you need to think about the brighter side of it—you are one of the few folks whose lifestyle does not indirectly torture animals or contaminates the environment.
Our Tip to Turn Vegan: Opt for Slow, Friction-Free Transition
Meticulously plane your move, let the change be gradual. You cannot eliminate all processed, animal-sourced or synthetic foods within a week. Cravings will hit you just like hardcore dieters try to resist extreme sugar cravings. Slowly eliminate non-vegan foods and find smarter substitutes. You might want to consider herbal teas, soy milk, fruit juices, and coconut water to keep you energized through the day.
Don’t Give Up: Give up on Animal Based Foods!
Our advice is to adopt a weekly, progressive journey towards true veganism. This also means interacting with newly transformed vegans, seasoned vegans and communities that believe in cruelty-free, ethical living. More importantly, start the journey, the longer you contemplate, the longer you take to make a decision, greater are the chances of never getting started…be a doer!