The Ultimate Guide To Vegan!
Chapter 12. I’m not ready to be a vegan yet, what can I do?
So November, which is now a worldwide vegan month, is gone, and you still aren’t vegan.
Perhaps, you’re OK with that, but if you’ve ever seriously considered going vegan and have taken steps in this direction, you probably aren’t ok with that.
This is because vegan lifestyle is so much more than a diet – it’s about putting the exploitation of animals to the end entirely, for the sake of all magnificent creatures inhabiting the planet, the Earth itself and our own health.
So if you’ve ever considered going vegan, you probably have a certain ethical standpoint, which likely makes the realisation that you’re not ready just yet even harder.
To make things worse, you will likely meet many people on your way who will be all about “all or nothing” approach, thinking that “less bad” is not enough, and it’s kind of like making compromises with the devil.
This may be very discouraging for vegan sympathisers, as they will always think their little steps will never be good enough, turning away from the entire journey and proceeding with their lives forever undecided.
First of all, let us reassure you – we are not here to judge or shame, we are here to help you!
Now that we’ve got this out of the way, let us present to you a number of suggestions which will allow you to change the world for better, even if you’re not ready for a full vegan transition just yet.
Reduce animal products consumption as much as you can.
Maybe you’ll decide to only go vegan or cut out meat on certain days of the week – hello, Meatless Mondays!
Or perhaps, you’ll go from the opposite end and pledge to only put animal products on your plate only X days a week (preferably no more than 4, but who are we to judge?
Do what works for you, not what you wish worked)
Some other, even less radical strategies, include eating vegan before a certain time of the day (5 pm is a popular cut off), only consuming animal products outside the house or the opposite – only indulge in meat at home (works if you usually lunch around your workplace).
If you find you’d easily go vegan if it wasn’t for the X (insert your own – steak, cheese, fried eggs), consider still making a transition except for allowing yourself to consume just this one holy grail item/category.
In our highly demanding world, it’s easy to fall into the mentality of “if you’re not doing something 100% all the way, you’re not doing it at all”.
This is simply not true. Think about it this way – most people consume animal products every day, with every meal.
Even if you only go vegan once a week, you will still make a huge shift from what “everyone else” does. Every step counts.
If your vegan meals mostly come delivered or picked from the frozen section of your nearest supermarket, the problem may be educational.
In other words, it’s a possibility that you simply haven’t explored enough delicious vegan recipes yet to fall in love with the lifestyle!
The solution is simple: browse for vegan recipes that utilise a wide range of ingredients, such as tofu, beans, lentils, or vegetables. Some great sources include the PETA website and Vegetarian Times.
A helpful tip for Google adepts – simply Googling “vegan food X”, where X is the name of your favourite guilty pleasure, will likely yield literally thousands of results to choose from.
Preferably, look for simple ones that can be cooked in 15-30 minutes so you don’t get too overwhelmed.
It also helps to broaden your horizons and explore dishes from cuisines which are naturally largely vegan. Indian, Ethiopian and Chinese cuisines all have endless options when it comes to vegan cooking.
Don’t focus on items you can’t eat.
Many people don’t feel confident enough to make a transition simply because they focus on negatives, e.g. “I won’t be able to have steak/yoghurt/cheese sticks”. This approach is basically setting you up for a failure.
Instead, experiment with a wide variety of whole, nutritious foods and get excited about all the amazing stuff you can eat, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and beans!
All these basic yet delicious foods can be cooked in a zillion of different ways, eliminating boredom and igniting culinary creativity. Isn’t it awesome?
Not ready to give up meat? Pick more ethical options. (Sorry but this section is really difficult for me to suggest – because I have seen things that you probably haven’t but we all have to start somewhere)
Even if you’re not ready to give up meat entirely, you can still focus on only buying ‘humanely’ sourced meat.
This is not too hard to do, considering all meat is given labels to reflect on how it was raised (but not slaughtered). However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all labels are regulated, which means some of them may be only symbolic or even purposely misleading.
For instance, be careful with “Certified organic” meat, as the animals raised under this label may still be subject to various grades of inhumane conditions. The label simply means that antibiotics, hormones and some other additives/treatments are not permitted, as well as animals must be allowed to “exhibit natural behaviours.”
Whilst this approach is likely much better in most cases than conventional farming, we strongly recommend to research the supplier before becoming loyal to a brand.
A good solution here is to buy directly from farmers, who genuinely care about their cattle.
I can only advise this as a stepping stone.
In conclusion, please remember – your journey to veganism is not about perfection. Rather, it’s all about doing the best you can.
Be patient with yourself and keep moving towards your goals one step at a time – no matter what they are.