Veganuary and beyond!

Veganuary and beyond!

Veganuary 2020 is almost over! Did you participate this year? If so, was it your first time, and what did you think? I will celebrate my sixth vegan anniversary (a.k.a veganniversary) this year, but I still enjoy participating in Veganuary events. I find it stimulating to meet new people who are curious about a vegan lifestyle.

Now that January is coming to an end, do you want to continue on the new path you have forged with a vegan lifestyle? There are many reasons why people choose to adopt a vegan (or plant-based) lifestyle. The reasons range from ethical reasons to desire to live and embody personal values to personal health. I know the transition can be or seem difficult, especially if you do not have much support or worried you are going to slip up or mistakes. However, there are many ways to ensure success as a vegan!

BBQ Soy Curl Salad

BBQ Soy Curl Salad

First, start by asking yourself why you decided to go vegan? Was it to participate in Veganuary? Was it to kick start new healthy habits? Was it to combat environmental issues and global warming? Was it due to ethics and aligning your values with what you eat and how you live? Or was it all of the above? Knowing and understanding your reasons for making the change will help set you up for success. One thing to note, perfect health or even becoming healthier isn’t guaranteed by going vegan. I know many studies and doctors are claiming that adopting a plant-based diet (not a vegan lifestyle) will cure all of your health problems. Yes, transitioning to all plants could help, but it is not guaranteed perfect health. Each of us is different, and our bodies and what they need are different. From personal experience, I know you can survive and thrive on plants alone and do not need animal flesh, dairy, eggs, or honey to sustain you. Plus, veganism, not just a plant-based diet, is more than just what put on our plates and in our mouths.

Doodle, a resident at Wildwood Farm Sanctuary

Doodle, a resident at Wildwood Farm Sanctuary

Second, build a support system! The support system can include friends, family, or a new vegan community. Get your friends and family involved in your new lifestyle. Talk to them and explain why this is important to you and what type of support you would like. Again, from personal experience, I know when family or friends do not agree with what you are doing, it can make conversations and gatherings difficult. However, after giving it some time, everyone came around to support me. Yes, I still get the occasional ridicule from them, but I ignore it!

Another way to build a support system is to join vegan Facebook groups in your area. A search on Facebook with your town and vegan will most likely unearth a plethora of information and local events. Some of my closest friends I initially met through Facebook and Instagram because we have common vegan values. Follow vegan activists, groups, chefs, and companies on social media platforms. Connect with me! I am always happy to chat about a vegan lifestyle, plus I offer coaching sessions and cooking classes.

Vegan friends hanging out and exploring nature (that is Mount St. Helens behind us).

Third, know that mistakes will happen. Even after over five years of being a vegan, I still experience the occasional slip-up or mistake. We don’t live in a vegan world, and our society isn’t always set up to easily navigate a vegan lifestyle. The agricultural industry produces so much waste and by-products that animal ingredients and the by-products, such as bones, fat, tendons, and skins, find their way into almost everything! You will find animal ingredients and by-products hidden in food, packaged goods, beer & wine (filtered with fish bladders or eggs), vitamins, natural flavors, cleaning supplies, beauty supplies, fertilizer, and even in plastic grocery bags, not forgetting to mention, most commonly, in our companion animal’s food.

But! The more you become aware of the different names that hidden animal ingredients fall under, the easier it is to spot them on ingredient labels and various product packagings.

Here is a handy A to Z animal ingredient list.

Lastly, continue to explore veganism! Whether it is food, animal rights/protection, environmental issues such as global warming or access to clean water, or a plethora of intersectional human rights issues. You can also take a deep dive into our culture’s ideologies. There is a never-ending list of topics you can explore!

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  1. Jules on January 31, 2020 at 11:21 am

    I’m trying to tear my eyes away from the beauty of your new site design -and always gorgeous/inspiring photos- in order to leave a meaningful comment! I love the reminders that we all slip up sometimes -no matter how long we’ve been vegan- and the importance of community. Speaking of the latter, I’m so glad to know you!

    • Kristy Draper on January 31, 2020 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks, Jules! I am very thankful you are part of my circle!

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