One Does Not Simply “Go Vegan”
There isn’t a form you fill out. There isn’t a secret organization that you register with. You don’t need to worry about enduring a hazing ritual or even paying dues. You simply “Go Vegan.”
Anyone who tells you that trying out a new vegan lifestyle is hard, not worth your time, a fad, or just for dirty, hippie freaks is wrong. They are probably speaking from a place of anger, guilt, fear, or misunderstanding. You should obviously ignore what these people are saying. You may even need to remind them of the Veganaut Golden Rule: Blowing out someone else’s candle will not make yours burn any brighter. In fact, it just makes the world a darker place.
When health, environmental, or compassionate reasons lead you to the edge of the vegan pool, there is nothing stopping you from jumping in. You can choose to jump feet first, dive in head first, execute a flawless swan dive, or even make a big splash with the classic cannonball. Whatever mode of entry you use is going to result in you getting all wet and realizing that the water is way more cool and refreshing than the hot, muggy air surrounding the pool.
To “Go Vegan” you will start by taking all the meat, all the different dairy products, and all the eggs out of your house. Some people may choose to finish it all themselves before jumping in. The downside of finishing it yourself is that you will be adding a few days to the transition process that could give you or others time to change your mind. If you’ve been vegetarian or an animal heavy omnivore then you’ve already had years and years of eating the kinds of foods you are trying to get rid of. Ripping the band-aid off is a much more successful way to begin this new lifestyle.
Now you have bags of food you want to get rid of… and choices. Some may be opposed to having others to eat what they have decided to remove from their own diets. I, however, think it is a great idea. The animal sacrifices have already been made- the milk has already been taken, the animals have already been butchered, the eggs have already been factory farmed. Donating them to people in need is a good way to honor those sacrifices and prevent the waste from being dumped in the landfill. There are other schools of thought of course but most would agree that you should just be done with it once and for all.
Next, you should find a supportive community that can answer questions and offer suggestions. It may feel like a drastic life change for a while- weeks even- but as the days and weeks turn into months, you will start to wonder what the big deal was when you first made the change. There are many places to find this kind of help. I can suggest a very supportive online community in a secret Facebook Group. The patient and caring members are excited to lend a hand, an ear, and even a recipe when you need it. Wondering if honey is vegan or where to get the most iron? They love to answer those questions. You will need to request admission but everyone is allowed in- only haters get kicked out: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theVeganauts/
After that it is time to start weeding out cleaning products and toiletries and maybe even some clothing. There are tons of vegan alternatives that manage to make a great product without using bits of various animals to do so. Finish up what you already have and then make the switch to the compassionate versions as they run out. I am still in the middle of that process with clothes. I have a wallet and a pair of dress shoes that I have had since before I was a vegan. I won’t buy the leather versions again, but I plan on using these until they fall apart and can’t be repaired again.
In all these examples, the first step is to “Go Vegan.” Just by saying the magic words, it has begun. The next steps are to make the changes discussed above. Is it impossible to live this healthy, environmentally conscious, and compassionate lifestyle? Yes, but only if you never try.