I know that when most of you hear the word VEGAN it almost sounds like a prison sentence. Today more than ever I can tell you that it is not a prison sentence, it is actual freedom!
Trying a Vegan Lifestyle can be daunting and challenging and this is why I want to share 5 easy ways to start your vegan journey.
First lets start by understanding what Veganism is.
What is Vegan?
Personally for me living a Vegan lifestyle is not only about eating a plant-based diet and excluding all that may contain or promote the suffering of animals. It is about making every choice with consciousness; How, What and Who will my choice affect. For me being vegan is using Love as my one and only Compass in Life. Is about taking full responsibility of my life and myself.
Gratitude is the key to happiness.
“Gratitude is a personality trait, a mood, and an emotion. As an emotion, gratitude is a feeling of happiness that comes from appreciation. While under a grateful mood, grateful emotions are more likely to traffic. Likewise, those with a more grateful personality are more likely to experience grateful moods and emotions.”
So, if we practice gratitude daily for what we have and who we are today, we are most likely to become a happier being. And becoming happier in our lives means that we will start treating others and ourselves the way we would like to be treated…with LOVE.
Now that you have Gratitude and Love in your life, the next step is feeling compassion. Compassion is the easiest way to start your vegan journey. Being compassionate towards all beings (humans, animals, nature and everything in existence) will not only make you more grateful and happier in your life but it will also result in wanting to approach and care for others.
Now, what is compassion? “Compassion means, “to suffer with” and is an emotional response of sympathy. But it’s not just a feeling. The feeling is combined with a desire to help. Because we have compassion, we want to take action and help the being that is suffering.
If we practice compassion daily, our thoughts and actions will improve towards the greater good of ourselves and the entire existence of the planet.
Now that you have started your journey with a practice of gratitude and compassion then it is safe to say that we don’t want to hurt others. This is where the action of pledging to an organic plant based diet comes into place. It could be as easy as eating more veggies, eating organic more often, adding Meatless Mondays to your week, ditching dairy or even just adding a veggie/fruit juice or smoothie to your diet. The point here is not to go all or nothing, it is to start taking small actions in your life, so you can start seeing and enjoying the benefits of living a non-violence lifestyle. As you start with one small action, chances are you will continue to add more and more and even one day may become an organic plant based advocate.
Now lets not forget that non-violence is not just about what we eat, it is also about what we purchase as a consumer. Are your shoes and clothing made by children who are exploited and forced to work? Is your make-up tested on other creatures before you can purchase it? Researching where your purchases come from will help you make better choices about what you consume and it will have a butterfly effect on the entire planet as a whole.
Another aspect of non-violence lies on how we treat others and ourselves. When we look at the mirror, do you say to yourself “I’m beautiful!” or do you have negative thoughts? Do you judge others and wish them negativity instead of love? For me personally this one is on top of my list, without it everything else seems a little bit too hard to reach. For example, if I can’t feel & give love and compassion to others and myself, how will I take positive actions toward what I eat and consume. So remember non-violence is not just what you eat and consume is how you treat yourself and others.
A wise person once said “Be aware of the half truth, you may have gotten the hold of the wrong half.”
This is why it is so important to research and not blindly believe on all that is said. Unless in your heart you know it to be true, then and only then, there is no need to doubt it. Educating yourself about a plant-based vegan lifestyle and its benefits will come in handy towards your journey. From experience, I can honestly say, that the choices I make today are different from the ones when I started my journey. And that is because I keep educating myself on how to become a better person for the planet and myself. There is plenty of information in books, the internet and events, to keep you interested. If you don’t understand something ask, look for the answer but remember that at the end, all the answers are within, you hold them dearly.
This is the last but not least. Responsibility is a big word but in reality it is simple. Responsibility is the ability to respond, to have awareness and use it consciously. We go on in our life's reacting instead of responding to it. “Reacting comes from your memory, from your past experiences, from your knowledge. But that reaction is not going to change the situation, it is not going to change you. Response is moment-to-moment. It has nothing to do with memory; it is about your awareness. You see the situation with clarity. It is not reaction, it is action.” What I mean by all this is that when we fully take responsibility of our life and start responding to it from a place of awareness, our actions will start coming from a higher consciousness in our being, giving us the opportunity to become aligned with our values and our true self. Remember you are the driver of your life but you can only start driving it when you fully take responsibility for it.
So you see, it is not that hard to start your Vegan Journey today. Do it For the People, For the Animals, For the Environment, For You. Remember you are not alone, we are in this together!