There are a LOT of reasons to switch to a more plant-based/vegan lifestyle. If we’re talking about making impact then a vegan lifestyle is for you. It’s not just about loosing weight — actually its not at all about loosing weight. It’s about living a more empathetic and holistic lifestyle. It’s about gaining a deeper connection to food, nutrition, our beautiful mother earth and all the living creatures living amongst us.
I understand switching is a big task to take on. You’re literally changing everything you know about food. From what to eat to knowing how to prepare it and consume it. Even sometimes, where to obtain it. I’m not here to push being a ‘perfect vegan’. Everyone learns at their own pace, people have different dietary needs and restrictions and some people just don’t want too.
Because there are so many benefits to switching I believe with my whole being it’s a great idea for people to take that small step and make one minor change at a time. All it takes is changing one habit at a time.
I thought I would make a post listing out easy changes you can make today that won’t leave you feeling overwhelmed or confused.
If you have the option of plant-based then why not choose it?
Some of the most popular restaurants in my area offer a plant-based section to their menu now. In a time where Beyond, Impossible burgers exist (get what I did there?😂) it’s pretty easy to make that conscious choice.
If you were going to get a burger anyways, why not get the plant-based one? Or if you’re hoping to dive into that chicken teriyaki bowl but there’s also a crispy tofu bowl, give that one a try.
Heading to Starbucks? They’ve had non-dairy milk for years! Time to switch up our routine and habits.
I find we’re so quick to deflect our anger and pain towards other people. The amount of outrage and cries regarding plastic straws was incredible to say the least. Being a server in a restaurant at the time, it was amazing to see the judgment around carrying plastic straws yet these same people were ordering the salmon dinner 🤔
If you want to see change in the world, then change, and the world will follow.
Start with just one. Just one vegan meal a week or even a month.
You don’t have to wake up one day and vow to never touch or even look at another animal product again. Start small. Start with just one meal a week. Pick it before you do your grocery shop, make a list of all of the ingredients you need and then make it on a day where you’re not rushed and have support if you need it.
I started doing this about a year before my husband and I completely switched. We didn’t do this with the intention of one day switching, I just felt I needed to incorporate more vegetarian/vegan meals in our diets. When we finally decided to switch 9 months ago I was able to reference the vegan friendly meals I was already familiar with.
This totally takes the anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed completely away.
You can check out some of my favourite vegan recipes here.
Now this may seem like a bigger task than a ‘small change’.
You don’t need to read every single label in the grocery store or rummage through your pantry for hours checking to see what may have dairy in it, in one sitting.
Take it slow.
Cooking a pasta dinner? Check the ingredients when you grab the pasta box from the cupboard.
Snagging a granola bar for the road? Same thing, give the label a quick read.
This will get you familiar with the names of ingredients and which staples in your household are ‘accidentally vegan.’ You’d be surprised.
Get involved in the community. We pride ourselves on diversity but often surround ourselves by like-minded people. How can this be diverse?
If just the thought of veganism tickles your interests the slightest then feed into that curiosity.
Follow some mainstream vegan focused instagram accounts. Watch a documentary or check out the Vegan Society’s webpage.
Know someone who is vegan? Talk to them. Ask all the questions.
Education and knowledge are power.
With information at the literal tips of our fingers we have no excuse to not be educated in diverse topics.
My final tip on what you can do today to make a change is switch your milk to a non-dairy milk.
With so many options out there today paired with an open mind and some creativity your bound to find one that you like! For my morning latte I found my perfect replacement is 1/2 soy 1/2 oat milk. My husband loves all oat milk. I love all soy in my afternoon smoothie and my husband loves all cashew. It takes time but it’s totally worth it.
You can also buy vegan butter like Earth’s Balance or a vegan margin like the vegan friendly Becel rather than cow’s milk butter. As well as treat yourself to some vegan Ben & Jerry’s or other plant-based desserts.
The benefits of cutting just dairy milk from your diet are extraordinary. For your body, the planet and for both the mother cow and baby cow.
Some variations of plant milks that are available to you are:
Cutting dairy from your diet is the single handed best way to make a small change with a big impact; I thought I’d share how it would make a difference for the planet, your health and the animals.
For your health:
Taken from Forks Over Knives documentary website (they have listed their sources and studies to state these facts)
Increased hormone consumption — regardless if you’re buying organic milk with zero added hormones. You have to look at cows milk and the female cow just as you would a women and her breastmilk. The mother cow gets pregnant and has a surge of hormones going through her body to create and develop her baby calf in the womb. She then has continued increased hormone production after birth to create milk. Mama cow has enough growth hormones surging through her body to feed and nourish a baby calf to adulthood. The only problem is that humans are consuming the breastmilk instead. All you have to do is google the affects imbalanced hormones have on a persons health.
Increased risk of cancer — Again, this is regardless of whether you’re buying organic milk or not because the cause is from casein, the main protein in dairy milk.
Increased chance of type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases — our body knows to protect us against harmful substances but with foreign peptides which are similar to ones found in humans consumed through animal products our bodies get confused and at times attack the wrong cells
Weaker bones — YUP! Shocking right?! There are a few reasons they believe that cause this — such a high quantity of calcium can cause a deficiency in vitamin D. The high animal protein can cause an increase in acidity which then causes our bodies to search for more calcium from our bones causing them to weaken. And thirdly those natural growth hormones in dairy cause us to grow bigger faster which means the bones aren’t as strong.
For the animals:
Taken from the Vegan Society website
- Calves are taken from their mother within 24 hrs
- This happens to a mother cow on average of 5 times in her lifespan
- Male calves are useless to the dairy industry and are either killed right away or shipped to a veal farm
- Female calves become milking cows and live their life constantly getting pumped
- 1/3 or more of dairy cows suffer mastitis…if your a mom you know how horrible and painful that is. Mastitis is the main reason a cow dies prematurely
- In order to impregnate a cow they are artificially inseminated…aka raped. They are continuously pregnant and simultaneously being milked their entire life.
For the planet
Taken from the Cowspiracy website
- A farm with 2500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city with 410,000 people
- 1000 gallon of water is required to produce 1 gallon of milk
- Growing food for livestock consumes 56% of the US water
- 1-2 acres of rainforest is cleared every second
It’s safe to say there are many ways to make a huge difference by making a small routine change. You don’t need to wake up tomorrow and have it all figured out — you just have to try the very best you can each and every day.