Five years ago, I would have laughed at the notion of going vegan. No meat? No problem. No eggs? I never cared for them much anyway. No cheese? Well, lets just say that I had no intention of jumping aboard that crazy train.
My favorite snack was a block of cheese cut into cubes or slices (crackers were optional). No meal was complete unless it had cheese sprinkled onto or melted into it. I wasn’t a cheese snob — I was perfectly content with a sharp cheddar — but there is no denying that I was addicted. I couldn’t comprehend a meal plan without it.
So when someone says, “I could go vegan if it weren’t for fill in the blank,” I get it. But, at the same time, here I am today, happily and proudly dairy-free.
Have you ever heard this statement? Or said it yourself? It usually goes like this:
- I could go vegan if it weren’t for cheese. (this is the most common)
- I could go vegan if it weren’t for bacon.
- I could go vegan if it weren’t for eating out.
- I could go vegan if it weren’t for cake. (for the record, vegan cakes totally rock!)
I have two reactions to this statement.
The first: Great! If you feel you could go “vegan” except for cheese/bacon/fill in the blank, why not go “vegan” except for the cheese/bacon/fill in the blank? Or at least give it a try?
The second: Of course you can!
I would love to one day see a vegan world, but I’m in the it-doesn’t-have-to-be-all-or-nothing camp. The goal is to reduce suffering, and I’d rather see someone take some steps than none at all. Collectively, each and every step taken to reduce suffering is tremendously helpful.
If everyone ate vegan one day a week, for example, it’d save well over a billion animals. That’s huge! Don’t think you can do a whole day? What about one meal? Or except for that one particular food you feel you can’t live without? The point is, don’t let the fact that you feel you can’t do “everything” stop you from doing anything. Start with what you feel is manageable — but give yourself a little more credit, because I know you can do more than you think.
As with any new hobby or change you make, there is a learning curve. An opportunity, if you will, to explore and stretch yourself. Instead of giving things up, think of it as a way to make room for new things on your plate. Over time it will get easier as you continue to build your repertoire. And I’m willing to bet that as you explore new flavors and cuisines, you’ll find yourself craving and naturally gravitating towards more and more vegan dishes.
I knew that I wanted to — and would — go vegan for several months before I finally did it. I thought it would be too difficult and I thought I had too much to learn before committing (read more about my journey to veganism here). The transition can seem daunting and restrictive from the outside. But once you’re in? You may be surprised at how many of your misconceptions are proven wrong. Going vegan is one of the best decisions I’ve never made, and for me it is an amazingly peaceful, expansive and joyful way to live.
You’ll never know what you’re capable of until you try. Are you up for a challenge?
Here are a few resources that may help:
Is there anything in particular holding you back from going vegan? Or, if you’re vegan, was there something you thought you couldn’t give up? Share your experience below.