Recently on social media I’ve noticed an unfortunate trend towards some people transitioning, this is my urgent plea to all my vegan brothers and sisters. We all want the best for the animals, please, hear me out:
For some, going vegan was easy. Overnight, I hard transitioned and I cut out all animal products bar eggs*, however, my self-styled ‘Vegganism’ wasn’t as hard as it could have been. I hadn’t eaten pork for almost six months and I’d avoided dairy where I could, except cheese, I love(d) that. So it wasn’t that I’d gone from some kind of ‘Im-A-Lion-Epic-Mealtime-Protein-Bro’ straight into hardcore vegan but it was still a swift transition.
*I gave up eggs a month later and have been vegan since 2/2/16.
I see that it takes some people much longer and this really gets to some people. I understand their logic, they’ve seen the light but can’t bring themselves to change, so this annoys them. It makes sense.
What doesn’t make sense to me is the pressure that this must be an overnight transition. For some it has to be, they see the effects of their actions and can’t spend a day longer without change.
However, whereas many of us are lucky to know other vegans, to be able to make our choices with only ourselves in mind, to have a well-founded knowledge base to back up our ethical points of view or the luxury of living in a city like London. Check out London’s new Vegan Fried Chicken shop here. Many people don’t have those benefits. Some may have considered veganism without actually understanding the true horrors of animal agriculture. Some may have a partner or parent who refuses to support and makes it even harder, often belittling their stance and providing unhelpful ‘protein tho’ type arguments.
There are some genuinely hard parts about going vegan. We can first mention the addictive qualities of cheese and meat (different chemicals within can stimulate the CNS -similar to caffeine. Others can activate opioid receptors in your body). I can attest that even two months into being Vegan I suddenly had a craving for a Cheeseburger (TM MCDONALDS Please Don’t Sue) that I wouldn’t even have been able to eat. Luckily I found an awesome Cashew Carbonara photo on Instagram and worked out a recipe.
Another important issue is that many people are not skipping around merrily with bundles of self-confidence. As we all know there are lots of people who love nothing more than to share photos of meat or tell you what’s currently in their oven (Really, Mark? You have a whole beef joint in the oven at 2:15AM on a Tuesday? Really?) or tag you in their posts. That’s only on social media. Many people receive abuse from colleagues, family and ‘friends’, whether it’s supposed to be light-hearted or not, this may be enough to slow or even deter some people from veganism. Note: I’m not insinuating most people would or should be, just that it has to be considered. I have a whole folder of vegan memes if anyone needs some or check out Vegan Sidekick! ?
My third point is that many people don’t know how to cook. Seriously. I know more people than I can count whose culinary expertise stop shortly after beans on toast. Cooking can be a daunting process for a novice, now add in a list of ingredients most of which you’ve never seen before and a few you can’t even pronounce (A Pak-who? How do I know if this is curly kale or regular?) and you end up eating chips, Linda McCartney sausages and a Hummus wrap from Co-op. This unhealthy balanced diet will be a key factor in people giving up veganism because there ‘are less options’ or ‘they always felt tired’.
This is why I started this blog. I want to help educate people, to teach them about nutrition and the basics of cooking. It’s so easy and so much fun! Even if you think you don’t have time, I guarantee you will. Proper diet gives you amazing energy levels and a mental clarity that you will reap dividends from. Check out my world famous Coconut&Chickpea Curry.
We have a duty to offer our help and support to people trying to do the right thing. So please, next time you see a struggling new vegan, semi-vegan, pescatarian – whoever, please tell them there is a support network available or even post your favourite recipe.
You might just be the difference.