How You Can Stick To a Vegan Lifestyle

Veganism has seen a surge in popularity over the past decade. Vegetarian Times reports that an estimated 1,000,000 people in the U.S. are currently vegan.

A new study commissioned by the journal Appetite found an interesting trend among people who self-identified, or once self-identified, as vegan: those who chose the diet for ethical reasons stayed with it longer than those who cited health reasons.

The survey included 246 vegans and found that the health vegans lasted an average of five-and-a-half years while ethical vegans made it for eight years. The ethical vegan writing this post has been at it since 2006, after viewing PETA’s “Meet Your Meat” (Warning: Graphic).

While it’s important not to draw hard conclusions from a single study, the findings are interesting because they reinforce the idea that decisions are made with a higher degree of adherence when they come with an attached responsibility to others.

In my case, I grew up in a small town where veganism was viewed with extreme skepticism. Were it not for my veganism being based in ethics, I’d absolutely have resumed eating animal products within months. As an adult living in New York City, being a vegan is incredibly easy, because I now have the benefit of social support.

Much like a New Year’s Resolution, a decision based solely on benefit to the self and devoid of a connection to right vs. wrong is difficult to follow if it requires sustained action, especially in the absence of social support. Exercise classes are a good example of the positive effect group identity can have upon adherence.

In fact, U.S. News and World Report cited the (circumstantially) restrictive nature of veganism as a negative, despite including the diet on its list of the best ones.

If you’re considering going vegan, it may be worthwhile to first ask yourself “Why?” when making the decision. Being fully informed about the positive ethics of veganism, rather than just the benefits to your health, could help you have an easier time staying on track.

Secondly, it will be worth your time to seek out a group of other folks following the same path. If you can’t find a local vegan potluck group or other fun setting where you can just socialize without being the “odd one out,” consider starting a MeetUp of your own. Keep the “fun” part in mind. There’s an important place for social activism, but the dinner table probably isn’t it. I wish somebody had told me that many years ago!

I consider going vegan to be the single best decision I’ve made in my life. And with the right mindset and social support, I feel confident that readers considering making the switch won’t regret it one bit.

Related:
A Beginner’s Guide to Traveling While Vegan
The Best City for Vegans?

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

91 comments

Ruth S
Ruth S1 years ago

Thanks.

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Philippa P
Philippa Powers1 years ago

Thanks.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jo S.
Jo S4 years ago

Great, thanks Chris.

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heather g.
heather g4 years ago

A fairly strange article..... those stats cannot possibly true as everyone who is a vegan does not necessarily belong to a particular society.... One very good suggestion was to invite people to vegan/vegetarian dinners, and then meet every few weeks. There's so much info on-line, it encourages friends to experiment more...

If more people meditated, they would become more aware of what they do and why they do it..... hopefully become more compassionate as well.

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Genoveva M M.
Genoveva M4 years ago

I have been vegan for over 30 years and healthy, but as m butterflies k commented, I didn't do it as a diet, because it's not a diet.
To me is the firm based believe that all lives are as important as mine.
I love all animals, so my decision to be vegan allows me to honestly say that I love animals, therefore I don't eat them.
To become vegan only takes 3 things: a brain, a heart and the will to use them both.
For those who have tried a d felt, maybe it's best to learn more about the truth of what animals sufferer just for humans commodity.
I truly believe in the good hearths of many to change the way they feel in more ways than one. Being vegan inspire you to be able to see life itself for what it is and that means that life is as precious to you, as it is to all living ceeatures.

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M. Butterflies Katz
Marcia Katz4 years ago

This article misrepresents veganism - and turns it into a diet. Veganism is not a diet. The diet is one aspect of being vegan.

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Becka T.
Becka T4 years ago

Thank you

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Angie P.
Angie P4 years ago

Trying hard to turn vegan. I slip up occasionally and then feel bad. I don't know why but every blue moon I crave a hamburger. Everyone should at least try to eat less meat, chicken, fish, etc. if they love animals.

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Miriam O.

Thanks for sharing this with us! Good article!

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