The first step is the hardest.
Recently I had a chat with a very good friend, a chat which happens more often than expected. Fortunately, I have mastered my response.
Very good friend: I could never be vegan because I love cheese.
Me: So be vegan except for cheese.
Very good friend: Oh yea… Well I could never be vegetarian because of lamb.
Me: Ok, so be vegetarian except for lamb.
I know very few people who became vegan overnight, myself NOT being one of them. So it would be highly hypocritical of me to expect it from others. Plus, statistically you are more likely to stay vegan if you do it over a period of time rather than impulsively (check out the book Veganomics for more stats!). So it’s all about stages.
My timeline is as follows: I grew up eating meat. My favourite dishes were duck with plum sauce and steak cooked rare. The idea that animals die for meat was obvious but seemed normal. Then I met a pescatarian and it got me thinking… So not long after I also became pescatarian. Once it dawned on me that fish also feel pain (they’re just unable to scream!) I became vegetarian. Then after a chance meeting with a stranger in a tiny coffee shop in Coulsdon, England, I learnt about the suffering of dairy cows. Slowly from there I began to educate myself about farming practices. After moving to Spain, May 2015 I decided I would be vegan at home and I’d be vegetarian when dining out. The idea of trying to find vegan food in a teeny tiny town in Spain scared me and made me feel uncomfortable but after a year I felt ready to take the plunge. I had learnt too much to keep eating animal products and I felt ready to commit to veganism.
I became vegan over eight years of transitioning and in four (very slow!) stages. Only at the very last stage did I think about becoming vegan – it wasn’t my primary goal (I’m not even sure I knew what veganism was!).
Now as veganism becomes more popular, more and more people are thinking about whether they could be vegan. The truth is… You don’t have to worry about it. If you care about animals then just slowly become active in taking certain animal products out of your diet over time. Of course I would love, love, LOVE everyone to be vegan overnight, but that’s not normally how it happens.
Only a few weeks ago I wrote about Bestest Daddy finding it hard to keep to a pescatarian diet because it wasn’t convenient given his busy work schedule. However something has changed (and I wish I could bottle it!) because now he doesn’t want to eat meat, whether it be convenient or not. It’s been a huge transition! He said “I know in my heart that it’s the right thing to do” and he feels healthier for it. Bestest Daddy had swapped his Monday night chicken curry for a fish curry and now he’s even looking for an alternative to the fish curry because “well fish are living beings too”. Such fab news!
Lovely Mum has been pescatarian for a few years now, however she has mentioned in a few of our most recent phone calls that she doesn’t feel so comfortable with eating eggs anymore. So she is slowly looking up recipes (like vegan Yorkshire puddings) so that she can replace eggs with cruelty-free alternatives 😀
I have mega parents!
My parents and so many others are taking it in stages to reduce the animal products from their diet. So if you’re also looking to take the first step in your journey to a cruelty-free diet, here are a few steps you can try:
- One day a week, eat no meat. A lot of farm animal charities promote Meatless Monday’s. Many schools and other institutions are also beginning to adopt this strategy in order to promote a healthier diet. If you feel this is easy enough then push for 2 days or even 3. See how your body feels after doing so.
- Only give up the food you’re not too bothered about. If you can’t imagine giving up your weekend fry-up now, then don’t BUT at least give up the food that you’re not too fussed about. Go out of your way to choose cruelty-free alternatives when possible.
- Take the next step. If you’re feeling like you want to make a big push, try taking the next step on your road to veganism. If you eat meat become pescatarian, if you’re pescatarian then become vegetarian and if you’re vegetarian then why not try being vegan.
- FOR THE HARDCORE PEOPLE ONLY: If you want a real kick up the bum then watch a slaughterhouse video. Those are the kind of images that you won’t forget anytime soon and prompt most people to stop eating meat. They are as horrifying as they are eduational. DISTRESSING IMAGES: video.
- Get in touch. Last but not least, if none of these options appeal to you but you want to make a change then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I would be more than happy to help anyone on their road to helping animals. We have the same goal.
No matter what you’re doing or how little you’re doing, whether it be swapping cow’s milk for nut milk or swapping your beef burger for a Quorn burger, you’re doing mega because you’re trying. You’re trying for the animals 💚