This article is not meant to push anything on anyone. It is meant to help people make a big transition in a short amount of time if you so choose. The key word is choice. Titles, labels and identifications are often limiting, but decisions and commitments we make to ourselves can often come with unlimited benefits.
My personal journey to going vegan was not easy. I can’t eat gluten, so the initial idea of committing to a vegan lifestyle felt like I had nothing left to eat. Every person has their own perceptions and limitations and every one of them are valid until we reach a point where they no longer serve.
In my experience, I stayed a vegetarian for quite some time. For almost three years I would try committing to being vegan for a few weeks and fail. I was gentle with myself about it, but it was no longer a struggle the day I sat down and committed to seeing the truth.
I decided that to motivate myself, I needed to understand what livestock farming looked like. I was aware of the health benefits and aware of how animal agriculture impacted the environment, but I had always justified not watching the terrible videos on the internet.
I figured I might as well check out the actual conditions each species was subjected to, in order to avoid any denial that might exist. I told myself I would make whatever personal choice I wanted to after I did this research.
How This Decision Came Easily
The first video I saw showed an injured cow getting violently kicked and beaten while she couldn’t get up. I was horrified. I noticed a part of myself try to justify ending my “research,” but chose to take a different approach this time.
I decided that if I’ve been eating this food for decades, I might as well commit just one hour of my time to investigating what the process of getting my food looked like. I figure this was the only way to make an honest decision about what I was eating.
I knew this way, the decision would be up to me. I’m a firm believer in making clear decisions based on all the details, so I had to see what those details were.
After one hour, I knew eating animal products was in the past for me. There weren’t words to describe the horror that goes on, and I had no real idea about the implications of the industry I was supporting until I saw the truth with my own eyes.
How to Properly Make a Decision For Yourself
The subconscious mind is programmed through repetition. If we have repeatedly seen ads and positive confirmation regarding eating animals or animal products for years, this is simply embedded in our perception. This isn’t an excuse, but it is a reason to be gentle on ourselves as we see these things.
This bombardment in the media has desensitized us over time and even made us defensive because we associate our habits with our identity. If our lifestyle feels threatened, we interpret this as a threat to our survival and our fight/flight mechanisms in the reptilian brain are activated to defend ourselves immediately. This often stunts our ability to investigate with an open mind. This is completely normal, but being aware of it can help us to move beyond this step.
If we want to change our programming, it requires a good amount of research and emotionality to actively change what has already been stored subconsciously regarding our relationship to food.
This is nobody’s fault, and nobody should be forced to do this either. But if we want to make autonomous decisions, we must investigate both sides of what’s happening. There is a tremendous amount of financial incentive for large corporations to keep information hidden and to repeatedly feed us with ads about the “benefits” of animal products.
Everyone is entitled to their own lifestyle and decisions, but they should be made with information that is not just what we see on television or through advertisements that are geared to create a specific perception.
Check Out World-Renowned Activist James Aspey
After an incredible interview with James Aspey, a vegan activist who did a 365-day vow of silence for animals, I learned some more excellent tips and tools to keep me dedicated to my journey. James has over 30 million views on some of his beautiful speeches and is a sensational international speaker. He is also a beautiful human being who has a wonderful story about his own transformation.
The Process of Becoming Vegan Overnight
The First Step: Awareness
- Dedicate one hour of your time to watching what happens in slaughter houses. Check out what happens to every species of animal involved. See the process of how your food is created. This way you get to make an educated decision, independent of the media.
- James says we must try to imagine the argument from both sides. He isn’t referring to “eating animal products vs. not eating animal products.” He is referring to looking at the perspective of how we are personally impacted, as well as how the victims are impacted.
The Second Step: Educate Yourself
1. Learn about the health benefits of being vegan, while looking at the drawbacks of the lifestyle you are currently living. Take the time to evaluate this with an open mind. If you didn’t already know, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen, along with tobacco and asbestos. James shares this as a resource:
2. Learn how animal agriculture impacts the environment. The best source that James Aspey shares is:
3. Learn about vegan alternatives, so you know what you will need to find substitutions for. I suggest simply making a list of foods you need to cut out of your diet and go to the grocery store to pick up these alternatives. Nowadays, you can find almost all alternatives for animal products at your local supermarket.
4. Identify your potential road blocks/fears and create proactive strategies to move through these moments. For example, what do you do if you are stuck late at work and need an emergency snack? How can you make these situations as easy for yourself as possible?
5. Join community support groups online and subscribe to some cool vegan Youtube channels for food recipes!
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the things you’re uncertain of.
- Don’t stress yourself out if you make mistakes. This is how we learn.
- Don’t push your beliefs on others. Change doesn’t come from fighting a problem, it comes from being for the solution. Sharing is different than preaching, and we can’t know someone else’s reasoning for their decisions.
Three principles to remember:
- Stored subconscious guilt is the biggest cause of self-sabotage for behaviour. If you really want to make the commitment to a new lifestyle and have done your research, remember that what you eat can go so far as to affect your behaviour too.
- Every single person makes a difference. No one person is too small to make an impact. Change happens when many individuals take accountability for their lifestyles and habits, to create a collective shift. Your decisions matter.
- Where you spend your dollars supports an industry to be upheld. You are generally supporting an industry or not with your funding. Choice by choice, you are a part of the problem or the solution to change.