When I was transitioning into veganism 7 years ago I had absolutely no clue what I was doing!
During these 7 years of focusing on plants, I have made so many mistakes and learned a lot of lessons the hard way. And though I am a true believer in the phrase "live and learn" there are a few things I wish someone had told me about veganism before I jumped in.
Today I want to share 3 of the things that I wish I knew before transitioning into veggie living!
Let's dive into it!
1. Veganism isn't a diet, plant-based veganism is!
Let's first start this out by acknowledging that when I use the word "diet" here I'm talking about a way of eating not a quick fix. When I first started out on my vegan journey my main inspiration was the health benefits the lifestyle brings, little did I know, the word veganism doesn't = health.
And though the consumption of animal products is directly linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and even cancer veganism alone can't be the answer to all of your health needs.
The word vegan only means to live a life free of animal cruelty.
This does pertain to diet because you won't be eating animals however, there are so many foods that don't contain animals but aren't healthy.
For example, Oreos are vegan!
This is why I call myself a plant-based vegan.
Someone who doesn't use animal products but also focuses on real plant foods.
2. Perfectionism isn't sustainable
Did you know that veganism isn't an all or nothing lifestyle? There can be gray areas and that's okay!
When I first went vegan I was learning from all of these die-hard vegan women who would rather die than be caught with a glass of milk. I admired them but I always felt like I couldn't call myself a real vegan since I wasn't as perfect as them.
But I did my best. I made mistakes, learned from them, and kept going.
About a year after I discovered all these vegans they all started to make videos about why they weren't vegan anymore...Weeks later they started sharing their new diets that were the extreme opposite.
Crazy right? I couldn't believe that they had given up on something that seemed so important to them.
I am not here to brag about how much better I am for sticking with my veganism because I am probably the last person to gloat. However, I want to share what I learned from that whole situation...
They were so perfectly vegan that they exhausted themselves. They eventually got burnt out and since they thought veganism was an all or nothing type lifestyle they didn't even know how to just be plant-focused.
They could have just brought some animal products back into their diet and kept eating mostly plants but from what I heard from them they don't even like plant foods anymore because they restricted themselves to eating them for years.
Now, I am a vegan but I defiantly never want to be someone who comes off as perfect or even someone who expects that from others or shames those who aren't like me.
The best way to stick with veganism is to be kind to yourself,
take your time in the transition, and let yourself make mistakes.
3. Being a kind vegan is rare but oh so important!
When I first went vegan I join ALL the vegan Facebook groups because
I didn't have any vegans around me physically which was so great!
I made so many connections yet found myself consistently insecure about what veganism looked like for me...
You see, as much as I LOVE veganism there is so much judgement in the community and it often feels like you're either perfect or your nothing.
I'm gonna tell you today, imperfect veganism is STILL veganism!
The way you do this lifestyle will look different than how I live it and that's OKAY!
If we really want to change the world with veganism we need to celebrate others for their
little steps towards plant-based living!
It isn't about the status it's about compassion!
So though kind veganism is very rare it's a must because veganism
can change the world if everyone does their part!
We don't need 100 people doing veganism perfectly, we need 1,000 people doing it imperfectly!
So, be kind! Encourage others in their meatless Mondays and little choices!
Zoe Worlund Cordeiro
Zoe grew up in the heart of the South, Huntsville, AL. After spending most of her life avoiding animal products, she became a Vegan six years ago and hasn't looked back! Zoe is passionate about loving people, stewarding the planet's resources well, exploring new places, and pursing a relationship with Jesus. After a two-year cross-cultural & international relationship, Zoe said "Yes!" to her Brazilian-designer husband, Gabriel. After their wedding in March of 2020, Zoe settled in his hometown of Curitiba, Brazil and they hope to travel the world together.