3 rules for an easy sustainable transition
1- Get all the information
2- Be indulgent
3- Keep being surrounded
WHAT IS A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION?
For me, a transition to veganism is successful when it's easy and sustainable. Being vegan is not an obligation, something imposed on you, but a real desire to improve society. We do it for ourselves and that's what makes it easy. And if it's easy, it’ll be sustainable too. We don’t see veganism as a short-term diet, but as a new lifestyle that we adopt for life.
GET ALL THE INFORMATION
Being vegan shouldn’t to be a chore. It shouldn’t be imposed by anyone. We don’t do it either because it is trendy or to lose weight. It's not a diet. The key to an easy vegan lifestyle is really to know about all the reasons why you should be vegan.
I decided to become a vegetarian first and foremost for animals. I started from a lifestyle as far to veganism as it could be : 5 glasses of milk a day, never ate any vegetarian meals (neither tofu nor legumes), my favorite meals were roast beef and hamburgers. For all these reasons, I had a long transition : 6 months to be vege-curious (trying vegetarian recipes), then flexitarian (vegetarian at home, but not at the restaurant), then at least 1 year still eating fish (pescetarian) to finally become vegetarian, then vegan 2 years later.
When did I decide to become a vegan? After watching Cowspiracy. I became aware of the environmental consequences of the animal agriculture and realized that the most effective way to do something about climate change was to reduce my consumption of meat and dairy products.
Although the documentary What the health was criticized for several facts being exaggerated, it gave me a new perspective on why I was a vegan. I was already vegan for the animals and the planet, but I had never thought about health even though I felt several health benefits since I cut the meat, and even more when I cut dairy. Indeed, my stomach pains that I had practically after each diner (consisting of meat) or the sickness after eating cheese (I think it was my liver) stopped. Many people also feel lighter after eating a vegan meal, which I also agree!
So, get all the information you need! If deep down you are convinced that being vegan is the thing to do to save the planet / be healthy / morally for the animals, then it’ll be super easy to stay the course, focusing on your goal.
Here’s a list of documentaries that you can watch online : 11 documentaires sur la condition animale à voir ou revoir
To yourself and also to others! Nobody is perfect, you have the right to "cheat". And you know why? Because you’re vegan for you. Can we stop the vegan shaming already? I'm really fed up with who’s the best vegan / sugar free / unprocessed / zero waste / palm oil free / no pets / against big companies that introduce vegan options / who stop taking their medications because the pill isn’t vegan.
Can we stop criticizing ourselves and begin to congratulate ourselves? Congratulate because we’re all people with good intentions, who want to improve things and who have decided to act and change their habits. So remember that nobody’s perfect and it's better to do a little than nothing! I congratulate people who try vegan recipes, once, twice, three times a week ... People who decide to take the Beyond Burger at A&W instead of the Teen Burger. People who are curious and who order the same thing as me at the restaurant (it happens often with those who are lactose intolerant). I congratulate them because there’s one less animal that has suffered that day. There’s less CO2, methane emitted, water used. The health system bill will be a little lower, because the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes or developing certain types of cancer will be lower for those who have traded a meal of meat for a vegan meal.
And it’s by being indulgent that we’ll succeed in bringing more people into our "clan". And it’s by feeling accepted in our community that they’ll stay too. And the more we are, the bigger our impact is!
Remember that tolerance is key. If you expect your interlocutor to be open-minded to listen to your arguments, they expect the same from you. So your point of view won’t be heard if yourself are close-minded and uncompromising. It's a lot easier to say than to do, I agree. But we must remember that we haven’t always been vegan.
KEEP BEING SURROUNDED
Being vegan nowadays is also being at family dinners where people in front of you are eating a dead cow carcass (also called steak). It's frustrating but we also have to remember that we’re not born vegan, that we too ate meat and we’re not all at the same phase in our journey
Anecdote : My family likes to remind me that I ate so much meat that I probably had enough for a lifetime. So it was a total surprise when I told them I wanted to become vegetarian. So really guys, if I succeeded, everyone can do it!
A vegan locked in his home, who doesn’t see his family and friends, it doesn’t really help the cause. So we accept dinner invitations even if it means bringing your tupperware of tofu. And we hope that by seeing the vegan dishes we eat, people will find it less and less weird and intimidating. One day, they’ll want to taste your chili recipe. Then they’ll ask you questions about veganism, but in a different way than the first times when they laughed at you because bacon is taste and plants have feelings. They’ll be curious to understand why you’re vegan and they’lll want to start cooking vegan dishes. And that's when I tell myself that really, I have an impact on the planet. Because one vegan is good, but two is better.. !
Tips : bring dishes that you can easily share (eg : salads), choose to bring traditional meals like chilis or spaghetti sauce (because people are less willing to try unknown dishes) and bring vegan desserts (because the taste won’t be different from regular desserts and nobody can refuse a dessert!). Indeed, a prejudice that we should dissociate, in my opinion, is vegan = hippy, we don’t eat only lucerne (or we just don’t ... oops).
By following these 3 rules, you’ll have the best impact possible. 1- You’ll be vegan in a sustainable way, not only short term 2- You’ll project a positive image of an understanding and reasoned vegan and how easy it is to live this lifestyle 3- You’ll bring even more people to cut their consumption of meat and dairy products which will double, triple, or quadruple your positive impact.
And as always, we remember doing our best to live with compassion.