It’s been about six months now since I committed to veganism. I decided last summer that I would no longer play ignorant to animal testing within the cosmetics industry, and then six-months later, I thought I’d apply the same ideology to the foods I put into my body.
I adore animals, but I really come to this ethos from an environmental standpoint. There are so many of us racing around this planet. In order to maintain balance, we simply have to put less strain on resources. Oh–and emit less pollution into the atmosphere.
I confided in vegan friends, did a lot of research, and decided that I was up to the challenge. It also helped that I was simply in a place in my life where my morals were absolutely pointing me towards veganism. To ignore that drive would be living out of line with my values. I am too awake in my consciousness to do that.
Over the past six months, I’ve seen my body become the best it’s ever looked. I’ve felt humbled by having friends tell me I’ve inspired them and watching them follow suit in their lifestyles. I’ve been doing my best work all due to the clarity in my state of mind. I can’t go back. I don’t want to go back. But there have been hurdles–undoubtedly–and they’re things that I had to experience first-hand in order to really learn the lessons that accompany becoming vegan.
Here are four key things that I’ve learned over the past six months. I hope they will help you if you’re thinking of taking the leap to a more sustainable lifestyle.
1. Preparation is Key.
Do yourself a favor, and avoid the chaos that ensues if you are rendered without food and nearing the top of the “hangryometer.” Preparation is key to doing veganism with ease. Spontaneity can rear its delightful head from time to time, but be prepared, and you’ll save yourself heaps of stress. It sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Sure, there’s more thought involved than grabbing any old thing when the rumbling tummy calls for nourishment as you may have done in the past, but conscious consumption will bring you nothing but happy returns.
–Meal Plan. Get a good idea in your head of what you’re going to eat when you know time is pushed. This also allows you to shop efficiently at the start of the week because you’ll know exactly what you need to buy.
–Have snacks at the ready. Meal times are never a problem for me because I tend to cook in batches, so I have something handy to grab for lunch or dinner when the time comes, but snack time is where I fall down. Having snacks ready to go and keeping one in your bag for when you might get stuck in traffic keeps the hangry monster at bay.
–If you’re heading out of town, allocate yourself at least a little time beforehand to research vegan-friendly joints to tantalize your vacation taste buds. This prevents the “oh crap I’m starving and nothing here is vegan!” panic that can result in you eating whatever is available and feeling bad afterward.
2. It’s OK to slip.
Committing to veganism is committing to a lifelong practice of doing things differently. Place unbearable pressure on yourself, and you will only be met with doom and destruction. If you do slip up, remind yourself of how much you’ve positively contributed versus all the times you didn’t. Then, reassure yourself that nobody is perfect. Get back on the wagon with a tasty new Peaceful Dumpling recipe and fall back in love with vegan food.
3. Balance your meals.
Eating vegan is not just about cutting out the animal products and eating what remains; it’s about combining ingredients that give you a balanced diet. Sure, you could live on lettuce leaves. But I could not think of a more miserable existence, personally. It’s about learning what benefits you get from each food, reading up on the supplements you might need to take (such as B12) and focusing on consuming healthy plant protein and making meals feel hearty and give you sustenance.
4. The Positive Chain Reaction.
Lastly, I wouldn’t call it a hurdle, but rather an eye-opener. Since I committed to veganism I’ve witnessed a chain reaction of positive thoughts and practices in my own life. I’ve experienced clarity of thought, far more positive days than bad and the desire to be the best that I can be. This is in my work, in my relationships and as a sort of unabashed eco-warrior doing her best to promote sustainable living. I suppose it’s seeing that I’ve made this positive change in my life and not wanting to stop there. If I can do this, what else can I do? I want to reach for the stars.
What lessons have you learned from becoming vegan?
Also by Kat: Vegan Cake Recipes: Dark Chocolate Cake
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Photo: Kat Kennedy