BIO: Chantal, also known as Pixie, is an upcoming blogger and life long writer. Born and raised in the Coachella Valley, she is inspired by the sunsets and sunrises of the open desert landscape and surrounding mountains. She is a student of Philosophy at College of the Desert, aiming towards her BA in Ethics Philosophy. Pixie became a vegan in 2015, after being full vegetarian since 2011. She believes that baby steps each day are important to recognize not only in the journey of becoming plant based, but with any lifestyle changes that are planned. When she isn’t writing, she loves exploring nature and abandoned places, people watching, coffee shops, reading, and most importantly, her partner Charlie. Follow her adventures on IG at #pixietravels |IG: Kanufee|Wordpress: Kanufee.blog |Twitter: @kanufee|
Whenever I introduce myself as a vegan, I have noticed that besides protein deficiency comments, there is the common assumption that my daily food choices are limited.
It almost feels as if people picture me eating a salad and a broccoli head everyday for every meal. Or, I get the “I wish I could do that” comment.
Food is something we are confronted with everyday, everywhere, all the time! It’s an emotional connection to our past and to who we are, so I can see where changing a daily habit automatically brings doubt and a vision of all of your favorite things being taken away from you.
Well, I just want to mention that there has never been a better time to go vegan than now! There are more meat, dairy, and egg substitutions in grocery shelves than there have ever been. There are more resources outside of your circle to turn to for advice online, and apps (or a Google search) that will locate vegan friendly restaurants nearby any area!
Being Vegan is no longer underground, so why do so many people feel that they can’t do it or eventually give up?
Throughout my transition to vegan these past 2 years, I have been most commonly confronted with these Three challenges.
What your loved ones that have known you as an omnivore, or even as a vegetarian, throughout your relationship have to say, will be one of the first obstacles that you will have to endure. This is because as mentioned earlier, food is an emotional connection with memories attached to it. And this change may make your loved ones feel as if you can’t share that with them anymore; as if you’re taking those times away from them.
Being Mexican, I was faced with a cultural challenge. Mexican food is known for carne asada, mariscos (seafood), tamales, and posole. Even the majority of rice and beans contain lard or chicken stock! And rejecting a family meal or abuelita’s (grandma’s) cooking can be taken seriously offensively.
I finally came to the solution that you just have to let your loved ones know that emotional connection over the table doesn’t have to end. I have found that they need to see that you’re still eating familiar foods, and aren’t necessarily cutting foods out of your diet but rather adding different ingredients to your daily meals. So, show up at that family party with loaded vegan nachos, or invite them over for a stack of vegan pancakes with coconut butter for breakfast!
With some patience and sincerity about your decision to transition to vegan, your loved ones can become more open to learn about what your food actually is. Just as you want them to be supportive of you, keep in mind that you also need to be supportive to them; acceptance and cooperation is necessary on both ends.
For some people the transition to vegan was literally over night. It was decided one day, and they never looked back. But since we all approach situations differently, going vegan in one singular moment won’t always happen. Aiming for perfection on the first try commonly discourages people when they make a mistake and “cheat”. Personally, I cut out meat in increments.
I began with removing all red meat, then continued with removing all seafood, and I eventually removed white meat last. IT WAS A PROCESS. I used the same method when I transitioned to vegan. I began with replacing milk in my cereal and coffee to soy and dairy cheese to Daiya cheese, followed by eggs, and eventually pastries and desserts. The method was repeated with make-up and self care products; piece by piece. It was a year long process, but nonetheless there was daily progress that led to the big picture. Small daily habits compound into your big picture.
Vegan is about doing less harm, whether it be less harm to the animals, the environment, or to your body, the idea behind it is to harm less, and not about perfection.
Focus on the things that you have changed and be proud of yourself for persisting and going at your own pace! Persistence is progress, and progress is what gets you to your goal.
I finally want to add that, your body is going to go through changes to adjust to your change of diet, and every body is different! It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s assumptions about whatever effects the transformations in your body will be, but it’s most important that you listen to what your body needs. Remember that removing these ingredients is cleansing your body, and like many with many juice and pill cleanses, there is a possibility of some uneasiness. Your body is removing toxins and changing its composition, and it’s an opportunity to observe what your body is asking for.
I can recall a week when I was only eating a few raw carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes with hummus for lunch, only to be getting headaches after a couple of days in doing so. I quickly learned that my body was burning the vegetables calories extremely fast, and I wasn’t replenishing my vitamins quickly enough because I waited to have my meals as long as I would wait when I was a vegetarian.
My body was letting me know through a headache that I was going to need more than just a few veggies, so I doubled the amount and ate within’ the next two hours. I never experienced that headache again, and I continue to eat that meal someday for lunch. It’s truly about figuring out what your body needs in accordance to your activity, which is also helps you to figure more about your self.
Becoming vegan has been a non stop journey of self improvement and mindfulness. This is because I began to practice persistence and self control on a daily basis. This journey helped me become patient with myself, knowing that a single step at a time is just as much progress as taking the full leap. And even though the vegan jokes from others never stop, you influence more people to make some kind of change in their lives too. You never know what the example of your determination and commitment can do to change not only your life, but also whosever else is admiring your change.