It's my one year anniversary of being VEGAN and I am SO happy!
"Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
WHAT: The celebration of one entire year of learning and experiencing being vegan!
WHEN: August 4, 2016 - August 4, 2017 (to infinity and beyond!)
WHY: For EVERYTHING - to aid in ending the suffering of innocent animals, to help make less of an impact on our already overburdened, beautiful planet and to find myself eating healthier and feeling better (both emotionally, physically and spiritually)
HOW: By making more thoughtful and meaningful choices when I am choosing and purchasing food/items that I use every day in my home and in my life. Also, to learn as much as I can about living a vegan lifestyle so that I can clearly, peacefully and intelligently take action in my life to help end the suffering of animals, our planet and ourselves.
"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, you do better."
- Maya Angelou
CHALLENGES that I faced this year:
- Figuring out what to eat and finding easy recipes that I could make every day.
- Trying not to let the comments of my family and friends bother me while I worked out how I was going to change my eating habits and other daily choices.
- Realizing that so many toiletries and beauty products test on animals or have animal products in them. (This was almost more difficult than changing my food!)
- Deciding what to eat when dining out (ahhh...the stress!) and dealing with the reactions of family and friends when I was dining with them.
- Learning to show myself love and kindness on my journey for love and kindness to animals.
HELPFUL ACTIVITIES as I transitioned to being vegan:
1. Watching videos!
- Vegan-centered videos on Netflix, Hulu and YouTube kept me motivated. My suggestion is to watch in this order - 101 Reasons to go Vegan, James Asprey's video, Vegucated, What the Health, Forks Over Knives, Plant Pure Nation, Cowspiracy, Terra and then Earthlings. Re-watch as often as possible to keep you inspired.
- Inspiring and helpful vegan lifestyle channels that I highly recommend subscribing to - World of Vegan, Vegan Outreach, Pick Up Limes, Kate Flowers, Sustainably Vegan.
- Super fun videos on vegan beauty (if you're into that!) will cheer you up and make you feel like you have a new friend to share beauty tips and secrets with - plus these YouTubers just seem like fantastic people, too - Sunny of Vegan Beauty Review, Rhian HY of WifeLife and Tashina of Logical Harmony.
- Vegan cooking/recipe videos are extremely helpful in finding new foods and dishes that you might like to eat. I sometimes find that videos are much easier to follow than written recipes (plus, it's a treat to watch them!), so I subscribe to these fantastic channels - Minimalist Baker, Edgy Veg, and Hot for Food; as well as the channels stated above, which also have great recipes, too.
- Seeing daily, positive vegan content really made a big impact on me this year. Sometimes, just seeing a post from someone who was experiencing a similar issue I was or found a great new product to use (or food to try!) was what kept me going. I'm going to list my favorite social media pages/people, but there are so many out there, you'll just have to discover the person or group that inspires YOU! :D
- Social Media that I recommend - The Comforting Vegan, Vegan Outreach, Bosh, World of Vegan, Mercy for Animals, Vegan Food Videos, Minimalist Baker, Edgy Veg, Pick Up Limes, Vegan Food & Living, VegNews, Farm Sanctuary, Cruelty-Free Living, Kris Carr, Main Street Vegan, Go Vegan, I love Vegan, Your Daily Vegan, Vegan Humor, VeganFacts.org, Cruelty Free Kitty, Logical Harmony, Vegan Beauty Review, Vegansaurus, Happy Herbivore, Oh She Glows, Elephantastic Vegan, One Green Planet, Chocolate Covered Katie, Rhian HY/wifelife, Vegan.com, Happy Cow, Vegan Cuts...there are so many more, but these are suggestions to start with.
- Follow me on Pinterest and Instagram! Or at least find out who I follow and see if you want to follow them, too! I'd love to follow you in return :D
- Get a Mentor from Vegan Outreach - I was so glad that I reached out to do this. Vegan Outreach found someone who lived within 20 minutes of my house and it was such a treat to get together for tea and talking. It was a great experience and it's really nice to know there is someone around to give me advice and offer support when needed!
3. Reading many books!
- My favorite books to read this year have been - Main Street Vegan, Good Karma Diet, 30 Day Vegan Challenge, Vegan's Daily Companion, The China Study, The Ultimate Vegan Guide, The Vegan Way, How to be Vegan, Vegan for Life, Becoming Vegan, Skinny Bitch, The Kind Diet, Eat Vegan on $4 a Day and Vegan Cheat Sheet.
- My favorite vegan cookbooks are - Oh, She Glows, Happy Herbivore, Forks Over Knives, Dr. McDougalls Program for Maximum Weight Loss, Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook, Vegan on the Cheap and Homemade Vegan Pantry.
4. Spending time in nature and with animals!
- I'm not really an outdoors type of person (I am more of a snuggle-up-inside-the-house bookworm), but I love walking on our local rail trail, going to the beach and looking after my small garden and rose bushes. Every time I take a few minutes to spend time outside or go for a walk around the neighborhood, I'm happier, more grounded and feel less stressed. Definitely try and make time for nature to soothe or energize each day.
5. Receiving lots of hugs from family and friends! (if you like that sort of thing...lol)
- This is essential for me, but if you're not the hugging type, sometimes just connecting with family or friends can lift up your spirits - go out for some drinks, meet at a bookstore, hang out at the local park, see a great movie, etc. I tend to get into the habit of spending too much time in my head (either journaling, knitting or reading) and then I forget how important connections are between people, especially when you're on a new journey. You might be focusing too much on trying to "become vegan" and forget to just live and enjoy your life. Taking a break from the constant focus might be just what you need!
These are the things that worked for me, so use them as a guideline, not a necessity. Good luck to you and please know that this is a lovely journey to take for yourself, for the animals and for the planet, so be gentle and compassionate with yourself always. You'll most likely make mistakes, screw up or just make bad choices. The most important thing is to just pick yourself back up, get re-motivated and inspired through friends/family, videos, books, spending time in nature and with animals. Don't be afraid to ask for help. You are a wonderful person for considering to become vegan and I am sending much love and many hugs to you right now :D
"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."
- Mahatma Gandhi