Veganism: Beyond a Plant Based Diet
This year, Veganuary has hit a new high with over 500,000 people signing up to try a vegan diet for a month. Veganism is here to stay, and an increasing number of people are opting for a plant based diet, incorporating new food options like quinoa. If a vegan lifestyle is something that you’d like to explore, in this short post we’ll share some tips and advice around veganism beyond the diet.
Documentaries to get you started
While some people may turn to a plant based diet for environmental reasons (as livestock farming is one of the biggest contributors to global warming), most vegans have ethical reasons at heart. Being vegan could loosely be defined as the refusal to exploit animals in any form, including the consumption of animals or animal by-products.
Most journeys will start with some form of self-education on how animals are treated, the benefits of a vegan diet and the consequences of a current “traditional” diet on the climate.
There are many documentaries and films available, but here are some popular ones.
- Before the Flood
- Meat the Truth
- What the Health
- Game Changers
- Forks over Knives
Note that some films documenting the conditions of animals in industrial farms can be pretty harrowing, but most people agree that these have helped them in their journey to veganism.
Lifestyle changes beyond food
Armed with new knowledge, the first thing people look at tends to be their diet, which is undeniably a big part of veganism, but if you’re looking at your lifestyle in general there is more to consider.
Fashion is another major industry that uses animals. When becoming vegan, be on the lookout for leather, wool, silk, fur, suede or down. Luckily, many brands are starting to clearly indicate what is vegan-friendly, but you could also turn to vegan businesses that are specialising in offering ethical, vegan clothing such as Viva La Vegan (which also focuses on sustainable clothing, which is a real bonus!).
Now that you’ve overhauled your kitchen pantry and your bedroom wardrobe, it’s time to turn to your bathroom cabinet. Many hygiene and beauty products aren’t vegan friendly (and/or not cruelty-free) so you may need to do some research to find some alternatives. Many sites have lists of cruelty-free brands and manufacturers have increasingly been marking products as vegan-friendly, so if you keep your eyes peeled you’ll find new products in no time.
Don’t expect to change overnight
While some people have reported making the switch overnight, this is not going to be the case for most people. Changing an entire lifestyle can be a pretty overwhelming experience at first, so be kind to yourself and take the time to make the transition. You might find it helpful to replace things as you use them so you can progressively find what you enjoy and do your research.
You may make some mistakes at first, but that’s also how you learn and grow, so try not to beat yourself up. If you can, join a community of like-minded vegans (there are a lot of local Facebook groups for example), where you’ll find lots of support, inspiration and guidance to help you on your journey.