With my first herbiversary coming up in mid-October, I have begun to look back on all of the ribs I didn’t eat and chickens I didn’t grill. Sure, I have made huge life altering changes but in reality I have been a sloppy, disorganized vegan over the last 10.5 months of learning. I’ve made accidental slip-ups and even a few well-placed intentional rule violations. If PETA found out about my minor infractions they would still strip me of my Vegan Club ID & Discount Card as well as my official PETA brand “I Hate Lady Ga-ga” bumper sticker.
However, despite my few shortcomings as a vegan I have been a stellar veganaut. I was practically perfect in every way. Thousands and thousands of animals were spared, my health has improved drastically, and the Earth is 0.0000000000000001% better off because of my life change- and looking back on it, it took a lot of help!
I built my foundation of vegan knowledge on documentary films, hilarious YouTube videos, and many fine blogs. In the beginning I had no idea why honey might be bad. Plus, I still thought that I should be throwing red paint on people, but I wasn’t exactly sure who. Enter: the vegan community. Thanks to the blog, Facebook, and *Twitter I was able to connect with thousands of people who were happy to share their ideas, perspectives and even delicious recipes with a bumbling noob. After months of connecting with more experienced vegans and plant-based dieters I slowly began to have a much more complete understanding of the complex vegan puzzle.
After nearly a year I still find myself full of questions and curious about other people’s adaptation of a cruelty-free/healthy existence and it turns out I am not alone. About six weeks ago I tried a Facebook experiment that has turned out to be the most beneficial community building platform yet. I am not talking about the Jason and the Veganauts Facebook Page. I am sure everyone has already ‘Liked’ that page so they could have access to every funny picture and kale salad recipe I post. The problem is that Facebook doesn’t let every person who has ‘Liked’ the page see the posts in their news feed. They actually try to make me pay real money to share with the people who ASKED to be shared with. Up yours Facebook sales department.
There is another option and it is golden. Facebook has something called Groups. They are set up like public forums and everyone is part of the conversation. Group members can post their own pictures, share success stories, ask for help, and feel connected. The Veganauts community is a six week old FB Group that is just humming with a positive community vibe. The vegans, veganauts, plant-based dieters and eco-vegans in this group are friendly, warm, and welcoming and I am excited to see what the community is discussing each morning when my coffee is done brewing.
In the past several weeks we have celebrated the lab results and doctor visit reports that were shared by community members. We have located the best egg substitutes and even revisited vegan versions of the egg-salad sandwich. We have shared photos and procedures for starting square-foot gardens, which are raised bed, back yard plots everyone should be tending. I learned that heart-valve replacement medicine reacts poorly with green leafies like kale and spinach which post-op, plant-based converts need to keep in mind. Pre-preparing food has been a hot topic in the last week or two as people share the tricks that they use to save time during their busy week. Obviously, the list goes on and on.
With vegans accounting for between 1-2% of the population, we are not a common sight in the wild. With our people being few and far between (although growing rapidly) it can be hard to connect with other vegans in real life. The virtual platforms I have benefited from made it possible for me to have as much access to compassionate living and peaceful eating as I would find on a hippie commune but without any of the patchouli.
If you are looking for a community of like minded people, join us here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/theVeganauts/
*Twitter and My Sister is a whole different upcoming post about support~ you can read more about why my sister rocks next week.