As one would expect, discussions following these essays have been more than a little heated, with a number of readers taking offense at my insistence that we desperately need to re-examine the accepted cultural practice of enslaving others for our own pleasure.
Despite the many rewards of vegan living, and despite the irrefutable fact that veganism is the way to relinquish our personal stake in the exploitation of other animals, there are quite a few readers who do not agree that veganism would be an improvement over the status quo, or are simply not interested in becoming vegan. Some have expressed the sentiment (likely shared by many), that they strongly dislike ‘being told what to do’, or being ‘proselytized to’.
In the middle of these debates, however, there have appeared some comments from readers expressing a genuine desire to learn more about making such a transition, and some have even expressed a need for further information, not just in regards to why one should be vegan, but how one can go about doing so. This article is written with those people in mind.
I am concerned that some might have been intimidated by the stories of those who say they have had negative experiences with vegan experimentation, particularly those who have expressed that their own experiences with veganism were detrimental to their physical health.
In short, there seems to be a popular misconception amongst readers that being vegan is difficult for most people. It’s not surprising that this is the case, not only because our minds and bodies have been programmed for many generations to adapt to eating animal foods, but also for the simple reason that vegan living is not the norm, and anything that is not the norm tends to be daunting to those who live in a society where so many aspects of life are shared with each other. Food and eating are central to so many of our cultural rituals, and seem to permeate so many different aspects of life, not just our daily meals but also entertainment and even religious observances.
On the other hand, in my discussions with vegans, there seems to be a general consensus that being vegan is actually remarkably easy, especially when you compare the effort that is required with the rewards, which can include dramatically improved health and energy levels, a lighter environmental footprint, enhanced spiritual awareness, increased self-confidence and self-esteem, greater enjoyment of food, and a renewed love and appreciation for animals and the rest of the natural world. In a time when many are seeking a new way of living that does not contribute to the madness of ‘life as it is’, veganism represents a paradigm shift of consciousness and behavior that can benefit the individual in ways that are hard to understand until you have had the experience for yourself.
In an attempt to provide some guidance for those who are genuinely attracted to the values of veganism, but are not sure of how to go about making what might appear on the surface to be a quantum leap in behavior, I would like to try and shine a light on some of the myths that contribute to the common misconception that being vegan is too difficult, or even impossible for certain individuals.
This information is intended to address the basic concerns of those who want to put their minds at ease in regard to some common misunderstandings, but it is by no means intended to be an exhaustive or comprehensive guide. Anyone who has specific personal issues or serious concerns about health, nutrition, or any other aspect of the vegan lifestyle, would be wise to do their own research if they seek to go further.
For those who simply want reassurance that becoming vegan is not something to be intimidated by, I hope that these articles will provide the information you need. If, upon reading them, you have a question that I have not covered, please submit it as a comment, and I will do my best to address it in a future article.
For the sake of simplicity, I will be publishing this information in three separate articles, to be released soon. Keep an eye out for the following posts: