For the past decade and a half, I’ve been living in a town with a few thousand people.
When I went vegan seven years ago, plant-based milk and other alternatives were nowhere to be found. I’m not kidding. My town was full of animal products and if I wanted an alternative, I had to go all the way to the city.
First world problems, I’m aware but still. You would think people knew of soy milk back in 2014.
Being a small town vegan can be incredibly difficult. Especially if you are not prepared and you lack the tools and support necessary to succeed. It was challenging for me as well.
That is why I want to share with you what I’ve learnt. Because I know exactly how challenging life gets when you are a new vegan with a limited option of alternatives. Or zero alternatives, which is what most of us face.
You need a mentor. Someone who knows what you are going through and can offer some advice. I want to be that person for you today.
So here are my 5 tips for a small-town vegan:
- Start eating healthier foods.
There is no doubt that you will be forced to eat healthier foods simply by having zero or very few vegan alternatives available.
Start relying on potatoes, carrots, apples and other delicious plants for nutrients. I know a good plant-based steak tastes delicious, but protein is just better in a form of beans and tofu.
When you eat healthier foods you start to feel better and you don’t miss frozen pizzas and yoghurts.
- Stock your fridge with alternatives.
On the other hand, when you do get your hands on vegan alternatives, stock up. You never know when the next opportunity will present itself.
I find that not being able to have vegan ice cream whenever I wish for it, makes the experience when I do so much better.
- Surround yourself with supportive people.
One thing that massively helped me when I was a new vegan, was the fact that my father was transitioning as well.
I was not alone. I had someone with whom I could share graphic footage and a person who knew that dinners will taste a bit differently from now on.
Who can you rely on? Who can be in your supportive tribe?
- Learn how to cook.
As someone who absolutely hates cooking, this one was very difficult for me to accept.
It took me a while to learn how to bake without eggs, make an omelette with tofu, and eat burgers without animal flesh. These things take time, okay?
Give yourself the patience you deserve.
- Connect with non-human animals.
When all else fails, go to the woods or a park and talk to a squirrel.
Connect to your fellow animals and remember why you started in the first place. There is a reason why you are here. Why you are vegan. Why you care. Why you do what you do.
So talk to those who changed your life. Connect with those who inspired you to make this world a better place.
What do you think? Let me know down in the comment section so we can chat. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Things will get better, I can promise you that. But you will have to figure shit out in the beginning, like all of us have.
While it is much easier now, a lot of us continue being small-town vegan and our experience is unique. Those who live in Ljubljana, London or Mexico City will just never understand.
I know you are capable of creating a vegan lifestyle that you love and adore. Perhaps it seems impossible now due to constant negative media bombarding, but what you’ve heard is false.
You can be a small-town vegan and thrive. You can be a small-town vegan and have and do everything that all other plant-based individuals have and do.
You got this. All of it. And if you don’t, we will figure it out together, like we always have.
If you feel called, please consider supporting my work by buying me a cup of cappuccino. It helps greatly and gives me more freedom to continue writing.