What You Should Do During Your Vegan Transition So You Don’t Fall Back
Updated: Aug 20, 2020
Before I went vegan overnight, I went through a transition period without my realising it.
In my mind, going vegan was an all-or-nothing thing.
I still think so today.
You are either committed or you’re not.
You are either vegan or you’re not.
If you’re trying to go vegan, that means you’re trying. It’s like me trying to go plastic-free. I’m still trying, but that doesn’t equate to my being zero waste.
It’s great that you’re considering to go vegan and that you’ve reduced your meat intake.
Awareness is key and taking the first step means that your second step will follow suit.
I’m happy for you.
So, what can you do next?
Learn More About the Nutrition Aspect
You know about the cruelty that goes on in factory farms as well as the environmental impact they cause.
It’s easy to find information on the exploitation of animals on Google.
What’s a bit complicated to find is information about nutrition.
This is not because vegan nutrition is complicated. Well, at least it’s not any more complicated than any other types of nutrition.
It’s because there are unreliable articles that are simply demonizing the vegan diet.
While yes you don’t get as much protein per serving of spinach compared to fish but you can get the same amount if you eat other plant-based food like beans or soy.
And if you’re worried about B12 — you should, regardless if you’re vegan or not. With intensive farming, cows rarely get their B12 from bacteria in the soil. Instead, they are fed supplements along with antibiotics.
I’d rather get the B12 supplement directly then depend on the poor cow to ingest and absorb it. Besides, I can’t know for sure whether the B12 will still be in their system once they reach my plate.
And don’t worry, you CAN get protein along with other micronutrients from a plant-based diet.
Watch Documentaries To Learn More And Get Inspired
The documentary that completely changed my worldview and moved me the most was Cowspiracy.
I was a science student so a documentary with facts as well as good narration intrigued me.
Cowspiracy laid out the premise that Kip Anderson (the narrator, researcher and producer) tried everything for the planet. He took short showers, recycled and rode his bike instead of driving. Yet, nothing seemed to change.
So he dug deeper and found out that most prominent environmental groups were hiding something.
And that something was animal agriculture, which has a very large impact on the health of the environment.
My mind was blown after watching that documentary.
How did I not know about this?!
Well, now I know. And so I had to do something.
I didn’t go vegan straight after watching Cowspiracy. I felt like I needed to verify whatever I just witnessed.
And maybe I was also finding stronger arguments to refute whatever Kip said.
The more I learned, however, the stronger the arguments I found FOR veganism.
Between Cowspiracy and my going vegan overnight, I significantly reduced meat intake, only eating chicken or meat once or twice, mostly during Eid.
And—this is important—I increased vegetable intake. This was so that my taste buds and digestive system get used to it.
Follow Vegan Personalities On Instagram & YouTube
“You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you” —The Minimalists.
We consume information online every day. It’s important that when we’re making a change, we’re also changing our online feed.
Take control of what you consume online.
The more you follow and interact with vegan accounts, the easier it is to get information and to tug your heart towards the cause.
Within sight, within mind.
He was one of the first vegan activists that I came across. He has initiated Unity Diner and Surge Activism since then. His content has been informative and engaging. I like the no-bullshit no-drama way he presents them. Just facts and honesty.
She’s a zero waste vegan whom I look up to. She posts informative and aesthetically-pleasing videos on YouTube. On her Instagram, she sometimes invites other environmental activists to share their perspectives.
Her food blog was meant to be just a little blog for her to share her recipes to friends and family. But it has turned out to be something of so much value for many people. She has not only added hundreds of recipes but also turned her blog into a business.
If you’re into fitness and nutrition, you should check out her YouTube channel. She provides science-based training guides and vegan-friendly recipes. As far as I’m aware she is vegan but doesn’t mention it explicitly as her focus is fitness and nutrition.
Venetia La Manna
I relate so much to her in terms of being a recovering hypocrite and just trying my best while holding on to my vegan values. She’s the wife of Max La Manna so I see it as a beautiful marriage of Vegan and Zero Waste. So much to learn from them!
I realised that most of the vegan advocates who I follow were mostly White and Western. But recently there are more and more people of colour showing up in this movement. Seb is an animal rights activist and he has quite a similar vibe to Earthling Ed. He puts out interesting topics which I find value from.
Unlike Seb and Ed, I think his activism is mostly done offline. And this is often the case with MOST vegans. You only see probably 1% of vegans advocating online. But actually there are more of us on the ground that you don’t see.
I know that there are more people of colour vegan advocates or activists. There are certainly many of us here in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. But the ones that I initially stumbled upon and followed were mostly from the Western part of the world. I guess the popularization of the vegan diet is mostly thanks to them. But the diet itself may as well have been quietly practised in Asia for a long time.
I’ll do another post specifically on vegan people of colour.
Know Your Why
This is probably the most important advice I can give.
The honeymoon phase is easy. You’re fuelled with so much passion and the knowledge is still fresh in your mind.
The hard part is the phase after that; when you actually have to come out into the real world, interact with people and keep seeing meat (carcasses) on dinner plates.
And as a Muslim, I had to come to terms with a complicated but sensible view. While I am against animal exploitation, I still acknowledge the need for slaughter the true halal way in dire circumstances.
It’s difficult for both non-Muslim vegans and non-vegan Muslims to wrap their heads around.
I’m still trying to find words to articulate my stance.
Regardless, I had known my WHY or my reason for going vegan in the first place.
I personally didn’t want to be involved in animal exploitation and I wanted to cut down on my carbon footprint as best as I can.
Knowing the facts—that animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, around 40% more than the transport sector—I knew that by cutting out meat, dairy and eggs from my diet I’d be in alignment with my values.
From your own findings and experience, take the time to figure out your why.
You’ll Know When You’re Ready To Go Vegan
No one can force you to go vegan. Not me, not your friend, not that vegan activist.
Only YOU can change your mind and actions.
People like me are only here to guide you and to give you information that would help you to come to a decision.
But we, or at least I, do hope that you would make a decision for the good of yourself, the animals, and the environment.