I’ve been vegan for almost 7 years already!
I know this is a cliche but it really does feel like just yesterday I was scrolling on Tumblr when I stumbled upon a vegan page.
In the midst of doing research for my presentation on animal welfare, I found myself learning about animal rights. One thing led to another and seven years later, here I am.
But despite living vegan and being absolutely surprised at how easy it is, I know it is not like that for everyone. A lot of you are finding it difficult to continue living this lifestyle. You feel like something is not working, and you want to go back.
Back to when people didn’t think you were radical.
Back to when your loved ones supported your choices.
Back to when you didn’t have to check the ingredients before buying food.
Back to being normal.
A lot of ex-vegans wanted to stay vegan long-term, but it was just too difficult. Handling this new journey on your own, tackling the obstacles you didn’t even know could exist… is just too damn much.
We live in a non-vegan world and not wanting to murder innocent beings is seen as radical, extremist and crazy. The number of people who want to see us fail cannot even be counted.
That is exactly why I want to talk about things I know can help you. I want to share what helped me and thousands of other plant-based individuals.
Here are 5 habits of long-term vegans based on my personal experience observing my fellow vegans for the last 7 years:
- They have hobbies that are not related to veganism or animal rights.
A lot of people who go vegan become obsessed with the idea of being a pure, perfect vegan. Everything they read, listen to or talk about is about animal cruelty.
At the beginning of my vegan journey, I attended acting school. I left after I started feeling guilty for having fun even though I knew pigs were being slaughtered every second.
After months of being even more miserable – this time because I missed acting – I went back. I realized that if I am unhappy, I am even less productive and that is not helpful to anyone.
What are your hobbies? What lights you up? What brings you joy? You already know what the answers to these questions are, and I am asking you to do them often.
If you only live for others and think about animal abuse 24/7, you risk becoming depressed and that can easily lead to walking away from this lifestyle.
Elle Woods stated that happy people don’t shoot their husbands, and I say that happy people actually prevent more crime than unhappy individuals. So do what makes you feel good.
- They have supportive friends.
This one is probably the one that not everyone needs to follow to stay vegan long-term but it can be helpful.
I often say that you don’t need vegan friends, but you do need supportive friends. At the end of the day, someone eating tofu is not what makes a relationship. What bonds us is mutual respect, compassion, love, kindness and support.
If your loved ones are mean or nasty towards your vegan lifestyle, you will have a hard time because you’ll feel alone. But when you can call someone to tell them about your day at a vigil, or send them a photo of a new vegan shampoo, it makes things easier.
You are living in a world that is not very helpful to those who don’t support animal cruelty. So when you need a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold, make sure you have someone available.
Some people are okay with not having supportive friends – and you may be one of them – but it is always nice to feel respected.
- They remind themselves often of why they are vegan.
Watching graphic videos every day is probably not a good idea for your mental health. But it is also not helpful to avoid it altogether.
The more time you spend hiding from animal cruelty, the more likely you are to go back to causing it. Staying aware and continuing to learn is what will keep you connected to your moral code.
If you know, you care. If you shut it off and avoid it, you risk forgetting.
- They take care of their health.
Taking care of your health means eating plenty of fresh veggies, having a workout routine that you love, going to regular doctors checkups, being vaccinated and taking care of your mind.
Living a healthy lifestyle is not about drinking your own piss, going on 30-day detox retreats and doing yoga, but rather about doing the basics. Things you already know are good for you, like moving your body, visiting your dentist twice a year, and, you know, not stuffing your face with pizza.
Often we see ex-vegans share stories of going to extremes (like the piss drinking guy from YouTube) and when their body rebelled against the radical approach, they thought it was soy milk that caused it.
No, it was the obsession with hacking your health – and I swear I will go mad if I hear the H-word again from a podcaster.
Just love yourself enough to be kind to your body. Stop thinking you are so very different from everyone else that you require treatments that can only be found deep in the Amazon.
- They are animal rights activists.
I have yet to see a long-term vegan who is not an active animal rights activist in some form.
Whether they regularly attend protests and vigils, or they post on their social media accounts, they are always willing to stand up for the oppressed, the exploited and the murdered.
Everyone has something to offer. Everyone is great at something that can be valuable to others. You just have to find it and be brave enough to accept it as your superpower.
Think about it… what are you super amazing at? What can you do that most people cannot? How can you use it to talk about animal rights? How can you lend your voice to those whose voice is ignored?
In the words of Hannah McKay: Do what you gotta do.
What do you think? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts on the tips I shared with you. Are you already practising any of these habits of long-term vegans?
I came up with them by observing people who were vegan way before I even knew what that meant. By following individuals on social media, reading their books and having face to face conversations, I gathered all the helpful information I needed.
Not everyone is following these habits. Some are more extreme, others are really laid back and always alone. Whatever works for you, that is the best thing you should do.
I simply wanted to share my observation in case you or someone you know is struggling with their vegan path.
Everyone is talking about how to get more people to eat plant-based, but not enough are helping them stay plant-based. This is my mission.
I will help you stay vegan.