With over 100,000 people signing up to Veganuary and counting, veganism is set to start going mainstream in 2018. And with so many new and aspiring vegans out there, I thought I should offer up a few words of advice that helped me in the beginning. There’s also a chance to WIN a huge hamper from Little Shop of Vegans for anyone hoping to inspire others to try veganism (or gain inspiration themselves!).
No One is Perfect
According to The Vegan Society the definition of veganism is:
“A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
Veganism is not a purity contest. If you slip up, take note and learn from it. If you are unable to find a vegan alternative for something you absolutely need, make sure it is known that there is a demand for it to be veganised. It is not a competition. We are all doing the best we can in a world that hasn’t caught up yet.
Learn the Facts
When you are vegan you are a constant reminder to everyone around you that they support animal exploitation. They will try to do everything they can to discredit you to make themselves feel better, so make sure you know what you’re talking about.Check your sources before sharing anything. Join vegan Facebook groups and don’t hesitate to ask questions. The meat and dairy industries are also notorious for spreading disinformation to discourage the current rapid growth of veganism, so keep up to date with the news and what they’re trying to pull next. Because you WILL be approached about it by people hoping that they have a new excuse to never change. There’s a list of common arguments against veganism on the Anticarnist website here that will absolutely come in handy almost immediately without a doubt.
Find Your Kind
One of the biggest factors for keeping me sane in the beginning was when I started attending the Norwich Vegans monthly meetings. Three years ago I sat with six other people and chatted for hours. It was refreshing and very much needed whilst I was otherwise surrounded by friends and family who either didn’t want to discuss anything I had learned or wanted to shoot it down. Now the meetings have around fifty different people in attendance each month and my friends and family are also much more receptive. Nevertheless, in the beginning, the opportunity to make vegan friends in a non-vegan world was a life saver. If there aren’t any groups in your area, strongly consider creating one. Go out for meals, do various forms of activism, or meet up for a social drink. We’re stronger together.
Everyone Needs B12
One of the hidden bonuses about being vegan is if you’re eating more fruits and vegetables than you were before, you’re not as in need of supplements. Nevertheless, a huge percentage of the world is deficient in B12, so it makes sense to take a B12 supplement at the very least. B12 is the byproduct of a specific bacterial fermentation that used to be much more abundant in soil, but due to modern farming processes and the fact we now wash all our produce for good reason, some people find themselves without enough of it to remain healthy after years of being deficient. Nowadays farmers give B12 supplements to their animals, but fortunately we can easily take these ourselves instead of getting B12 second hand. B12 is also found in fortified plant milks and cereals.
Another little benefit of aligning your actions with your values is that fruits and vegetables are very low in calories compared to meat, dairy and eggs. They’re cheaper too; especially vegan staple foods such as beans and rice. If you focus on a whole foods diet (which isn’t mandatory of course – there are plenty of vegan meats and cheeses in supermarkets these days), you can eat a lot more in terms of volume. So don’t forget to increase your portion sizes accordingly because food is fuel, and you’ll need that fuel to keep fighting for the animals. And the more leafy greens the better.
For a chance to WIN an amazing hamper full of vegan-friendly gifts featured above, see the top pinned post on the Anticarnist Facebook page.
FULL List of prizes in the Little Shop of Vegans Hamper:
Little Shop of Vegans tote bag, designed by Anticarnist
All Glamour No Guts ‘Someone Not Something’ notebook, designed by Anticarnist
Soya Free Vegenaise
Nutritional yeast flakes
Box of Chocolates
Anticarnist stickers x4
Anticarnist ‘Respect Existence or Expect Resistance’ beanie
How To Go Vegan book by Veganuary