Updated: Mar 1, 2019
A simple guide to going vegan—whether you're almost there or not!
Trust Your Gut
Have you ever eaten a piece of meat and thought about the animal you’re eating? Or come across slaughterhouse footage on Facebook and quickly scrolled away? Perhaps that’s why you are here! I went from eating meat three times a day to a die hard animal rights activist and here’s how I did it.
Become Aware of Their Suffering
“I’m so sorry,” I whispered as I leaned my head against a cattle car parked beside a slaughterhouse in Newark, New Jersey, “You deserved better.” I peeked through the dark hole to see a mother cow and her baby huddling together in the feces covered truck. Both in their final hours, they gazed back at me as if they knew what was coming. I could smell the blood and hear the screams from inside but there was nothing I could do to save them. I went vegan because I saw the terror in their eyes and I realized the monster was me.
Know Your Facts
Not only is animal agriculture harming billions of animals a year, but it is also harming our bodies and the planet. According to M.D. Michael Greger, “Within minutes of eating dead meat bacteria toxins, the body gets a burst of inflammation, stiffening or paralyzing the arteries.”
It’s no wonder why our cancer, heart disease, and diabetes rates are skyrocketing. The World Health organization classifies processed meats as carcinogens and most people eat meat daily! However, one study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claims that, “eliminating all animal products from the diet increases the risk of certain nutritional deficiencies. Micronutrients of special concern for the vegan include vitamins B-12 and D, calcium, and long-chain n–3 (omega-3) fatty acids.”
These health concerns are sure to frighten any beginner vegan but according to Alexandra Tierce, a Cornell certified plant based nutritionist, “All protein originated from plants. The animals that we eat get their protein from plants. As long as a vegan is eating enough calories from a varied plant based diet, it is impossible to be protein deficient.” Tierce goes on to say that, “Vitamin B12 are microorganisms found in dirt and was acquired in our veggies for centuries until farming became more sterilized. Even the animals we eat need to be given B12 supplements. There are many vegan B12 supplements on the market today.”
Surround Yourself With Other Vegans
20 year old college student, Elizabeth Sim went vegan three weeks ago and said, “So far the hardest part about being vegan is dealing with the people around me, so I suggest knowing your facts.” In just three weeks Sim noticed sleep improvements, more energy, brighter skin, weight loss, and a clearer mind. She even said, “I can’t imagine ever going back. I've saved so much money by buying mostly seasonal veggies, rice, beans, oats, seeds, and nuts!”
I gotta take some credit when it comes to showing Liz the ropes. She too, was afraid to make the change but all it took was that first step and now she's seeing so many benefits. By surrounding yourself with other vegans you allow yourself to enter a support system. Everyday I need to remind myself why I'm vegan-- we all do. Living in a world dominated by animal products, we must stay strong and be there for each other. The hardest part about going vegan is dealing with the people around you.
Experiment with simple and delicious meals
The word humane simply means having or showing compassion but how can we “humanely” murder an animal that doesn’t want to die?
Plant based chef Jamie Surya says, “We have never been so lucky to be living in an age where delicious mock meats and cheeses exist! I have had customers in my restaurant ask me if I was positive there wasn’t meat or dairy in my dishes because they tasted so good.”
When asked about suggestions for beginner vegans, Surya said, “Google is your best friend. There is a vegan alternative for everything. When cooking, a good base starts with a little olive oil, some onions and garlic. From there you can make veggies, stir frys, vegan burgers, pastas, and so much more. There are also many pre-made options at the supermarket which is quick and easy.”
Some great brands to try are Beyond Burgers, Light Life, Gardein, Miyokos, Kitehill, and SoDelicious. It’s all about experimenting with new products to see which one’s you like and then it’s a breeze from there.
I Woke Up
Just like many of you I grew up eating meat, dairy, and eggs. I did not want to learn about the industries because I found it too disturbing. That right there should raise question… If it’s not good enough for your eyes, why is it good enough for your stomach? Why did I continue to support something I found so vulgar? I realized I was living a lie. A real animal lover doesn’t just love some animals and eat others.
Now it was a process, I didn’t go vegan overnight. The facts were simply never presented to me (perhaps I was too afraid to see) and it took many many many pop ups of slaughterhouse footage on my Facebook for me to actually click on it. And then one day I did. I was ready to leave the years of brainwashing and propaganda from our “food” systems. I took a challenge on challenge22.com where I pledged to go vegan for 22 days. Well, it stuck... A year and a half later I can now say that it was the best decision I ever made.
I feel so lucky to have opened my eyes to this social injustice because now I can pay it forward and spread the message for the billions of victims that don’t have a voice. Veganism is a social justice movement, it is a civil rights movement, it is a feminist movement, it is an environmental movement and more! Becoming a part of the vegan community helped me find myself and my passion to speak up against injustice.
Time is running out for us, the animals, and the planet. So consider a more compassionate lifestyle, it’s fairly easy! Join me as I fight for those who are suffering. We can change the world together. I love you, we love you no matter what.