Path to Plant Based
My path to plantbased was honestly sudden and random. I’d heard about it and knew that ultimately there was cruelty in eating animals and animal products, but, like many, turned a blind eye and never really did anything about it. I was definitely prone to saying “I could never go vegan” any time someone would tell me about their vegan adventures.
Then, in October 2017, my husband moved to the island for 3 months for work. It must have been during the first or second week, I decided to watch What the Health on Netflix. It was compelling and eye-opening, and I barely got halfway through before I started looking up vegan recipes. So, I guess you could say I was driven to plant-based for my own personal health versus anything else.
I found myself making a big batch of a different vegan meal at the beginning of the week, and since I was living alone, it was able to last me for most of the week.
I remember after just the first week I thought to myself “I feel more energetic and clearer-minded than I’ve felt in a long time”. I was shocked!
My journey was never a decision, per se. I simply just started making vegan meals and then just stopped ordering meat.
I found myself saying “it’s been X days/weeks/months” since I’ve eaten meat instead of saying “i’m vegan now and i won’t eat X.” I found it easier to adjust to and it gave me less fear of tripping up.
Since then, my reasons for leading a plant based lifestyle have become much more holistic. While yes, I feel way better personally and health-wise, my decision to remain plant-based is now mostly for moral reasons. When I’ve explained this to people, many of them have been very quick to respond with “WELL ARE YOU SAYING I AM IMMORAL?”. And I am not - I believe people should do what feels right to them - this is just a lifestyle that aligns best with my personal values, makes me feel good, and has woken a passion in me about food and cooking that I never knew before.
I’m not a perfect vegan, and while I’d like to be, I am still proud of the life that I live. I am a firm believer that imperfect action is better than perfect inaction and encourage you to look at areas in your life where you don’t feel fully aligned with your values - ask yourself what small changes you can make to move in the right direction, and then simply do your best to make them.
Complication is not required, but consciousness is :)
I thought I’d start by giving some quick tips if you’re thinking about making the switch (or even just are looking to start adding more plant-based options into your diet).
- The first thing people say to me is “it’s too hard” - this honestly drives me a little crazy. It’s not hard, but it’s absolutely a learning curve. Just go into it with a desire to learn (and unlearn) food practices and be seriously amazed at how easy some of the switches can be.
- Start with milk. Seriously. Oat milk tastes better than regular milk in your coffee anyway and it’s delicious on cereal. A soy milk latte adds just a touch of sweetness to your drink.
- The hardest one is cheese - there are some really decent substitutes - but they are not as readily available or well known. They can also be sort of expensive. If you’re just getting started and can’t cut out cheese - don’t worry about it! You’re making a difference with every small change you make - you don’t have to be perfect.
- Another thing people say is that it’s expensive. Truthfully, I don’t think this is true. While there may be some up front investment in stocking your spice cupboard with spices you haven’t used for recipes, after that it’s no different (and honestly even cheaper) than shopping for meat. Meat’s expensive too. If you’re eating a whole-foods, plant based diet (veggies, beans, etc), it’s cheap. It is when you start getting the substitutes (which are unnecessary in terms of nutrient needs) that it starts getting expensive. We consider the substitutes as “sometimes” purchases, and mostly focus on the whole foods.
Any questions about going to a plant-based lifestyle? Feel free to reach out! I’d love to answer!