Vegan diet – Video 5

Building new habits is probably one of the hardest parts about beginning any new lifestyle. A vegan lifestyle is particularly challenging at first because you often go from not paying much attention to the
ingredients in your food to having to do a lot of research to figure out what all those ingredients on boxes of processed foods are and whether or not they may be ethical or healthy.
Much of the time, going vegan is most easily achieved by cutting out these processed foods altogether and sticking to fresh fruits and vegetables and plant proteins to make up your daily meals. This can make going vegan much easier.
Regardless, starting new habits can be challenging, and sticking to a vegan diet may prove to be difficult. Especially if you have an emotional attachment to certain foods. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you love. It simply means that you have to get used to making compromises and learn to be happy with the replacement ingredients while maintaining loyalty to the foods as a concept.
Most of the time, building a new habit takes a fair amount of time. Some people may pick certain things up more easily than others, and that is okay too. One person may struggle on a weekly basis with a vegan diet or temptations of foods that contain animal proteins or meat byproducts, while others may
be able to quit cold turkey. Either of these is okay, and it doesn’t make one person more or less vegan than the other to simply have cravings or meals that they miss deeply. Food is a very personal topic, and judging others for their relationship to it is unproductive and cruel. Instead, focus on the ways you can begin to build healthier habits for yourself and things you can do to
stay on track with your vegan diet.
One of the best things you can do to begin building your habits is to maintain accountability to yourself. If you want to be vegan but you know that you are still cheating with foods that are not vegan,
make sure you are owning up to it. Maybe you can tell a friend or family member who is compassionate to your goals about your conflict and air it out. you can ask them to hold you accountable and ask you questions such as, “what about your vegan lifestyle?” or “is that a vegan thing to do?”
This way you are forced to confront the consequences of your actions head on and take responsibility for the fact that the choices you are making are not in alignment with your goals.
Another thing to do to make sure you are building habits that will last is to start slow. Rather than trying to make a lot of big changes at once and overwhelming yourself, maybe it would be better to try to make gradual changes. This can be especially helpful when it comes to your diet. If you are not familiar with a lot of vegan food options, then suddenly cutting yourself off of meat and trying to do a lot of new meals at once can be very difficult. If you want to make choices that will stick, you have to make sure that you are not overdoing it.
Instead of transitioning overnight, you may find it helpful to begin to integrate new positive habits in a more gradual manner. Start with one night of veganism a week, for example, then steadily get into the habit over time until you are doing it every day without the pressure of trying to make sure that you are doing it right without having any idea what kinds of foods you enjoy eating. By incorporating foods that are vegan into your diet without the pressure, it can make it a lot easier to stick with it long term if
you fear this may be the kind of thing you struggle with.
Building healthy habits takes time, so another thing to remember is to be patient with yourself. Allow
for mistakes and slip ups. Be kind to yourself and remember that there is no timeline for something like this. It is a personal goal and it is up to you how to approach it. Don’t let anyone else shame you or make you feel bad if you are not going based on their timeline. You are doing this for yourself, and ultimately, for the animals. So do it right and don’t shame yourself!
If you find yourself craving meat a lot, you can also attempt to fine-tune your habits by interrupting cravings and other thoughts about meat with different thoughts. For example, if you find yourself thinking about how delicious a steak might be right now, perhaps you could interrupt that thought with a quick fact check. Look into the realities of slaughterhouses and factory farms. Condition yourself to associate the negative realities of the meat industry with your food choices. Soon, you may find that
meat doesn’t seem quite so appealing anymore!
It can take anywhere from seven days to a month to build a new habit, so be patient with yourself throughout the process. Remember, eating meat is probably something you have done the majority of your life. You aren’t going to suddenly stop wanting things that were enjoyable at one point. You are making this choice for personal reasons, so don’t worry about these cravings.

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