5. Garner social support
Figuring out what to eat is actually the easy part for most people who go vegetarian or vegan. The social implications are more challenging. Dr. Carol J. Adams, in her book Living Among Meat Eaters, provides numerous suggestions for getting along with the meat-eating majority. Dr. Adams explains that we should “show them, don’t tell them.” Rather than trying to convince or convert through dialogue, invite your family, friends, and co-workers to try some of the wonderful foods you eat. They will discover, like you, that they will enjoy a life of abundance, not deprivation.
6. Learn to fish (figuratively)
Eat fish? Fish populations are dwindling and the fish who are consumed often contain high levels of mercury or other contaminants. However, learning to prepare delicious vegan meals will provide you with a lifetime of highly pleasurable and inexpensive dishes. To get up to speed, find local vegetarian or vegan potlucks, meet with a registered dietitian who specializes in vegetarian nutrition, visit, Happy Cow to locate restaurants at home and on the road, attend Vegetarian Summerfest, and search for recipes online or at your local bookstore.
7. Get to know joy, Dr. Melanie Joy
In her video, Melanie Joy explains that carnism is “the invisible belief system, or ideology, that conditions people to eat (certain) animals” and revere others. Gaining a better understanding of the cultural influences that act upon each member of society does not bring immediate joy. However, being aware of the psychic defenses one employs to enable their own meat eating is an important step on the road to an animal-free diet which itself is a joyful and affirmative practice.
8. Uncover hidden truths
Did you know that infants who breast feed receive a huge dose of dioxin when they consume human breast milk and that much of our dioxin exposure comes from animal products? Of course, infants who breast feed are eating at the very top of the food chain; they are literally eating human. Experts still recommend that women breast feed, but vegetarian women have much lower levels of dioxin in their breast milk. As each hidden truth is revealed, desire for what was once a craving-inducing food becomes something inedible.
9. List the pros and cons
Write down reasons for and against adopting a vegan diet. Then find a way to minimize the importance of each con. For example, if one con is concern about finding enough food to sustain oneself, a person might decide to dedicate themselves to improving their culinary skills and be reassured by the fact that vegan athletes are able to perform at high levels on a plant-based diet. With a long list of reasons to be vegan or vegetarian, and a ready-made way to reframe cons, you’ll have the motivation and mental approach needed to thrive.
10. Choose it
Making the decision is essential. Rule out the option of backsliding. This Thanksgiving you’ll have even more to be thankful for.
Image Source: Suzette Pauwels/Flickr