Hello 2013! So nice to see you! 2012 marked my first full calendar year as vegan and the year I started this very blog. I couldn’t be more proud of both of those accomplishments. 2012 was a banner year in the vegan world for gaining some major mainstream attention and I suspect 2013 to be no different. We’re here, we’re vegan, and you soon will be too if you aren’t already! (I wish!)
I’ve been seeing a lot of buzz about the internets regarding folks resolving/intending/wanting to add more meatless meals to their diets this year, and/or desires to go completely vegan. As it is part of my mission to aid in this process for anyone who might need or want the encouragement, I thought it might be a great idea to offer my top five tips and words of wisdom to encourage the wannabe vegan.
1. Lean into it. Not everyone can make this transition overnight. I speak from experience in that adding something new or changing my routine is one of the hardest things for me. Kathy Freston has perfected this message – she even wrote a book about it. I so wish I could take credit for this! It is seriously good advice, particularly if you want to make a change but are feeling overwhelmed. Leaning into it can be something as simple as switching out your cow milk for soy or almond milk. Swap out the ground beef and replace with Boca Ground Crumbles or season your own TVP. Set an intention to change something new every week, every two weeks, month or whatever makes you the most comfortable and stick to it as best you can.
2. Stock your pantry. This one goes along with number one. Replacing non-vegan items with their vegan counterpart. You might not believe it, but there is seriously a vegan replacement for everything. EVERYTHING! Here is proof of that:
For further reference, here is my recommended list for The Vegan Pantry.
3. It’s not about perfection, it’s about intention. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has a great podcast on this topic. She has a gift of eloquence, and presents topics on veganism in a way that just makes sense. I will always recommend her podcasts to anyone who is vegan or looking to take on a more compassionate lifestyle. But she’s right… no one can ever be perfect. And veganism isn’t about perfection. It’s about living our lives in the most compassionate way that we can, seeking to do no harm to other living creatures. So you ate a piece of cheese. Pick yourself, wipe yourself off, and move on.
4. Veganize your favorite meal. This is one of the quickest ways to get yourself going and keep on the vegan path. It is also a great way to experiment and learn new things in the kitchen. Having been vegan for over a year now, I’ve had vegan version of pretty much all my favorite meals. Even my grandmother’s world famous Stuffed Cabbage – my absolute favorite. Thanks to the internet, all you have to do is Google “vegan ______” and you’re sure to find a recipe… or ten!
5. Find a community. This. Is. The. Best. Thing. Ever. I can’t tell you how much I am grateful for my new community of vegan friends. I met Stacy & Keith of Vegan Fatty Boombalatty through my blog and we now do semi-regular dinners or brunches. I (try to!) go to the monthly Vegan Drinks NYC. Join (or start!) a vegan Meet Up in your city or town. Find an online community. Go volunteer with a vegan-inspired organization or farm sanctuary. These people will be your comrades, the ones who will listen and offer support, your dinner buddies, and best of all, your friends. They are the ones who understand what it’s like to be vegan living in an omnivore world. They are invaluable!
So there you have it! Jersey City Vegan’s top five tips and words of wisdom on going vegan in 2013. If you’re a new reader, I also have a feature on the blog called Vegan Like Me that profiles fellow vegans from all around the world offering their tips and perspectives. If you would like further words of wisdom or encouragement, or just need some support in your journey, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. I’m not kidding! I’m always willing to offer a helping hand or answer questions for anyone who is looking to start (or continue) living a compassionate life.