Veganism is a lifestyle choice and not a switch that gets flipped. For most veganism is an ideal, a way of life they want to embrace after years of being non-vegan and the change can be hard to sustain.
Why am I struggling to stay vegan? Becoming vegan after years of not being makes for a dramatic shift in lifestyle and it can be a bumpy road to remain on! Peer pressure, lack of knowledge, convenience, and many other reasons can make it a hard road to travel.
Why did you become vegan?
So you made the decision and you have announced to Facebook that you are now vegan! You may have been veggie and transitioned or maybe you saw Cowspiracy and went for it!
It is an awesome decision, for sure, but think about your why!
If you became vegan cause your fave celeb is you are more likely to struggle! You likely don’t know them personally and they aren’t going to be part of your journey so it isn’t a very strong ‘why’. Think about what about that person draws you to them how does that relate to veganism? Is there a trait they have, compassion or kindness or awareness that you want and that’s what has drawn you to them and the decision to be vegan? Look deeper and find your own why it will be there and it will make it easier for you to defend and stick to your decision.
How will you be vegan?
Having a why is very important to focus you in the hard times! So is having a how!
If you aren’t sure what you can eat as a vegan do some research, there are tons of resources out there to help you. Maybe you like to eat out get into the habit of checking menus before you go somewhere to make sure they have vegan options.
Cooking for yourself? Get a bank of good recipes under your belt so it becomes a quick and easy ‘think’ rather than a constant struggle of what shall I eat today! Plan and aim to add one new meal a week so your repertoire gets better.
Like some ready meals? Research and start to build up a good bank of easy pickups! I know where to get the best vegan frozen pizza from, for example, and as I try others I might add them to my list but when I am in a hurry and need something quick I have my ‘go-to’ shops and heat up and eat items so I don’t get caught out!
If you are out and about know your snacks! Take snacks in your bag so you won’t get caught short and wanting!
It’s not just about food if it is you are on a plant-based diet and not a vegan. Start to research what personal care products are vegan and look at the clothes and shoes you are buying … It isn’t a quick transition it takes time and research!
Family and peer pressure can make sustaining a vegan lifestyle a headache! It is exhausting to constantly have to defend yourself or to be the one who needs ‘special’ food!
Combat this by standing firm… every time you give in and have something non-vegan to please someone else you weaken your stance! If you live within a non-vegan household get used to cooking for yourself or if you have to cook for others start vegan then add in the ingredient that makes it non-vegan after you separated your food out.
If you are going out with friends or family to eat look ahead of time be proactive in suggesting places that have a good vegan menu or options.
Going to friends or family to visit? Offer to take your own food with you or if they are keen to cook give recipe ideas. Offer to help them cook!
Staying strong and offering solutions to the ‘problem’ of you being vegan is the way forward. Also, keep it friendly and positive it doesn’t need to be a sticking point and as everyone gets used to the change it will become easier but expect to be tested in the beginning!
Becoming vegan is a big change especially if you have been a meat-eater all your life. If your family and friends are all meat-eaters this is also going to be a big change for them. You can expect them to respect your decision but they will probably question your decision! They might also rest your resolve!
Remember you are now challenging them on their choices, even if you don’t verbalise this you are by your actions! We have had people get angry with us, laugh at us and send us endless vegan jokes!! We have had people just refuse to acknowledge our decision and try to feed us non-vegan food! We confused people at first by saying we would eat veggie when out or visiting and vegan at home, we thought it would help but in reality, it just made the transition harder for our friends and family!
Remember to be kind and realistic! You are unlikely to smash being vegan in every area of your life start where you can, we started with food, quickly stopped wearing animal products and then started on personal products and medicines. We aren’t there with everything yet but… forgive your mistakes and learn as you go!
Keep in mind your why! Celebrate your successes and learn from your mistakes and move on! Teach those around you but don’t preach and you might find they have ‘vegan’ days or they start to look at their personal products and demand cruelty-free! Every step is important!
It is a journey and not a destination, seek out like-minded people to enjoy the journey with and to share ideas. All of this will help you to evolve as a vegan and as a person.
Enjoy, learn and be!