What is the vegan lifestyle? Many people begin on this difficult road for health-related reasons. This was the story for me.
The story goes… You eat whatever you want. You get very sick. You get admitted. Doctors treat you but don’t heal you. You do your own research. You discover – it’s the food stupid! You are what you eat. You change to a whole food and plant-based diet. Your disease disappears. Doctors and/or Family members are amazed. You become a miracle!
But really there was no miracle there but a lot of ignorance! Most people do not believe that there is any correlation between what we eat and state of our bodies and minds. To convince a non-believer is futile. Of all the things we are most loyal to – our diet remains perhaps the closest to our hearts, the one thing that we can count on when all else fails. The thing that brings us comfort and joy in a tough world.
But being a vegan is more than just the diet. More than just about eating healthy food or trying to lose weight, or even trying to prevent or reverse cancer. See my definition what is a vegan.
What we eat reflects who we are, what we believe in, what kind of society we are part of and what kind of world we live in and prepare for our children. It is everything. It changes everything. The vegan lifestyle is summarized below:
- Viewing all animals as sentient beings created by God with a right to live accordingly on the planet. If it is disgusting to eat a dog or a cat or a rat then it is equally disgusting to eat a cow or a pig or a sheep. To think otherwise is to demonstrate how powerful social engineering and conditioning is. Vegans should be empathetic and be “good” to all living things. Animals do feel pain and want to live.
We don’t believe in breeding animals for food, essentially creating animal prisons and concentration camps, we end up spending most of our resources cleaning up after them, feeding them, housing them. The amount of land and physical resources needed to maintain livestock is staggering. In 2006, FAO’s Animal Production and Health Division produced a report called Livestock’s Long Shadow – documenting how “the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”
- Belief is important as a start, but self-belief without “collective” action is not enough. Therefore Activism has got to be part of the vegan lifestyle. It is critical to become part of the movement and cause for change. This does not have to be a big splash but rather little ones. Changing your diet is activism. Spreading the knowledge is too. But these are just the minimum one can do. As we grow into a plant-based lifestyle, it is important to become active in the collective efforts of many plant-based focused movements. Ultimately, for change to occur, local, regional and national efforts must be made to really push toward the systemic changes that really need to happen in order for the full benefits of a plant-based society to be realized.
How to become a Vegan?
My humble advice is: Do not become a vegan by becoming a vegan. Don’t go cold turkey! Please do not do this or you might cause serious injury to yourself. There is no need to send the body into shock. Your vegan journey should be a series of goal posts that are realistic and achievable. For example, let’s assume someone eats 3 times a day, then start by eating one of those meals as vegan. No flesh. No animal-derived cheese. No cow’s milk. No eggs.
It’s not too difficult to go vegan at one meal during the day. If you have difficulty doing this then going on this journey is not for you. For those of you that can pass one vegan meal every 2 or 3 days can increase the frequency to a vegan meal every day for instance. As you increase the frequency of the vegan meals, it will start to become more challenging knowing what to make that is both vegan and satisfying to you. You will also think you have few options to eat. You may not even know how to cook with vegetables only.
Here is where research and education is very important. No one can motivate you to become a vegan more than yourself. This goes for anything in life. You are the key to your success. When no one is around but yourself, which probably accounts for the majority of your time, you have to be the one to take action. It’s what you do in such times that will be the determinant of the results you get.
Therefore, it is vital that you do your own research and educate yourself in plant-based nutrition and the vegan lifestyle in general. It’s important to consider broader questions in your research such as: where does our food come from? how is it grown? where is it grown? are these sustainable? what is the impact on the environment? As you start to investigate these questions, you will gain a stronger understanding as well as developing the mindset or willpower to continue forward in your journey. You must find the reason why you are a vegan for yourself otherwise you are doomed to fail.
Check out these resources:
I further encourage you to become very scientific on your journey. Try to prove to yourself the validity of the choice you made in going vegan. This would require a 14-day commitment to the vegan diet. Usually people change their diet because they have a medical condition. Perhaps they are on medication for high blood pressure. Whatever non-life threatening issue you may have, go to your doctor and get blood work done.
Do not tell your doctor you are changing your diet. If you are on medication, do not stop taking the medication. Once the tests have been taken then begin your vegan diet for 14 days. Then go back to your doctor and get new blood work done. Then compare the results. You may find you feel great and your doctor may take you off your medication.