Conscious Charcha beginner's guide to veganism. Animal made from vegan produce

How to start your Vegan Living Journey? A Guide for Newbies

A step-by-step beginner’s guide to veganism that will help you navigate vegan lifestyle.

By Heena Malhotra

Veganism as a movement has been gaining momentum. But making any big lifestyle change is tough especially if you don’t have any support in the form of a person or stores to shop from. Our curated list of vegan stores will help you in shopping for vegan alternatives.

As for community support, here is a beginner’s guide to veganism. This will help kickstart your journey.

Step 1: Find your WHY

The most important thing that one can do is answer the question “Why go vegan?”. If your ‘why; is clear then it is easier to make the change.

Vegan living involves several aspects and it is a good practice to learn about each. But, start with something personal. Start with what attracted you to go vegan. Was it something someone said? Was it a documentary? A post you saw on social media? Dig deeper.

While you do your research, don’t forget to read or hear stories from others who are living a vegan lifestyle or are making the switch.

Step 2: Research

Like we said before, Veganism has multiple aspects. It is essential to know each one, research them and evaluate the impact this lifestyle change will have.

Animal Care & Cruelty-free

the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of research, becomes on how these products are sourced and how we are being brainwashed by the Animal based Industries and the Education sector included and also on the concept of SPECIESISM AND END SPECIES SOCIAL JUSTICE. Every school teacher teaches us that mammals produce milk when they are mothers but when it comes to cows, not even one thought is spared as to where cow milk comes from. 

Health Impact

The dairy industry has put such blinders on the consumer brains that we never even think that humans are the only species that consume the milk of another species.

This means that the effects of dairy on our health are unique to humans only. Dairy-based milk contains casein, oxytocin, cow pus, to name a few. It also can increase estrogen in the human body which is counterproductive if you want to build muscle or tone up.

Animal products are so acidic that they leak the phosphate out of our bones. Dr Milton Mills, an American physician remarked “Drinking milk for calcium is like smoking cigarettes for Oxygen”. Documentaries such as The Game Changers and What The Health put these things in perspective for me.

Environmental Impact

I learnt that animal-based foods have a huge carbon impact. I watched the documentary Cowspiracy which had a lasting impact on me and my vegan journey. Watching the damage caused by the dairy industry, the overall impact of the food we consume and how the environment around us is taking a load really changed my outlook. I began to see how what is on my plate affects bigger things like climate change.

A sequel to Cowspiracy called Seaspiracy gives insights into the environmental degradation caused by the fisheries and related sectors.

Step 3: Make the Change

Now that you know what veganism means, the impact vegan diet has on various aspects and how it will affect you directly, it is time to make the change.

Start with small easy steps. Every time you put something on your plate or shop for a new product- look for vegan symbols and cruelty-free produce.

Remember, veganism is not just about changing your dietary preference but also about choosing cruelty-free products in all spheres like fashion, skincare etc.

You don’t have to make the switch overnight. First use what you have, then on your next purchase choose vegan friendly products.

Step 4: Re-evaluate

Sustainable living is about constantly evolving with each purchase. Similarly, vegan living is about learning and unlearning. While it may feel like a victory that you have discovered a vegan brand or a vegan store that provides you with delicious vegan food produce, we need to re-evaluate these brands often.

As consumers it is our duty to ensure brands don’t slip-up in their efforts. In fact, we need to push them to do better. If a vegan store is providing environment-friendly alternatives, we need to push them to opt for eco-friendly packaging. Veganism and sustainability have several overlapping ideas and we need to keep pushing to increase this space.

Step 5: Inspire

Once you have made the switch, then start helping others in their journey. Initially making the change was hard for you. If you had the right people around, someone to answer your questions, the journey would have been slightly easier.

So be that person for others. Initiate conversations in your groups, find like-minded individuals and share your story. Learn and unlearn together and continuing growing the movement.

Listing down these steps was definitely easier than actually making the change. You are not expected to go vegan overnight so don’t fret too much. Take small steps each day and with each purchase. Reduce the cruelty towards animals each day. Veganism is a journey, so don’t forget to enjoy the process!

Heena is a law student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune with a passion for spreading the vegan message. She heads the Animal Liberation Committee of her college. As humans, we are all told, “to live and let live”; Heena believes that going vegan is the best way to not just let live but help let live. She shares her passion and stories on her Instagram page- A Vegan Fantasy.

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