So, you're thinking about transitioning to veganism? That’s a great start! In this article, Zen Chef Sara lays out her best advice for an easy, lasting, and successful transition!
1. GET INFORMED
Being vegan shouldn’t be a chore. It shouldn’t be imposed by anyone. We don’t do it because it's trendy or to lose weight. It's a lifestyle, not a diet. The key to an easy vegan lifestyle is to believe deeply in the reasons you decided to become vegan.
I decided to become a vegetarian first and foremost for animals. When did I decide to become a vegan? After watching the documentary Cowspiracy. It helped me become aware of the environmental consequences of animal agriculture and realize that the most effective way to do something about climate change was to reduce my consumption of meat and dairy products.
There are several reasons to adopt a vegan lifestyle. I recommend doing your own research and reaching out to get all the information you need! If deep down you are convinced that being vegan is the thing to do to save the planet / be healthy / morally for the animals, it will be super easy to stay focused and not deviate from your goal.
2. BE INDULGENT
Be kind to yourself and also to others, because nobody is perfect. You have the right to "cheat". And you know why? Because you are above all, vegan for yourself.
We must stop criticizing ourselves, and start congratulating ourselves. Congratulating, because we are all people with good intentions, who want to improve things and who decided to act and change our habits. Remember that nobody is perfect and that it is better to do a little than to do nothing!
It is by being gentle on ourselves and others that we will succeed in bringing more people to our "side", and it is by making them feel accepted in our community that they will remain. The more we are, the bigger our impact is!
3. STAY SURROUNDED
Being vegan may also mean being at family dinners where people are eating animals. It can be frustrating, but remember that most of us were not born vegan, that we too once ate meat, and that we are not all at the same phase in our journey.
My family loves to remind me that younger, I ate so much meat that I probably had enough for a lifetime, so it was a total surprise when I told them I wanted to become vegetarian. If I did it, then anyone can do it!
A vegan that avoids meals with family and friends doesn’t help the cause. Accept dinner invitations even if it means bringing your own tupperware of tofu, and know that, by seeing the delicious vegan dishes we eat, people will find it less and less weird and intimidating. One day, they might want to taste your recipe, and the next thing you know they'll be asking you questions about veganism in a very different way than before. They will be curious to understand why you chose to be vegan and they may start cooking their own vegan dishes. And that's when I tell myself that I do have an impact on the planet.
One vegan is good, but two is better!
Bring dishes that you can easily share (eg.: salads), that are classics, such as chilli and spaghetti sauce (people are less willing to try unknown dishes), or desserts (the taste won’t be different from regular desserts and nobody can refuse a dessert!).
ONE LAST THING
By following these tips, you will have the best impact possible: 1- You will be vegan in a sustainable way, not only for the short term; 2- You will project a positive image of vegans and show how easy it is to live this lifestyle; and 3- You will inspire more people to reduce their consumption of meat and dairy products, which will significantly increase your own positive impact.
Being vegan is not an obligation or something imposed on you, but a real desire to make the world a better place. We see it as a lifestyle that we adopt for life. We do it for ourselves and that's what makes it easy. And if it's easy, it will be sustainable too.
And as always, remember we do our best to live with compassion.