I talked about my journey towards veganism in many posts but I have never told the whole story, step by step.
So today I want to share with you what were the things that made me consider veganism, what was the first thing I removed from my life and what I added, and what made me go fully vegan back in 2015.
Now, the title might be about how to transition to a vegan diet, but we all know by now that veganism is much, much more than that. It’s a lifestyle. The diet part is just one part of it, the biggest one, but only one part nonetheless.
Here we go.
I used to be a hardcore feminist and an SJW. I was radical and cared more about my feelings than what the facts were, so one day, in April of 2014, I had decided to create a presentation on what feminism is for my fellow classmates to show them how oppressed I was.
Because I loved presenting things and was quite passionate about educating people on the topics that mattered to me, I also started creating a presentation on the topic of animal welfare.
By 2014, I was already against going to the zoo and wearing fur and buying animals, but I had no idea what veganism was. During my research in April of 2014, I stumbled upon some websites that took my breath away – and not in a good way.
Because Tumblr was my website of choice to spend the most time on, all the information that I received about veganism at the time were coming from different Tumblr bloggers and activists. I can’t quite put a finger on what was that one thing that introduced me to veganism, all I remember is that I suddenly went from looking at photos of animals being killed for fur to cows being killed for food.
That month – and the presentation was supposed to be on my birthday, I’ve decided to not make a presentation but to continue learning about it. I remember that I felt uncomfortable with making a presentation about animal rights when I was still eating them. So I started to call myself a vegetarian and I immersed myself into learning about veganism.
The first thing that I did was cut eggs and milk from my menu. I believe honey was there, too, but I never really liked it that much. I was avoiding meat but we will get to the meat later.
I started reading blogs on Tumblr and follow people that were writing about veganism. I was reading books and watched a shit ton of graphic footage on YouTube. I was finding brands that were cruelty-free and vegan, and I checked all of my clothes to see what they were made of.
I was passionate about this change and my goal was to be vegan.
What has kept me from going vegan right away?
- I had little support in the first few months of being vegetarian because my father refused to cook different food for me, although he started to read some of the books that I was leaving on the table and was cooking more and more plant-based meals. But we would fight because I was upset that he didn’t take it more seriously.
- I was convincing myself that taking it slowly was the best idea. Which I still agree with, taking little steps is the best way to go vegan, but I believe I was taking it too slowly just because the change was a bit scary.
- I couldn’t give up baked goods and when there was meat in the kitchen and everyone was asleep, I would binge on it because my body was craving it (hey, the body needs time to break the addiction).
So between April of 2014 and March of 2015, I was a vegetarian with a vegan mindset.
In the Autumn of 2014, I started to really get serious about it so I watched Earthlings and every Gary Yourofsky video that I could find. Earthlings was too much for me after 25 minutes, but Gary’s words had a profound impact on me and I knew the transition had to be completed soon. I was one of those people that needed someone to yell at them and tell them that they are supporting murder.
So on the 4th or 5th of March in 2015, I woke up and said to myself: Tanja, you can transition for the next 10 years or you go vegan today.
And I went vegan.
The first few months were challenging and hard. I was getting more and more depressed due to what I now knew, I was fighting my dad because he wasn’t more careful when buying clothes and food, I ended a lifetime friendship with my friend because she thought I was too preachy and I wasn’t careful when reading labels.
I wasn’t eating vegan all the time, not because I would cheat, but because I subconsciously, and I know that now, convinced myself that I don’t need to read the labels thoroughly. I was scared of finding out that something wasn’t vegan so I just scanned the label and bought something if I assumed it had to be vegan. It wasn’t a habit but it did happen a few times, I admit.
But as with every change, you get used to it.
Those few months became a year and a year became two years. Now, almost three years and a half later, I am still a work in progress. I eat vegan, my clothes are vegan, I don’t go to animal prisons and I definitely do my best when it comes to communication and activism, but there are areas in my life where I am not completely vegan yet.
Not because I don’t care or don’t want to be, but because life happens. Sometimes you can do your best and then hope that the situation gets better. Yes, I am talking, as some of you know, about buying things like detergent and soap.
I do my best but until I move to a bigger city or until I start earning so much that I will be able to buy in bulk, I will just have to continue with my life.
So I hope this somehow helped you understand how a typical, I suppose, transition to a vegan diet looks like. And I hope it helps you, if you are a new vegan, to see that we are all just doing our best with where we are.
If you want to know my tips on how to eat plant-based on a budget, read this post. I think it will really help you as the majority of people in the world don’t have the privilege of buying everything they want.
It will also give you tips to share with people who think that poor people can’t go vegan because plant-based foods are too expensive.
p.s. If you want to stay inspired to live a vegan lifestyle, make sure you are following me on Instagram.