How I got "veganspired," and you can, too

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How I got “veganspired”

I used to think being vegan was extreme because I didn’t understand it. We tend to dismiss what we don’t understand rather than becoming curious.

What makes a concept seem “extreme”?

What seems extreme to us is based on the concept of the Overton Window. This “window” of what is currently typical in society shifts throughout generations. As a result, what seemed extreme to the previous generation becomes the social norm for the next. Women gaining the power to vote seemed extreme; the idea that smoking caused cancer was unbelievable a generation ago; not eating the flesh or fluids of animals seems extreme to us now.

Willful Ignorance

I didn’t really want to know, either. Most people don’t. Because if you’re willfully blind, your conscience won’t compel you to act. You can avoid the discomfort of cognitive dissonance. We’d prefer to keep enjoying our favorite meals as we’ve always had them, thank you very much. Let’s not have that conversation about how the factory farming of meat, fish, dairy and eggs causes impending extinction-level climate change, Western diseases and sacrifices our values at our dinner plates.

But it’s time to take off the blinders. The fate of your health, the planet and countless human and non-human animals depends on it. 

A gradual transition

I’ve changed  gradually, over the years. From meat-eater, to omitting red meat as a 12 year old, to vegetarian, back to carnivore, to pescatarian, to mostly vegan-at-home, to truly vegan at 27. 

So, I know eating is a messy topic.

As I’ve adopted various eating identities over the years, I’ve made exceptions. For the sake of “politeness,” I’ve eaten meat and animal products to be polite, for convenience, because of limited options, for cultural experience, and because sometimes I just had a craving. I’ve justified buying leather because it was more convenient than looking for an alternate product. I’ve gone through phases of thinking animal products from small-scale, local farms were acceptable. Sometimes, I made exceptions for animal products when someone else had gone to the trouble of making a meal. 

But, the more I have allowed myself to learn about veganism, the more I have recognized that becoming vegan is absolutely the best choice we can make for our health, the best hope we have to slow the climate crisis, and the most compassionate choice we can make every day. And as an added bonus, learning to cook and bake with a plants-only kitchen has also been a really fun and enlightening venture.

So, as you consider your own eating habits and contemplate change, I can sympathize if you’re not quite there yet. Disentangling our understanding of nutrition, morality and the link between animal agriculture and climate change from the narrative that society has fed us for so long can take time. 

For me, it took 16 years of seeds being planted and taking small steps towards a vegan lifestyle. Looking back, though, I believe that if I had read resources that clearly laid out the irrefutable evidence supporting veganism, I would have made the shift much more quickly. 

Veganspired: the why and the how of veganism

That’s my hope in providing this blog as a comprehensive vegan resource for you, from the why to the how. Research shows that those who make a gradual transition to veganism and are inspired by multiple reasons are more likely to stick with it. You might not do it overnight, but I hope you’re quicker than I was. 

Veganism is abundance

The destructiveness of commodifying non-human animals is concealed by sanitized packages of meat and animal products in the grocery store that belie the reality it took to produce them. It’s maintained by cultural norms and our deeply ingrained desire to be accepted by our social circles. It’s facilitated by a common myth that people fear they will feel “deprived” by moving to a plant-based diet.

But the more we learn, the more we realize that veganism is not about deprivation. It is about abundance – abundant compassion, abundant health, the preservation of our only home, and the prevailing of our values.

Cheers to learning and growing together,

Colleen

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