Top ten tips to become vegan

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While helping fellow climate reality leaders prepare for our local event in line with the 24 Hours of Reality, I was assigned to write something about my own climate action, so I decided to write about tips on how to become vegan. Here is what I submitted:

  1. Decide on your ‘why’. People have different reasons for becoming vegan. Are you doing it for the love of animals, to save the rainforests or fight climate change, for health, moral or ethical reasons? When you decide to be vegan, know exactly why you are doing it. Later on you will find other good reasons and co-benefits and there are many, but so as to be clear with yourself when you embark on this journey, be clear on the reason/s why you want to or should do it.
  2. Be strong, even as a work in progress. Your own pace is good enough so don’t look at others and try to compare yourself to them if they leapfrog from extreme meat-eating to raw veganism overnight. Celebrate small victories. Should you fail once in a while, learn from it and move on. Most importantly, don’t ever, ever give up.
  3. Start quietly or go out with a bang, whichever works for you. Some people declare their intention to go vegan publicly so that they would have public pressure to continue working on it. Others choose to start silently, not saying anything, until people realize the shift. Both are ok, you can even do an in-between, sharing your decision to a small group of family and friends while keeping mum to others.
  4. Don’t be alone in the journey. Find a group to support you, a vegan shift partner, and ask for help. It always comforts to have someone to give you tips, encourage you, and help keep you on track. There are many online communities that could provide support, or meet a local vegan or animal activist to talk to about your questions and apprehensions.
  5. Keep learning. By becoming better informed, you will see that your decision is right and you will have a stronger resolve to go on. Google (or ecosia for that matter), is a vegan’s best friend. Find a vegan lifestyle doctor who can guide you to do it properly. Install a vegan app like Happy Cow on your smart phone. Subscribe to vegan newsletters. Read books and watch documentaries like Earthlings and Cowspiracy.
  6. Focus on fruits and vegetables. If you make your plant-based food diverse enough, you don’t ever have to worry about protein and all other nutrients. You have to have a B Complex supplement though, because B12 is a common vegan nutrient deficiency. For all others nutrients, no worries, as long as you eat a good diversity of fruits, vegetables, lentils, and nuts. Remember you don’t need imported superfoods to be vegan. You can be a healthy vegan by eating local so don’t worry about wrecking your wallet.
  7. By all means eat out and don’t deprive yourself. By eating out you get to spread the advocacy and inform more people. Find vegan-friendly restaurants and fast food joints. Be on the look-out for food choices (like pizza and pasta!) that could easily be transformed into a vegan one. Be very clear when you request for vegan food but be extra nice. Remember that anybody could be a potential ally until you turn them off.
  8. Victory loves preparation. It is best to avoid getting frustrated by being prepared. If you go out, bring something, like raisins and nuts, to munch on in case no vegan food could be found. At home, stock up on fruits, veggies, pulses, lentils and nuts, and don’t run out of herbs, spices, and condiments which brightens up any vegan menu.
  9. Keep an open mind and experiment. Try new things. Haven’t tried Indian food? They have awesome vegan choices. Not much on meat substitutes? There is a wide variety and they could help save your transition period. Fridge almost empty? Search the cupboard until you find items to mix and match. You’ll be surprised how a hungry vegan could be creative in the kitchen.
  10. Start with your plate. Being vegan is living a compassionate way of life and does not end with food. To be vegan you have to give up all animal products and not support any endeavor that employs animal cruelty. But by just cutting on meat, you are doing the biggest and most meaningful change. You are saving lives three times a day and are making sure there will be less demand for meat coming from animal agriculture that destroys habitats and aggravates climate change. Start with your plate and everything else will follow.






One thought on “Top ten tips to become vegan

  1. Pingback: Why a capsule wardrobe won’t work for me | shielarcastillo

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