In honor of World Vegan Day (Nov 1, 2018), today’s blog is a guest post from Jordan Smith!
When you think about going vegan, dietary changes are probably the first things that come to mind. Veganism is about a whole lot more than just what you eat, though. For most people, transitioning to a vegan lifestyle also means choosing clothing, furniture and even cleaning products that are free of animal products and byproducts. It is a huge lifestyle change and making the switch can seem quite daunting.
If you are thinking about going vegan, though, don’t fret. By making small changes a little at a time, you can make the transition go a lot more smoothly. Here are a few tips.
Learn as Much as Possible
Going vegan is a huge step. It involves making changes in nearly every area of your life and choosing to do so is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Before you begin the transition, take the time to learn about veganism and its benefits to discover whether it is right for yourself and your family.
Educate yourself about the costs and practices of the traditional production of animal products. Familiarize yourself with the reasons people choose to go vegan and work toward developing your own reasons and beliefs.
If you decide that transitioning to a vegan lifestyle is right for you, do some research to learn how to adequately nourish your body on an exclusively plant-based diet. Familiarize yourself with common ingredients that are derived from animals to know what you will need to avoid. Browse the aisles at your local store to see what vegan-friendly products are available in your area. If you are unable to find the foods and products you need locally, spend some time browsing the web to find reliable sources.
The more you educate yourself before you make the switch, the easier the transition will be, so don’t skip this important step.
Start Transitioning at Your Own Pace
For some people, going vegan is easy. They stop using and consuming animal products all at once and they never look back. For others, however, it’s much more challenging. If you need to transition in steps, that is perfectly acceptable. There is nothing wrong with transitioning a little at a time and, if you do it at your own pace, you are more likely to be successful.
Even if you start off having just one vegan meal per week or you vow to only purchase clothing made with cotton fabrics or bamboo instead of animal products like wool or fur, you are making a step in the right direction. Don’t focus on the end goal of living a completely vegan lifestyle. Focus on small steps and commit to making the transition at your own pace.
Add Before You Subtract
Eliminating animal products from your diet is a good place to start your transition. Before you start taking things away, though, you need to start adding healthy alternatives. Start incorporating things like beans, nuts, whole grains, legumes, tofu and seeds into your diet more frequently. Figure out which flavors you like and which you don’t. Experiment with different recipes and familiarize yourself with the many ways vegan-friendly ingredients can be incorporated into your diet.
Replace your milk with a non-dairy alternative, such as soy milk or almond milk. For most people, this is a pretty easy switch to make, so it is a good first step. If you do not like the first option you try, try another. There are a lot of options, so while it may require a bit of experimentation, there should be something out there that you like.
Think Beyond Your Diet
There are huge ways to reduce your use of animal products that have nothing to do with what you eat. Changing your diet is a huge part of going vegan, but there are also several lifestyle changes you can make. You may already avoid real fur coats, but what about your handbag? Is it made of leather? Is your favorite sweater made from alpaca? If the answer is yes, you might also want to consider updating your wardrobe as part of transitioning to veganism.
When shopping for cruelty-free clothing, check tags carefully. Cotton tees are safe, of course, as are garments made from synthetic materials like polyester. Wool, leather and real fur are things you should obviously avoid, but one animal product that’s often overlooked is down. Made from the soft layer of feathers that grows close to a bird’s skin, down is frequently used in winter coats (plus comforters and pillows) but should be avoided by those who embrace veganism.
Pay attention to household and personal care products, too. Many beauty products contain things like beeswax, honey, lanolin, gelatin and collagen, all of which are animal products or derivatives. If you are going vegan, there are several animal-based ingredients you will want to avoid. These ingredients can be found in everything from cosmetics and cleansers to diapers and household cleaning products. Familiarize yourself with what ingredients these products are actually made from and make informed decisions when shopping to ensure that the products you choose are vegan-friendly.
Going vegan is a huge lifestyle change. It isn’t one that needs to be made overnight, though. For most people, making small changes works better than trying to make the transition all at once. Start by familiarizing yourself with veganism and its benefits and make small changes that are easy to stick to. Rather than eliminating meat from your diet completely, commit to having one vegan meal per week and experimenting with vegan-friendly ingredients. Implement changes gradually and transition at your own pace.
If possible, talk to other people who are making the switch. Having the support of a community makes the transition much easier and can help you achieve success. Even if you struggle, remember that every step you take is a step in the right direction. There is no time limit on how to make a big lifestyle change and, whether it takes you a few weeks or several years, you will reach your goal if you persevere.
Jordan Smith is a full-time stay-at-home mother of 2 daughters and a new dog, Luna! She loves spending time with her family and coming up with creative new crafts for every occasion. As blogging is her second passion, she is a regular contributor to The Blog for all Things Wholesale Apparel. She also enjoys strolling the streets of downtown Charleston, South Carolina and all the amazing food her hometown has to offer.