I’m a firm believer in living by example like I talked about a bit in my last post “Why I want to stay in America & Fight for the Environment”. Before I went vegan, all I knew of was the raging vegan stereotype. Really angry and nasty people spouting utter nonsense whenever they opened their mouths. Sounds familiar, right? I, just like most other people, didn’t listen to what vegans were saying due to how the information was being handed to me. This exemplifies the grave importance of communicating effectively when you have a message you want to spread, and it is easy to get too emotional and mess up, especially when it concerns a topic like veganism which is rooted in stopping injustice. As soon as someone (Ralph Smart from Infinite Waters and Alyse from Raw Alignment in particular) communicated the message of veganism in a way that resonated with me; I researched into it on my own and decided to become vegan immediately. Focusing on yourself and making decisions for yourself with the information provided to you is more powerful than any other method of lifestyle changing. This is also why documentaries are so important, as I discussed in my “Top 5 Vegan Documentaries” post. Calm explanations and allowing people to decide for themselves with new information and facts given to them as well as the things they research on their own.
So.. how did me going vegan affect my immediate family? Since going vegan I’ve noticed the influence spread slowly, but surely. Overall – people in my family are making better food choices. The reasons vary across the board; everything from health, compassion, and environmental reasons. True vegans eventually are vegan for all reasons, but for most people, it starts with just one reason. Discovering a reason that speaks to you and your values is the first step in veganism. The rest comes later.
Most of the changes made are effective. All of the changes made are great, and a step in the right direction. This is also something that is significant – when someone makes the decision to better themselves and the rest of the world, no matter how small, it needs to be praised and noticed. Everyone has room to grow and life’s a journey (that’s what Journey to Green Living is about).
- My mom is now a pescetarian (someone who only eats fish as far as animals go and eats other animal products such as eggs and dairy), a decision that shocked me and she made entirely on her own. When she told me she was really excited – me stopping eating animals is what made her stop and think. One day, someone came by advertising meat products and started listing body parts and organs. It clicked that this wasn’t food, made her sick, and she immediately didn’t want to eat (most) animals.
- My dad is not but most of the time eats pescetarian or vegetarian meals, and sometimes fully vegan meals. When he does eat other kinds of animals, it’s rarely factory farmed, which although is not great for multiple reasons it is a huge improvement especially from his previous lifestyle. While both of my parents still consume dairy, milk itself has been replaced with almond milk with no protest.
- My cousin whom I’m very close to is now a vegetarian and only uses cruelty-free eggs and almond milk – the eggs are from a friend who has pet chickens who lay naturally.
Those are the biggest changes which have occurred, but they are also the people I have the most contact with. I’ve noticed more people who I communicate with overall making better choices. More veggies, leaning towards free-range products (although I know and try to educate them that ‘free range’ items are a scam and don’t stop the environmental impact – the fact that they’re at least thinking about it after being a mindless zombie is what counts), as well as less aversion to vegetarian and vegan topics and meals. There’s still a lot of hostility involved and information is usually viewed as an “attack on their lifestyle”, but it has diminished somewhat.
While I would love it if every single person I come into contact with became vegan, it’s not realistic. We live in a world that is far away from becoming entirely vegan. I admit it’s beyond difficult to come into daily contact with people who tell themselves they don’t care about what I’m passionate about (although, based on their attempted actions, they do care deep down and just don’t want to face the truth – most of us have been there) and that their taste buds and desire for normality overrules what’s right. Then I remember that I, and the huge majority of vegans, were once not vegan. What it took for me to become vegan was for inspirational people to show me that veganism was what was right. It took a while for me to fully accept and realize this.
All I can do is continue educating and becoming more educated and continue to put all my efforts towards living a life full of love, purpose, and compassion. If people are meant to follow me along this path, they will.