Going vegan is just one part of the journey. In this guide, you'll learn the best ways to stay vegan for the long haul.
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There are a billion reasons to start a vegan lifestyle. Whether you start eating vegan for health reasons, environmental reasons, or as an advocate for animal rights, there are a plethora of benefits to going vegan.
(If you're unsure what they are, check out this post on the benefits of going vegan.)
That being said, it can be really hard to stay vegan. If you weren't raised in a vegan household, there are probably lots of non-vegan dishes that you once enjoyed and miss terribly. It can be really hard to say goodbye to some of your favorite foods.
Additionally, it can require a lot of energy and time to stay vegan, especially if you live in an area that isn't exactly vegan-friendly when it comes to store-bought ingredients and restaurants.
Today, we're exploring how to stay vegan by relying on common values, beliefs, and your "why". We'll also take a look at how trying and enjoying new vegan recipes can help you stay vegan when you're craving something cheesy or meaty.
Staying Vegan For Your Health
One of the most common reasons for going vegan is for the health benefits. in fact, in one study of 48,000 people over 18 years, vegans and vegetarians were found to have lower risks of heart disease.
Going and staying vegan can also promote weight loss, lower your chances of getting certain types of cancer, and managing diabetes.
Keeping the health benefits in mind can be helpful when you find yourself starting to stray.
Staying Vegan for the Animals
Another amazing and common reason for going vegan is to support animal rights and fair treatment. This is a question of morals and ethics, as it is perfectly legal to consume animal mean and run meat production facilities.
However, when it comes to ethics, it isn't hard to recognize that animals are suffering in production farms and facilities. In dairy farms, calves are removed from their mothers within 12 hours of being born.
This is distressing to the animals but done so that the mother's milk can be taken for human consumption. Calves are then "raised" in small pens for months and fed a milk replacer - somewhere down the line the human "need" for cow milk became more important than the calves' actual need to get milk from its own mama. Even more gruesome - dairy cows are often slaughtered for meat once their milk production levels start to decline.
Eggs - another ingredient that comes at a huge cost. Poor hens on inhumane industrial farms are forced to lay eggs at unnatural paces - up to 30 times more frequently than what is considered average in nature. They are frequently de-beaked and suffering from dehydration and broken bones.
No matter the animal, it is very difficult to find farms that are ethical. Obviously some are more humane than others, but it is still hard to fully get behind organizations that purposely force breeding on animals. And of course, the more ethical farms are more expensive to purchase from.
Keeping your morals and ideals about animal rights and the fair treatment of animals is a great way to stay vegan for the long haul. Often, I'll think about eating a cookie or baked good and quickly change my mind once I remember where it all comes from to get to cookie form.
Staying Vegan for the Environment
In our article, How to Start a Vegan Diet, we explored a bit about the environmental impacts of going vegan. Plant-based diets actually require only ⅓ of the land to sustain a family compared to the amount of land needed to support meat and dairy diets.
Going vegan can be a great way to support industries that don't profit off of animal cruelty, and even promote vegan and vegetarian diets to others.
If you are able to shop for more organic plant-based brands, you can also help promote their initiatives to make the planet greener overall.
Thinking about the environment and the greater good of the planet is something I keep in the forefront of my mind when making decisions about what I'm choosing to eat. With the world becoming quickly overpopulated, it is more important than ever to use land space more efficiently.
Explore New Vegan Meals and Recipes
One under-rated way to stay vegan is to keep exploring new vegan meals and recipes. It's obviously easier for us to stick with foods we actually enjoy, so if you find yourself craving some of your favorite non-vegan foods, try replacing them with a vegan counterpart. Or you could try focusing your energy on some of the new vegan recipes you've tried and really enjoy.
Here on Happy Food Healthy Life, I've curated a wide range of vegan recipes that are drool-worthy for every meal. While a lot of classic dessert recipes rely on eggs and milk for their texture, I have a bunch of dessert recipes that are to die for.
These are a few of my beginning vegan recipes that have me forgetting all about their non-vegan counterpart:
Vegan Mac & Cheese
Vegan Alfredo Sauce
Vegan Buffalo Wings
Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
Stay Vegan by Finding Support
Choosing a different way of life can feel very isolating and lonely if you don't have other people on board with you, especially if you're the only person in your family making the change.
I've found that joining various social groups on Facebook keeps me involved in the lifestyle. For example, I joined a local vegan group, and that keeps me updated on all the new vegan restaurants, different vegan options at non-vegan restaurants, and random vegan finds that people have discovered around the city. Plus they often hold get-togethers at a local restaurant so it's a great way to meet like-minded people and not feel so alone.
Cut yourself some Slack
When it comes to staying vegan, it's important to give yourself some slack. You're bound to find yourself eating animal products by mistake from time to time.
Simply making an effort to live a more vegan lifestyle can help reduce animal cruelty and make the world greener.
Remember that you're only human, and we live in a time where there are so many delicious foods in an arms' reach all the time. Of course it can be tempting to reach for something that sounds yummy, whether it contains animal products or not. You'd have to have super powers to say no to those tempting foods every single time!
Stay Vegan by Relying on Your Why
In conclusion, there can be a lot of reasons why you may stray from veganism.
- It may feel too expensive to buy vegan convenience foods.
- Your family just isn't on board so it's hard to be the only one and feel singled out.
- All the information feels too overwhelming to keep going.
- You don't feel like you're getting all the right nutrients.
There can be a lot against your decision to go vegan, but I find it to be very effective and powerful to return back to your WHY in times when it feels hard.
Why did you choose to go vegan in the first place?
Why is important for you to keep up with this lifestyle?
What benefits will you gain from staying vegan?
Go back to the beginning when you were watching documentaries, reading informational blogs, and making the decision in the first place. Read my "Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet" article.
Before you know it, you'll have a week, month, year, and then years of veganism under your belt, and it will become easier and easier with every passing day.
To learn more about veganism, cutting out animal products, and a healthier way of life, check out my Healthy Lifestyle page.
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