It's Day 5 of the UBC so I thought I would share 5 ways veganism has changed my life.
Variety. Before I went vegetarian, I barely ate vegetables, maybe broccoli or corn here and there and I ate a lot of the same boring meals over and over. Exciting cuisines I typically ate from were Chinese and Italian and even within those cuisines, I stuck to a few things. I was convinced I didn't like anything else and was unwilling to try anything new. When I went vegetarian, I had to learn how to cook so I started experimenting with chili, different pasta dishes (not just baked ziti), and even salads. I found a way to enjoy asparagus and sushi! I did not eat seafood at all so sushi was always off the menu, but once I discovered veg sushi options, I slowly began to expand. Going vegan really pushed me to embrace foods from all over the world and I found myself getting excited about trying out a new vegetable. Once I went vegan I went all in and was determined to try lots of new things and experiment even veganizing dishes I had previously loved. Now, I love spending time in the kitchen, cooking meals for myself and loved ones. If you're a sweets person, no need to worry, there are tons of vegan dessert options. Whether you want to buy vegan cake or ice cream at the store or make it yourself, the options are endless!
Confidence. Being vegan in a non-vegan world is no easy feat. Though it certainly is easier now to find vegan options and the word is more easily recognized these days, we still face people who think veganism is stupid, pointless, or that we're "shoving our beliefs in their face." When you first go vegan you are so often baffled and horrified by what you have been contributing to that you can't possibly understand how you or anyone else in your life hadn't gone vegan years ago and often, you are inspired by these horrors to tell everyone you know about them. As you settle in to your new life as a vegan, you find your voice, your approach and you can easily spot when a meaningful conversation is to be had and when it isn't. I haven't just gained confidence around animal rights issues though, being an advocate for others has given me the confidence to be an advocate for myself, to trust that what I have to say is meaningful, and to trust my voice, always.
Connection. There is something truly special about finding others who are working for the same cause or motivated by the same injustices. The best part about this is that they understand the pain and the sorrow that comes along with understanding just how much suffering other-than human animals suffer at the hands of human animals. We can sometimes be so overwhelmed by how much still needs to change, or simply by the horrors of the industry itself that we can feel down, hopeless, and deeply sad. When we're connected with others walking the same path, we can lift each other up, keep each other going, and know that any food prepared at a social event is vegan. 😃
Clarity. Especially around privilege and how our societies are constructed. When we start to understand the animal agriculture system and the abuses within it opens us up to seeing systemic abuse among humans as well. I'm not saying you have to be vegan before you can understand social injustice, I'm just saying that seeing how we "other" animals so easily when typically, animals are seen as innocent, it makes it so clear how some humans can so easily "other" humans who in one way or another don't seem the same as them. Looking back at point 2, the confidence I have no allows me to be open and willing to see the privilege in my own life and to be ally who is always open to learning to interact with the world around me in a more compassionate way. By the way, when I speak of privilege this is about the privilege within the system I live, which I have whether I want it or not. This is not about whether or not I have faced difficult situations in my life, of course I have, we all do.
Alignment. I have always considered myself a person who loves animals. As a child I was constantly in awe of the wildlife around us, dogs I lived with and those of my friends, nature shows...etc, you get it. It wasn't until I started learning about veganism that I realized how out of alignment eating animals is with who I thought I was. When I went vegan it truly felt as if a significant piece of me had been found, something I had never been able to put a finger on but always felt like something was missing. Knowing that I was now being conscious of my impact on living beings on this planet fills me with such joy, When people ask me why I'm vegan, the quick response is "because to me, it is the most beautiful way to live." Making choices each day to reduce or avoid harm to others, to tread more lightly on the planet, to stand up for others, these acts are meaningful, important, and beautiful. A slightly longer response is "no one's life is worth a moment of taste on my tongue. Vegan food is delicious and nourishing, there are so many vegan clothing options (leather from apples and mushrooms!), and entertainment, well, we certainly don't need to exploit others for a moment of that." I'm vegan because it truly is who I am at my core.
Are there regrets when going vegan? Just one, and you'll hear this from my podcast guests and pretty much any other vegan you ask this question to. The only regret vegans have is that they didn't do it sooner.
Did this list surprise you? If you're vegan, I'd love to hear how vegansim has changed your life. If you're not vegan, which of these is something you'd like more of in your life? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Thinking about going vegan?
If you're interested in going vegan and would like expert guidance, check out my Vegan Voyage 12 week one on one coaching program. We go deep and get into a lot of what I've mentioned above and more. Each week builds upon the last so you're regularly implementing and taking actions where at the end of the 12 weeks you'll be confident in your choice to have adopted a vegan lifestyle, nourish yourself - body, mind, and soul, and address any comments or questions from those in your life who haven't yet made the switch. Get more info here and schedule a free discovery call here to connect with me and see if this program is a good fit.