I recently wrote a small blog post for world vegan day on why we should all be a little more vegan. I have always been interested in why people have chosen to be vegan and I always ask. I want to know what affected them sufficiently for them to change their lifestyle enough to become vegan.
This comes from the fact that Ivonne and I came to be vegan at similar points in our life but from completely different motivational points, hers being that of animal welfare and mine from personal health. What has been interesting on our journey is how we both now value each other’s standpoint equally and this has come through a continual process of education.
We are all Individuals
So based on our knowledge how can we encourage others to become vegan? Well of course there is no definitive answer. We are all individuals with different backgrounds experiences and values. Every corner of society has its moderates and its radicals, meat eaters and vegans.
I would like to think that we are as open-minded and tolerant as possible to everyone’s point of view but more than anything this has led us to the realisation that you cannot change everyone and actually you could waste far too much energy trying to do so. It is far better to slowly encourage and educate those who are open to it and to do so with facts and combine them with fun.
So on to the small blog post I wrote. This was on a general forum and my aim was nothing more than to get omnivores to maybe consider their diet. If one person who read it reduced their meat consumption I would be happy. This is what I said;
Why we should all be a least a little vegan!
Let’s start with the fact that the UK Food Guidance is 85% minimum plant based and for good reason. The more we eat from animal sources overall the lower our health span, the more we eat from plant sources the higher our overall lifespan. We should all go more ‘vegan’ for health reasons.
The health reasons alone of more people eating to the UK Food Guidance will improve the health of our nation, reduce the load on our health services, improve ability, economy and more.
The ethical reasons are worthy of consideration. If there are options where animals are not harmed, which are equally good if not better, then shouldn’t we choose those that don’t harm?
The environmental reasons are worthy of consideration. Moving towards being ‘vegan’ will have a positive impact on our environment. So, shouldn’t we be moving more ‘vegan’ for health, economy, ethics and environmental reasons?
Although vegan, sometimes I’m not a fan of the label. As in all walks of life there are some vegans that are very militant and are definitely tugboats rather than lighthouses. Lighthouses guide and inform. People respond better to lighthouses.
What I do love is other vegans sharing accurate information, support, guidance, recipes and fun facts as it allows people to make better more informed choices and understand options and resources. For me this is a much better option that appeals to the majority.
Conversely, there are some people who are not vegan also find the need to personally attack those who describe themselves as vegan, usually for small-minded reasons, or for a lack of knowledge. We should respect the choices people make, omnivore or vegan. Yet, hey, haven’t we all got the requirement to make not just the best choices for ourselves, yet also for health, ethics, environment and our economy?
Shouldn’t we all be moving a little more ‘vegan’?
How to promote veganism – our top 5
I was really happy that a very short moderate blog post such as this had such a positive response, with many people saying that they were cutting out red meat, diary, all meat, some wanting to try vegetarianism and some even veganism.
Ok so if a small blog post can have a positive response lets look at 5 simple things that you can do to promote veganism.
Keep informed and educated.
Yes, you know that there are so many benefits to being vegan, but many people don’t and in fact think quite the opposite. Keeping yourself as educated and informed as possible enables you to share correct, up-to-date information.
Using this information as creatively as possible is a great way to raise awareness. Answer any questions, debates, concerns or fears calmly stating facts and sources, remember to be a lighthouse not a tugboat
Share the vegan goodies.
Many people are concerned that becoming vegan means a life of lentils and lettuce. Most of us have seen the memes making fun of vegan food. We of course know how rich, diverse flavoursome and of course healthy vegan food can be.
So invite people around for dinner, take them to your favourite vegan restaurant or if you are invited somewhere prepare your favourite vegan goodie to take and show people just how amazing vegan food can be.
Do the same with gifts, clothing, cosmetics etc, there is such a huge range of vegan products now available and this is a great way to let people know.
Be active in your community and beyond
Another great way to help promote veganism is to be active both in your local community and beyond. So it could be that you volunteer at a local animal shelter or a local charity. Maybe you could start a local vegan group if there isn’t one.
Help with local fundraising for worthy causes or indeed any number of ways that you can benefit your local community and at the same time raise awareness in a positive and effective way. Beyond the local you can sign petitions, attend demonstrations, (peaceful and organised please) and contact organisations.
Being active and communicating articulately and passionately about issues and offering friendly alternatives is a great way to encourage change.
Ask for vegan products anywhere and everywhere you can. It doesn’t matter if it is a café, restaurant, grocery shop, bakery, clothes shop, in fact I won’t add to the list, just to say anywhere you are going to buy something just ask.
A tip in the way that you ask, do so in a positive expectant way, the more suppliers see a demand for vegan products the more likely that are to add them. And of course don’t just ask, make sure you buy vegan.
By supporting vegan brands we are helping them continue with their work. We as consumers have a tremendous amount of power and influence over what manufactures and suppliers, make and sell, let’s ensure we make them think vegan!
Use positive role models.
Ok so we have already said how important it is to be a positive role model yourself, remember to be the lighthouse not the tugboat. Rightly or wrongly however we can’t avoid the fact that we live in a celebrity obsessed culture.
Well let’s use that to our advantage. From professional sportsmen and women, many of whom are world champions, to film stars, television personalities and even politicians.
There are plenty of positive vegan role models whose success we can share with others to help promote veganism.
Ok so they are our top five simple tips to help promote a vegan lifestyle but at number six we have a bonus that we think is worth mentioning.
Look after yourself and be positive.
And finally think of you! Of course this should be a given for all of us regardless of who we are. If we can radiate, health and positivity it can only be a good thing for ourselves and for those around us. It’s much harder for some to criticise when they can see how healthy and happy you are, in fact this positivity is much more likely to rub off.
You should already be eating well but take time for yourself and do what you enjoy, be it exercising, watching an inspiring film, practicing yoga, meditating or losing yourself in a book.
Making sure you have ‘you’ time on a regular basis will really help maintain your positivity. Ignore any trolls or negativity, there are people who will always thrive on this and they are not worth your positive energy.
So however you chose to promote veganism, even if it is just for 10 minutes a day, remember that every little helps and it does make a difference. And try to be a lighthouse not a tugboat.