I recently celebrated my 6th vegan anniversary! I’m thrilled that I made the switch to a vegan lifestyle, and I wish I had made the change sooner. So much has changed in the world of plant-based diets and veganism in the past 6 years. My life has changed in so many ways since going vegan and embracing a whole food plant-based diet and healthy lifestyle. My perspective has changed and I’ve learned a lot over the years. So here are changes I’ve observed, and 6 things I’ve learned in 6 years as a vegan!
1. Being vegan isn’t that strange or complicated
Being vegan isn’t as weird or complicated as I thought it might be. I didn’t know any vegans when I first went vegan, and I thought it would be extremely difficult to figure out what to eat, to find vegan alternatives, and to deal with social situations. We do have some awkward moments from time to time, but all in all, it has been MUCH easier to go vegan and figure out. I started by focusing on the food and then paying attention to personal care items and household products.
2. So many ways to be vegan and eat a plant-based diet
When I first started eating a plant-based diet, I thought there were only two ways to be vegan – health conscious and eating whole plant foods or junk food vegans. I also had two vegan stereotypes in my head – the hippie and the loud animal advocate. I quickly realized that vegans come from all walks of life, ages, stages, and backgrounds – anyone can be vegan! There are also SO many variations, and preferences with food choices and product choices. It’s not a black and white issue. Veganism is about minimizing harm to animals as much as is possible and practicable. This definition will mean slightly different things to different people (ex. Keeping or purchasing a leather item second hand will be ok for some vegans and not for others). I came to realize that it’s ok to have different views and to do your best with what is possible and practicable for you!
3. Any movement towards eating more plants and/or veganism is great!
When I first went vegan I thought, “Everyone should go vegan! This is amazing!” Would it be cool if more people would go vegan or eat a fully plant-based diet? Yes! But having many people reduce consumption of animals and animal products can make a BIG impact on you and your health, the environment, and the animals! Eating more plants is a win! Adding salads or veggies soups to your meals, reducing portions of meat and other animal products, having a meatless Monday, or ordering a plant-based meal instead of an omnivorous one are some great ways to eat more plants. Avoiding zoos or aquariums is a great move! Purchasing vegan and cruelty free personal care products and household items more often is also a win in my books!
4. The popularity of plant-based diets and veganism rising
There are SO many more options for people looking to go vegan, eat a plant-based diet, or move towards eating more plants. There are new vegan businesses starting up and new products coming out all the time: new foods of all kinds, leather alternatives, vegan shoes, clothing, hygiene products, cosmetics, household items, etc… It’s so exciting to see all of the new innovations, and new vegan products available! It will be so much fun to see how plant-based diets and veganism continue to gain more popularity and become more common in 2022 and beyond.
5. I had no idea that my husband Chris would go vegan and I would meet other vegans
When I made the decision to go vegan, I did it by myself. I made the case for feeding our newborn a plant-based diet, but Chris was not on board in the beginning. Eventually he came around and decided to eat a fully plant-based diet and live a vegan lifestyle too. I was lucky that my Mom was interested in plant-based eating in the beginning, and has since become a whole food plant-based vegan as well!
I also didn’t know that I would meet other vegans and people eating a whole food plant-based diet in my community. There are so many vegan communities online and I have met many other vegans in real life as well. It has been so much fun to get involved in vegan and whole food plant-based communities online and in real life! Making connections with others who are interested in plant-based diets or veganism has been so exciting and rewarding.
6. Veganism is about living a compassionate lifestyle
It can be difficult to see people consuming animal products and using animals for their own purposes. That being said, I think vegans need to consider that along with minimizing harm to animals, we also need to minimize harm to people. If we are being compassionate to animals, that includes all animals – humans included! This may be a somewhat unpopular opinion in the vegan community, but I think it’s important to be understanding and meet people where they are. Being judgemental or hateful does more harm than good. If we really want to engage with people, and want people to eat a more plant-based diet or consider going vegan, we need to show them that we are open, encouraging, and welcoming. Maybe with a little more compassion, we can make an even greater impact in helping others to consider veganism or eating a more plant-forward diet.
So those are the changes that I’ve seen, and 6 things I’be learned as a vegan in 6 years. I’m looking forward to seeing how veganism and plant-based diets continue to grow in popularity in 2022 and beyond! For other things I’ve learned and changes that have happened since going vegan, check out these posts:
- 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going Plant-Based
- How Going Plant-Based Changed Our Lives – Unexpected Changes Since Going Vegan
- Plant-Based Weight Loss – What I Wish I Knew in the Beginning
If you’re interested in eating a more plant-forward diet, going vegan, or going whole food plant-based, check out my Going Vegan playlist.
If you need help switching to a plant-based diet, or losing weight on a plant-based diet, contact me here or send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about my coaching services.