Going Vegan 101
Whether you're going vegan for the Earth, animals, yourself, or all of the above, learn some of the basics to help you successfully navigate the culture and change the world.
As defined by The Vegan Society, “veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”
To the best of your ability
There is no denying that becoming vegan can be difficult. For most, it is impossible to live a 100% vegan lifestyle especially when health, finances, and resources are concerned. As long as you are making your best attempt, you are making a difference! Don’t be discouraged if you cannot commit fully at the beginning or ever. What counts is that you try to the extent of what is possible for you.
Beyond the plate
While eliminating animal products from your meals make up a large portion of veganism, the activism goes beyond the plate. A big element of veganism is supporting cruelty-free practices in all facets of consumerism. This includes, but is not limited to, animal exploitation and labor violations. A big question that we consider when investing in something is who or what made this and under what conditions?
While the production process for a lot of material goods isn’t public, we can never fully know who or what was exploited to get products or services to us. For this, we say cruelty-free is not always cruelty-free and aim to withdraw our support from companies or vendors who practice cruel behaviors in the production process to the best of our ability.
Know what your body needs
When you stop eating foods that you’ve been consuming for a long time, you never know the impact it may have on your body. For one, with the elimination of meat, it is crucial that vegans find other sources of vitamin B-12. Everybody is different, so it’s best to get a good idea of what your body does and does not need by getting the advice of a professional.
While veganism is growing in popularity, you may not be surrounded by vegans, especially where your family and friends are concerned. This can cause feelings of isolations or struggle, especially if you don’t have supportive people around you. Even if you don’t think so, there’s likely a group of vegans already in your community! Search for online groups on social media or events in the area and join them. If there aren’t any for your location, try to create a community online by starting a group of your own.
Know what to buy
If you live in the Bronx or communities like it, you can find helpful guides like this to aid in your grocery store search. Sometimes vegan choices aren’t obvious or affordable, so researching different products, companies, or services that best help your transition and continuation is important. Companies like Morning Star, Goya, and Ben & Jerry’s have made great efforts to make veganism present in even the smallest grocery stores. Next Stop Vegan is doing the same by providing affordable meal-prep options in The Bronx and surrounding areas. Learn more about which meal plan best fits you.