Everyone’s opinion on any given matter are the sum of their previous experiences. If you think eating a plant-based diet or being vegan is obnoxious, maybe someone you came across in the past was overwhelming about their lifestyle. If you are vegan, and came across someone who was offensive in their point of view as to why they are not vegan, maybe that has now caused you to become a little bit more defensive about your lifestyle. It’s natural to react in a similar way when exposed to a similar stimulus. Regardless of your lifestyle, I hope you can find space for compassion when reading my personal point of view below. This is just my story, and is meant in no way to pass judgment on others or to pressure others to follow a similar path.
I identify as plant-based instead of "vegan". Plant-based implies a more wholesome way of eating and living. Veganism is viewed more as an all-around lifestyle choice which also includes the exclusion of purchasing animal products, but when it comes to nutrition, a vegan can eat Oreos, drink soda, eat processed foods and eat potato chips all day long and still be" vegan". (A documentary by Plant Based News on this phenomenon is linked below.)
I have always been someone that was interested in the natural, plant-based way of living. From the skincare products I use on my skin, to the cleaning products I use in my home, and even the material that my pots and pans are made from that I use to cook with, I have ALWAYS tried to take a holistic approach to health and wellness. Before I fully dedicated myself to pursuing a plant-based diet, I always knew that my way of living has a ripple effect on not only my health, but also on the environment and animals.
I believe the term "plant-based" is more inclusive. If you want honey but you've just cut out meat and milk, awesome! If you want cheese for now while you transition, then great! The point is to eat plant-based most of the time, and less of what I like to call CRAP.
C - Chemically Altered
R - Refined
A - Artificial/Animal-derived
P - Processed foods
Following a plant-based lifestyle the MAJORITY of the time is a clear win compared to nothing at all. Also, no matter what diet you are on, a common theme among most healthy diets is to eat more plants. Finally, through coaching thousands of people around the world, I have found that regardless of where you are starting from, it is easier to stick to a 100% plant-based vegan lifestyle long-term when you transition over time, rather than going cold turkey (or as vegans say, cold tofurkey 😉). This helps you to carefully identify healthy swaps, discover and invest in brands that are cruelty free, and so on. All this, and more, is nearly impossible to all happen overnight.
For those already following a plant-based lifestyle, I encourage you to offer compassion to all individuals, plant-based, or not. To be kind to not only the animals but also to humans. Be open and honest to answering questions, and do not judge the choices of others. Lead by example, and those that are inspired will be more likely to follow suit.
Lifestyle changes are not quick fixes. My transition to this way of life took years and is still a work in progress. There has been plenty of trial and error and lots of doubt and uncertainty. Needless to say, the more I live this way, the more I become sure of my decisions and actions. I choose to eat a plant-based diet for health, and through this avenue I have seen how it has been able to help others, the environment, and animals.
I will never judge anyone’s lifestyle choices, just as I appreciate that they respect mine. I choose to share my way of life in hopes that it may inspire others to improve the welfare of their own life.
Key takeaway: Above everything mentioned here, it is important for you to take an integrative and functional approach for your health, and do what is best for you based on your specific conditions, lab work, medical history, biomarkers, and access to healthful foods (regardless of what anyone else on the says). This is also the approach I take when working with clients as well.
What's your take? Do you identify as a vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, omnivore, or something else? Why or why not?
Plant Based News Documentary, But it's Vegan (Click to watch—> But it's Vegan!)