I haven’t always been vegan, before October 2012 I ate meat. This is a page for anyone who is interested in how to transition into vegetarianism or veganism.
The decision to eat meat is a serious one that has profound ethical dimensions. Instead of switching off whenever the subject comes up, I believe that everyone has an intellectual responsibility to at least inform themselves as best they can about the issues involved. Eating meat must be understood as a decision and not a necessary or natural way of being, and when we make important decisions we should think carefully about them otherwise; who are we really?
First I would recommend challenging yourself to go without meat for a certain period of time. Just try it!! You should try everything once. Maybe one week, maybe two, maybe even a whole month. This is less of a psychological burden than saying to yourself that you’re going to quit meat forever. During this week or month you will probably crave meat, be advised that this is not the body expressing its nutritional needs but rather the craving of an addict. The cravings subside pretty quickly when your body and brain adjust to eating other things.
Hold up! It doesn’t stop there. The reason for quitting meat for a period time is on the one hand to see what it is like, if you can do it and how it affects your body, sure. But step two is also very important, please utilise the some of the resources that I’ve recommended below (particularly the videos).
During the period that you have set for yourself, make it a goal to educate yourself on all things vegan. Try to dispel that voice in your head that says “But the meat I ate was humanely produced” (trust me, it wasn’t) with literature, films and everything that you can find. Most importantly though, watch videos of meat production with an open heart, eyes and an open mind.
Melanie Joy – Beyond Carnism and Towards Rational, Authentic Food Choices Melanie Joy is a psychologist who is interested in the illogical loyalty that people have to eating meat while at the same time being against animal violence. How can rational and caring people, when confronted with violence in their food: just. stop. thinking?
Debate: Animals Should Be Off The Menu This was a debate held in 2012 in Australia and is a good introduction to arguments from both sides. Particularly try to get a look at Phillip Wollen’s speech at 28m 40s.
Making The Connection A short documentary about veganism in the modern world, the final 10 minutes are of particular value.
Gary Yourofsky’s Lecture Gary Yourofsky is the most unapologetic vegan activist out there, but it’s difficult to disagree with him. If you’re ready for the truth, watch this.
Earthlings Earthlings is a 2005 documentary narrated by Joaquin Phoenix that is very difficult to watch, but necessary if you still think that there is room for compassion in a carnistic world.
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer wherein Safran Foer synthesises philosophy, literature and science, along with his own undercover detective work to explore the many excuses and fictions people use to justify their own personal meat eating behaviour.
Farm Sanctuary by Gene Baur. This book expertly dispels the comfortable lie people tell themselves that the animals that they eat live their whole lives in idyllic, sun drenched pastures of grass before facing a swift death only at the very end of a long and fulfilling life.
If you’ve followed steps one and two you should be well on your way to veganism. Remember it’s a process, few people do it overnight and it’s a huge shift in consciousness to make. With a bit of practice though, it’s easy. The only food you are going to be missing out on is the processed food in your supermarket, your home will now be the whole foods section!! Which is good.
Make sure that you’re eating everything from the vegan food pyramid: fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains, rice, legumes. And get a vegan cookbook so that you can educate yourself about how delicious vegan food can be. Also, find the organic supermarket or market in your area where you can start to discover the world of vegan products out there.
Enjoy your new life and be proud that you are a pioneer in a movement of compassion and a moral awakening whose time has come.