Today is National Boy Scouts Day and as many of us know- the scout motto is: BE PREPARED. This means you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body.
These principes can be applied to many areas of life and might be usesful when you are new vegan. Here’s why.
Learn how to discipline yourself- If you have friends or family who you know like to try and dissuade you from your lifestyle then keep focused as to why you are doing this. It is easy to give in, but might not be worth the feeling of guilt afterwards. Even for a bit of cheese or an egg. Try not to give in to social pressures if they don’t align with your own morals.
If you say you are something- be consistent- Veganism is pretty specific in terms of what you eat- but mistakes do happen. Sometimes vegans will consume animal products without even knowing. We are all human. With that said- if you knowingly eat cheese on the odd occasion or drink a glass of milk sometimes- try to be honest with yourself- does vegetarianism suit you better? If so then you might be an aspiring vegan or ‘vegan-ish’ but not a full vegan. Plus, it can be frustrating for people when they are catering for you as a vegan and you bend the rules to suit your mood.
Think about situations beforehand- If you are going out for a meal- look at the menu online before you agree to tag along and find out what the restaurant has to offer. If the menu doesn’t cater for vegans- give the establishment a call and ask if they can make a few tweaks to a veggie dish to suit your preferences. If not- then you may need to suggest you go elsewhere or take something of your own if they don’t have a vegan accompaniment. You might need to put some vegan cheese to pop on your pizza or some soya cream to put on your fruit salad in your bag before you set off.
Prepare yourself for those who don’t understand- There will be people who don’t agree with your lifestyle and they might even challenge it. We don’t all think the same and have identical beliefs. If they do offer up a negative comment, then make the point that we are all different and move on. There is nothing to be gained by indulging them in a heated debate if they are only trying to antagonise you- and eventually they will back down if you don’t engage with them.
Look after your body- While vegan convenience food is tasty, there’s no denying that- they are meant to be eaten in moderation. Try to build your strength and keep active while fuelling your body with whole, plant based foods that are working for you more. A big vegan cake might taste amazing- it may not be giving you all the sustenance you need to lead a healthy, happy life. Perhaps you could save the treats for once in a while and not every day- just like any fast food.
Do the right thing at the right moment- If someone is curious about the vegan lifestyle and asks you questions- you might feel comfortable to share your experiences with them. Even if you think veganism is right- it's right for you- and it helps not to preach or be forceful with your views. Try to be educational and positive as this will encourage people to talk about it with you more openly and might even encourage them to try alternative plant-based options. If not- at least they will be making more informed choices going forward.