By: Zeinab Shafei
Before transitioning on to the vegan bandwagon here’s a few things you need to keep in mind. There’s nothing easy about going against the grain, lifestyle changes are nerve wracking at first and going vegan is no exception. When I first started transitioning to a vegan diet I felt excited, aligned with my beliefs, but I was undoubtedly terrified. I was nervous because I was about to do something completely different completely on my own. I wasn’t about to go munch on burgers every Thursday evening like your average teenager. I was about pursue a lifestyle that required a little more creativity especially in Egypt. But looking at it 3 years later I couldn’t be prouder of my decision to pursue a more conscious way of living to question my every action, purchase, and their impacts on humans, animals, and the environment. Lucky for you I’ve compiled a few tips to help get you through your lifestyle transition.
1. GET EDUCATED
the first step before making such a big change to your way of life is to get educated. Why is this lifestyle one that you want to pursue? Is it healthy? Will it fit in with my culture? Does it contradict any of my beliefs? Will I have a hard time finding places to eat out? Learn about the diet and the impact its had on other people’s lives.
I found vegan youtubers to be very helpful (yes Im another youtube fanatic) Some of my personal favorites are Bonny Rebecca, Tessbegg, Ellen Fisher, Sarah Lemkus, and Human Timothy.
Alongside youtubers, watch as many documentaries as you can they will help you learn about the cause and all that it embodies. My favorites are Cowspiracy, Forks over Knives, That Sugar Film, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, and Food Inc. Obviously if you’ve even searched the term vegan you’ve probably already heard of the documentary Earthlings, but I personally couldn’t get through it due to all the animal abuse displayed. Also, keep in mind that documentaries are designed to create propaganda hence a lot of what is mentioned in these documentaries is exaggerated to get you on board. With that said keep an open mind and learn about all perspectives and decide for yourself.
2. GET IN THE KITCHEN
Start experimenting with food! Follow vegan food bloggers, buy recipe books, and try cooking. Slowly but surely you will find yourself finding your new favorite recipes to cook every other day. You’ll start learning about different ingredients and their benefits. There’s no denying you’ll think of pursuing food blogging yourself at some point. Some of my favorite bloggers are Minimalist Baker, Deliciously Ella, Tessbegg, Ellen Fisher, and (one of my favorite people) Amira Ayman. This is the best part so take it easy and experiment with different cuisines, learn about the foods you love most. Also, keep it clean (most of the time) because if you’re going to transition to a vegan diet then you might as well really benefit from all the goodness that natural foods (aka fruits and vegetables) have to offer.
3. BE PROACTIVE
Start searching for vegan stores and food vendors. Ask waiters to help you veganise non-vegan dishes. It’ll be terrifying and awkward at first, but if you want to go vegan in a country that is still yet to be introduced to the movement, then its time to get out of your shell and ask those random requests (like kidney beans instead of chicken on your salad). Try bringing vegan dishes along to food gatherings. Don’t assume that people will cater for you all the time. Especially at first, no one is going to remember you’ve decided to go vegan so bring a long vegan dishes for everyone to share.
4. ASK FOR HELP
Reach out to other people you know have either went through similar changes or are going through it at the same time. Help each other get to a place where you’re comfortable going vegan. Also look for facebook groups. They will help you get in touch with like minded people that understand what you’re going through. They will also help you find all the necessary goods accessible in the country.
Remember, you want to make your lifestyle one full of self-alignment, an abundance of satisfaction, and lots of yummy food. Don’t take it too seriously. There is no right way to live a more conscious lifestyle it’s all about staying woke and making sure your actions are aligned with your morals and beliefs. Don’t strive to fit under a title or to fit a mould (one that seems to be trending). Strive to better yourself. Create a better version of yourself than the one you were yesterday. Take your time, and decide what is best for you there is no right pathway.