Giving up the pleasure of good food is what scares most people who don't want to hear about a vegan diet. So this is what I would like to focus on, rather than the ethical, social and environmental benefits that such a diet would bring on a global scale, about which there is already enough material on the web. I don't mean that changing eating habits is a breeze. But like all things, you have to want it. And the hardest step is to make the conscious decision, not to put it into practice. In the past I ate meat and I was crazy for fish. I deliberately did not inquire about the global impact of a diet like mine and the pain suffered by the animals that ended up on my table, because I did not want to feel called into question. I didn't want to feel guilty or wrong. This therefore applies to anyone who is reading and is now beginning to feel uncomfortable: I've been through it too! I think almost all the vegans in the world have been there, more or less.
The world shouldn't revolve around us humans. Our enjoyment at the table should not justify the suffering of billions of living beings. Yet it does. Nor should it always be others who make an effort and give up something to improve society. With this term, we return to one of the most recurring arguments when it comes to vegan diet: giving up. I would like to emphasize that I feel that I am not giving up anything. I would like to know if it also applies to other vegans who read. I don't have the feeling of giving up taste, enjoyment. The key is habit and one of the advantages of our species is that we are good at quickly getting used to new situations! In 2016 I took a first step, I became a vegetarian, because I stumbled upon a video that shocked me (which I had avoided for years precisely because I preferred to ignore!). I was not very convinced, I said to myself "ok come on, I'll try, let's see how it goes". It worked though. Have I had a craving for meat every now and then? Yes. Then it passes.
I'll reveal my trick, maybe it can be used by someone who wants to try becoming a vegetarian or vegan. Tell the people around you! Not to cause a stir, but just to inform them that you are making a change. And above all to make sure you find yourself in a similar situation as soon as possible: When you are in a restaurant with friends who suddenly know that you are now vegan/vegetarian, trust me, it is much more difficult to order a steak, even if the whole place smells of delicious grilled meat! Would you like to immediately lose face like this, in front of your friends? They wouldn't take you seriously anymore. Having made this first sacrifice, the road is then downhill, because without you even noticing it you realize after a short time that vegetables, legumes, spices, and yes even tofu, know how to be so delicious that you no longer feel the lack of meat!
I agree 100% with your article. It’s fantastic.
I would like to add that people who want to start the journey have to do it at their own pace. They need to adapt to a new lifestyle and to find foods and recipes they like. otherwise it won’t work. So I believe it is better to have working in progress than people giving up.
There are so many website with vegan recipes that teach how to substitute animal ingredients with veggie ones.
The last thing….. very important: sometimes people are worried about not getting enough nutrients, when swinging diets. It’s important to understand how much nutrients are needed. For example for a woman is suggested to get about 50 grams of protein per day, doesn’t matter the origin. The veggie ones are even better than the animal ones, because they don’t load the body with saturated fats. It’s important to respect the dietary requirements related to age, sex and physical activity and get proteins, carbs, fibres and ecc. better from veggie ingredients.
Thanks Margherita, your intervention is really important and offers very important considerations! I love it when you say “it is better to have working in progress than people giving up”, it’s so true, doing it at your own pace is an effective approach. XXX
Hi Mary! I have to say it was very interesting to read your experience about your approach to veganism. All the vegans I know have had their own path towards this choice, but certainly being born like us in the mid 80’s, in a society where meat and dairy were seen as irreplaceable foods, muted our awareness towards these issues for some time. For me the turning point towards change came with the arrival of social networks and the first farms and slaughterhouses’ investigations and videos. I remember that I have always loved animals since I was a child, but I had never realized until that moment, that what my family was putting on my plate were those same animals that I loved. It was not easy because it was a reality that no one had ever explained to me and I had to talk about it with my familty, knowing they wouldn’t fully understand/support my decision. In the end, however, I decided to gather as much information as possible and took the courage to face reality, understanding that if I wanted a change it would have to start with me first. I have to tell you the truth: the first 3 months without meat I dreamt about it at night, but before putting my head on the pillow I knew that with my choices I would no longer cause suffering to anyone and this was priceless for me. I’ve been a vegan for about 4 years now and I have to say that I don’t miss any meat/dairy product whatsoever. I have discovered new foods and flavors that are more sustainable for both the animals and the planet. My blood tests got better and better over the years too. So, to those who want to give a try to a vegan lifestyle I suggest not to be afraid and listen to your heart: if you would never hurt a dog or a cat, you already have the answer.
Thanks Vero, your message is full of strength, hope and love for animals. Your beautiful testimony, truly authentic, does not try to hide the initial effort of making a decision that goes against how you were raised! It is really true that the digital age gives us the opportunity to explore many aspects of society that our families may neglect because they come from another generation. Now that you made me think about it, it was also fundamental for me: the video that shocked me 4 years ago and that made me stop eating meat I found “accidentally” on Facebook! a hug and a warm thank you :*