29/07/2019

LESSONS FOR A NEW VEGAN

You've finally decided to take the plunge and make the switch to a vegan lifestyle! Well done! You're probably excited, proud of yourself, and quickly realising there's more to it than meets the eye. You're not just trying a new diet, you're changing your lifestyle in a way that the planet, the animals, and you will be thankful for. There are a few things I've learned over the years since going vegan, that I wish someone had told me at the start. 


1. It's okay to make mistakes | We've all done it, and we all will do it again. Sometimes we get caught out by the ridiculous things that contain sneaky and unexpected animal products and that's okay. Why does cereal need grease from wool in it? Why are bbq crisps vegan more often than salt and vinegar? It's especially hard when you're still learning, and you'll quickly discover animal ingredients can be hidden absolutely anywhere. If you slip up, move on, and don't beat yourself up over it. You're doing your best, and that's what's important. 

2. Don't let unethical brands fool you | With veganism on the rise, we have more options than ever before. From food to beauty products, we're spoiled for choice. Unfortunately, that also comes with brands trying to capitalise on the trend, without making meaningful change to their ethics. Garnier, Clairol, and Clarins are all beauty companies that profess to have vegan lines, yet still test on animals. These products are not cruelty-free, and therefore not vegan. Before you get excited about big brands suddenly going vegan-friendly, check out their animal testing policies and if they sell in China. Chances are, they're using clever wording to boost sales. 'Vegan formula' does not a vegan product make. 

3. Take it slowly | Whether you went vegan overnight or it was a gentle process, the chances are you're super excited. You should be! You're probably keen to tell everyone all of the reasons they should go vegan, and you might be looking at jumping into to some activism. I'd advise you take things slowly with this, even if you're feeling motivated and energised to do something right now. Unfortunately, not all vegans are the compassionate people you'd hope, and you might inadvertently align yourself with someone whos' views you later find you disagree with. I wish I could say vegans were all trustworthy and great people, but like wider society, the vegan community has a share of sexism, racism, ableism, and oppressive worldviews. Take it slow, and make sure you're not giving a platform to people or groups you'll later regret. 

4. It's your journey | Remember that your vegan journey is yours, and yours alone. You might feel pressure to go vegan overnight, or to throw out your non-vegan belongings, or to get involved with activism. It's okay if you want to do those things, and it's okay if you don't want to. If you want to be an incredibly health-conscious, whole-foods only vegan, then do it. If you want to sample the delights of vegan junk food, go for it. If activism makes you happy, then get involved, be that street activism, online activism, craftivism, or anything else you can think of. My point is, your vegan journey and lifestyle should be exactly what you want it to be, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. 

5. Not every issue is black and white | On the surface, veganism seems like a pretty clear-cut ethical stance, but it can actually get a bit complicated sometimes. Some vegans are okay with the use of secondhand leather, whereas others won't touch it. Some vegans are far more picky when it comes to any risk of cross-contamination, whilst others don't mind as long as they're not paying for animal ingredients. You'll come across lots of moments where you have to decide what feels morally comfortable for you, and you'll soon find a weird and wonderful spectrum of opinions on the matters!

6. Get excited! | Everything might seem complicated and overwhelming at times, but don't be disheartened! You're about to try a lot of new and delightful foods, make a lot of fabulous new friends, and develop a whole new appreciation for animals, food, and the planet. Your vegan journey will open far more doors than you can even imagine, so you should be excited as you embark on your new chapter!

Is there anything you wish you knew about veganism? Is there any tips you'd give to fledgling vegans? 

  

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1 comment:

  1. Oh darling, I wish I had this blog post when I started to become a vegan. I'm more than sure that it's going to help so many people! 💜

    With love, Alisha Valerie x | www.alishavalerie.com

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