What you need to know as a new vegan
This is for the people that have watched the documentaries. They've learned the facts. You are here because you care about our planet, you care about living a long healthy life, or you care about ending the senseless violence. These are 4 tips to prepare you for going vegan in a non-vegan world.
- People will tell you all kinds of crap to get you to agree with them, because they want to prove themselves right. You may feel ganged up on, but you need to value science over other people's opinions. Yes, you can get ALL essential vitamins and minerals from veganism. No, there is NOTHING exclusively in animal products the human body needs. No, cows don't die if you stop milking them. And no, cows will not overrun humans and take over the world if we stop slaughtering them. In fact, those two scenarios are completely incompatible but will probably be presented by the same person. Prepare for a lot of insane arguments like this to try and psyche you out.
- For some people, it takes awhile. You probably won't transition overnight. It's alright to use up the products you already have and wear out the leather you own if you're personally comfortable keeping them. It's OK to gradually phase animal products out of your shopping list if you're not cooking savvy and maybe are unsure what to buy instead. You can try dropping one thing a week. Just because it's taking time does not mean you are not vegan. Veganism is a lifestyle, it's a mindset. It is not a ranking of purity. Just because you stuffed up and had an ice cream cone a few weeks in does not mean you have failed and need to give up. KEEP DOING WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN.
- You will make mistakes. Probably for the rest of your life. Sometimes you're so busy checking a label for an obvious animal ingredient, you miss a less obvious one. Sometimes you'll buy something from the same brand and assume it's as vegan as the other items, but you'll be wrong. Often, people will tell you things are vegan when they're not. Waiters, family and even product labels get it wrong all the time. You live in a careless world where violence pervades everything. As long as you eat and you shop, you're bound to consume some animal products accidentally. This is OK, it's not your fault.
- Being gut-wrenchingly devastated is normal, and it's good. It means you're a compassionate person. It takes a special level of awareness to truly understand the level of horror involved in the meat, dairy and egg industries. Everyone knows that the chicken on their place was once a clucking chicken, but most lack the emotional intelligence to appreciate the suffering involved. They choose to slap an image of a picturesque Babe-like farm on top of any real feelings they may have about the situation. You are now in the ranks of the world's most kind and compassionate people, and you're probably so angry and upset you wish you could move to another planet and start a new human race. But it's OK. It'll pass. You'll understand that you didn't always have the knowledge you do now. You didn't always know what went on inside these "farms". And not everybody else knows, they don't understand yet. You'll accept progress is slow but steady. You'll do the best you can with the capability you have, and you'll try to set a positive example for the people around you in the hope they ask you "why" and actually listen to your answer.
Because when you're vegan, the world is a little happier for you being in it. There is no blood on your hands and you can finally be at peace. Congratulate yourself and smile!
Please comment any other tips you'd give a newbie What thoughts and feelings did you experience when entering a non-vegan world as a new vegan?