Veganism is a fast growing animal rights movement all over the world. If you haven’t heard of it yet, you need to get out from under that rock you’ve been living under. Many people are getting aware about the inhumane animal agricultural practices and adopting a vegan lifestyle.
Some people like me have gone vegan overnight. Some have also looked for online-help to transition to a plant based diet, but still a few people remain who find vegan lifestyle a tough row to hoe.
Here are some tips for you guys who tried becoming vegan and failed. This is about my friend Ruchita Elekar. She is a big time foodie and a hardcore non-veg lover and an amazing cook. She has a beagle named Phoebe. When I told her how beagles are used in labs for testing she was taken aback . Animal testing exploits the docile and forgiving nature of beagles. Understanding how other animals are not much different from her own dog, she tried to adopt a vegan lifestyle.
Take Baby Steps
We always put off things that seem too difficult. The thought of even trying becomes implausible because we focus too hard on how miserably we are going to fail.
Ruchita went ahead with this approach. She started off by buying cruelty free products. There are various alternatives for all the things we use which are animal-cruelty free. While at it, she tried to stay vegetarian thrice a week. Gradually she turned the vegetarian days to vegan days. So now she was vegan thrice a week. This gave her an opportunity to experiment with different vegan dishes like cooking with tofu and replacing cow’s milk with a plant based mylk. You could plan a similar approach. Try out meat-less Monday’s or any day that suits you well. Try and make it a vegan one. Remember, baby steps.
Plan Your Meals
When you know you are going to be the only vegan in your family, you need to realize that you need to plan your meals for the next day. You cannot starve yourself and say a vegan diet made you weak. It is all about eating right.
Ruchita made a list of all the non vegetarian dishes she liked. She decided about the dishes she was going to cook for the vegan days and replaced the chicken/fish with mushrooms or tofu. So she shopped for all the food ingredients she needed for those three days that she would stay vegan. Luckily most of the masalas and marination used to cook non vegetarian dishes can be used to cook vegan food.
Health is Wealth
You will hear many many vegans talk about the health benefits after they have gone plant based. The results are great. Ruchita herself watched health related documentaries, out of which one being “What the Health” changed her mind to completely go plant based. My friend here was daunted by PCOD for quite a few years now. PCOD or PCOS also known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome affects 5% to 10% of women between the age group of 12 to 45. It causes problems with a woman’s menstrual cycle and appearance.
She says,”I had the problem of PCOD since the age of 18 and was under medication since then. My hormones were all over the place. To keep my hormones in check, the medicine would cost me around two thousand a month. I was also prescribed tablets for my sudden weight gain. PCOD apparently also results in depression. Everyone in my house keeps falling ill so I just got annoyed and thought i should set an example to my family. So I completely stopped with non vegetarian and dairy products. I had not got my periods naturally for quite some time now. I ate a plant based diet for around a month or so and I got my periods.
Trust me, you are what you eat. People find it difficult to believe that our diet is linked to so many illnesses and diseases. Apart from staying a vegan for my health, it makes me happy to not contribute toward animal suffering. I mean I love animals and I am not a hypocrite about it. And that really makes me happy.”
Realize the bigger picture
Ruchita is not any different. She is just like you. She was skeptical about making any dietary changes. What makes her stand out is that she did not give up. She still bakes, she still cooks and she is still a foodie.
But veganism is not just about food. It is a way of living with our ideals. We all despise and stand against discrimination, hatred, sexism, animal-cruelty and social injustice. And when you realize our lifestyle choices lead to all these atrocities, you understand that your actions contradict with your beliefs. And this is what should help you go vegan. Your actions define you and not just your beliefs.
It is not difficult. It is not tough to stand for what you believe in. You have the power to align your values with your actions. All you got to do is try. Think about more progress and less excuses.
Here are some online challenges you can try out