Going vegan can be a daunting prospect. Despite the increase in product availability, and the number of people choosing a vegan diet, society is still ultimately non-vegan and the vast majority of people eat meat, eggs and dairy. Navigating a world full of meat-eaters can feel quite alienating at times, but there are things you can do to make your transition just a little easier.
Here are some tips for common situations that new vegans might find difficult!
5 Times Being a New Vegan Was Tough and How to Stay Positive
Watching Other People Eat Meat
After you’ve switched to a plant-based diet, for whatever reason, it can be incredibly frustrating and even upsetting to watch other people eat meat. This is especially true of people you love. Why can’t they see that they’re eating an animal? Do they know what it’s doing to their bodies? Do they care at all about the environment?
Firstly, it is important to remember that the majority of people, yourself included, haven’t always been vegan even if they are now. It might not seem like it, but the people who are eating meat right in front of you might be on their vegan journey, just a little closer to the beginning. Remember that when they see their plate of food, they are seeing food and when you’re looking at it you’re seeing an animal. Watching Melanie Joy’s explanation of ‘The Secret Reason We Eat Meat‘ might help you and them!
Finding Places to Eat
Suddenly you have become the ‘awkward one’ and if you hate being the centre of attention it sucks. Thankfully there are a lot of guides online on how to veganise food in restaurants, and many chains now offer vegan options. Until you get the feel of eating out on your new diet, it’s best to stick to chains as they will have comprehensive allergy lists and the information about their vegan options will be much more accessible online.
Doing a ‘Non Vegan’ Job
You may be in a situation where you are responsible for buying or selling animal products. If this is the case you are not a bad vegan. Everyone has to earn money. Hopefully one day you will be able to get a job that avoids these kinds of dilemmas, but even if you don’t just remember that veganism is a process. This process is kickstarted by individual lifestyle choices and encourages society to go through the same process. Your coffee shop might still serve cow’s milk, but your decision to stop buying animal products is a part of the process to ending that, you are still doing your bit!
Changing your diet is usually the first step towards a vegan lifestyle. Things like clothes and cosmetics are usually a secondary concern. Some people criticise you for still wearing your leather shoes or wooly jumper, more often than not this comes from non-vegans. It’s important to remind yourself that transitioning to a vegan lifestyle is a series of steps and you can progress at your own rate. If you try and push yourself you’re likely to end up giving up all together!
Being Made Fun Of
After you’ve become vegan, if you’re around meat eaters, you become ‘the vegan’ and are often the butt of people’s jokes. Some people may find this really upsetting, regardless of the intention of the person doing it.
It’s something you’ve probably heard since you started school, but people are usually mean because they’re uncomfortable with themselves. Ultimately people know that animals are killed for food and having someone around that reminds people they don’t have to eat animal products may make them uncomfortable.
The good news is, you’ve already been through the hardest part, you made the decision and you’re going to stick to it.
Even if you find this new bit tough, thankfully, you are not alone! There are plenty of vegan groups to join online and as veganism is growing, chances are you probably already know vegans in real life! There are plenty of people to reach out to and stop you feeling lonely if your friends don’t understand.
Keep going, you’re doing an amazing job.
Image credit: Uniquely and Brilliantly Adorned