Why It’s OK If You Can’t Go Vegan Overnight
If you’ve faltered on your new year’s resolution to go vegan, don’t beat yourself up. While switching to a plant-based diet is a fulfilling experience that made me happier and healthier, there’s also a lot to learn about vegan cooking and nutrition. Plus, being vegan means adding a whole new set of tools to your communication toolbox—because unfortunately, most people are misinformed about veganism and factory farming.
Perhaps more important, staying vegan usually means going vegan at your own pace. I tricked myself into becoming vegan by reducing my consumption of animal products over the course of three years. I went from eating animals one day each week to eating only vegetarian foods for a year, and then I became vegan. I’m not the only vegan who took their time making the switch either. Moby might be the best-known animal rights activist alive, and he’s been vegan for 30 years—but he was vegetarian for three years before becoming vegan, and he ate animals until he was 19 years old. Coretta Scott King took decades to stop eating animals, but she spent the last 10 years of her life as a dedicated vegan. So if you need to ease into a plant-based diet, just know that you’re in good company.
It’s also important to remember that simply cutting back on animal products helps animals, the environment, and our own health. A vegan diet has been shown to protect against certain cancers and to lower blood sugar levels. In fact, new research from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine found that a vegan diet may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Decreased inflammation and lowered risk of heart disease have been linked to plant-based diets as well. Ditching dairy could help you beat bloating once and for all, and going vegan just might make your skin glow.
When it comes to veganism, long-term success is the goal. So if you’re struggling to make the switch, don’t feel bad! Take some time to research plant-based diets, and then start exploring vegan recipes. Find a vegan writer, musician, or social justice activist to inspire your journey. If you’re the only vegan you know, hop on Meetup.com and look for vegan events near you. Or find some other way to foster a vegan community in your town.
Go vegan at whichever pace feels natural to you, and be patient. And if you feel like you could use some extra support, spend some time scrolling through The Green Plate blog. Check out our meal planner, customize your grocery list, and learn more about how to talk to your non-vegan family members. Remember that The Green Plate also offers live chat support and on-demand help from food coaches. Plus, we have answers to all your vegan junk food questions.
It might take some time, but you’ve got this! Keep eating kind and you’ll be a full-fledged vegan before you know it.