You don’t have to be vegan to help the world, but it helps.
One of the hardest parts of going vegan is that everyone else doesn’t magically go vegan with you. Seriously. I am constantly wondering what took me so long to make this change permanent. It was like I suddenly woke up and couldn't unsee the damage I was doing to the world and to myself.
I’m not talking about my health here. I’m talking about my soul. There is nothing more miserable than believing something so strongly and behaving in a way that contradicts that. It is like being at war with yourself. Being vegan has brought me so much peace. I finally feel like my behavior matches my beliefs. I’ve put my morals where my mouth is, so to speak.
But just because I woke up did not mean the rest of the world did too. There’s still a McDonalds on every corner, a meat counter in every market, and almost every family will still celebrate most holidays this year by gathering around and eating the corpse of an animal. At first I thought that if they only knew the facts, they’d change too. They’d HAVE to, just like I did. But they don’t. And then I become the ranting radical who won’t shut up about Veganism.
I’ve been there. Trust me.
I still wish everyone in the world was vegan. But so far we’re only up to 2.5% in the US (and growing!) It is not my job to convert the world to veganism. But what I do want is to empower you (yes, YOU!) to change something for the better. Even if you’re not ready to go Vegan.
Because we are FUCKING SHIT UP on this planet. The evidence is well documented, verified, facts. You need only go as far as your Netflix or Amazon video account to learn the various ways that our over reliance on animal products is killing the land, sea, and sky. But we are dying too. Processed meat and dairy products have been linked to numerous Western illnesses including heart disease, various cancers and diabetes.
When people read this information, they either get angry and defensive or become
motivated and want to make a change. I believe this is the difference between feeling helpless or empowered. It is overwhelming, I get it. So much damage has been done and it will take SOOOOO much work to fix it. It’s a LOT. When you tell people that their diet can change their health and the health of the planet, they sometimes feel like they’re being blamed for the problems that exist. If feels defeating. Like we might as well stay on the couch, unshowered, eating orange powder covered snack foods until the world just ends already.
But the flip side of that flapjack is empowerment. It feels like a lot because there IS work to do. Work we can do. Because we do have control of our behaviors and can choose to change them. And you can do that today. Now. This very second, if you want. Even if you’re not ready to go vegan.
So what am I asking you to do?
Change. One. Thing.
Really? That’s it, Mac?
Yes. One little thing.
Here’s the secret. The thing doesn’t matter. Take your pick. Here’s some ideas to help.
Give up one animal product, such as seafood, beef, or pork
Commit to meatless Mondays
Have one vegan dinner a week
Educate yourself on environmental and animal rights issues
Go cruelty-free in your makeup and beauty products
Say no to fur and leather
Go vegan on the weekend
Support businesses that are vegan friendly
This list is in no way comprehensive and I’m sure you can think of ideas of your own. The point is to make a commitment to change one thing for the better.
Why just one thing?
Glad you asked. Because that one thing is difference between feeling helpless and feeling empowered. Once you take a single step, it’s hard not to keep moving. It feels good to act on the things you care about. Soon you’ll want to take another step. And another and another. You might not ever go vegan or plant-based. But I bet you’ll continue taking steps to change the world however you can.
If you are already sold on the impact of veganism and are ready to jump in head first (like Mags and I did) go for it! But I'm learning that not everyone is as radical as me and that diving into veganism might not be practical for everyone.
If that sounds like you, but you still want to make a difference commit today to one thing. Just one. Remember that a journey starts with a single step.
We’d love to hear what your first step is in the comments!