It has been so crazy busy around here lately as we prepare the final touches for the launch of Brownble, and you would think this has me with my mind in a million places, zero focus as I try to focus in on so many things, and stress through the roof. The reality however has been quite different. I don’t think I’ve ever been as busy in my entire life and yet I’ve been as present as ever. Perhaps it’s that when you’re creating something that is so important to you, the work just feels like an extension of yourself. Like there’s some strange creature who is fearless that is moving your hands, typing on your keyboard, making stressful conversations as if she had ruled the world before. It has been such a strange feeling. It has also been filled with nostalgia and a lot of thinking about the past and the future. Partly it’s because in a few weeks our Little Green Kettle blog will be moving over to Brownble, and although I know it will continue there for many, many years to come, I can’t help but get a tiny bit sentimental. As we’re cooped up in what I like to call “the brownble bunker”, I can’t help but think about how life has kind of woven a series of events together to lead us to this point. It was in one of these daydreaming states when I thought back at the moment I decided to become vegan, that I got inspiration for writing this post. I started to realize how going vegan goes far beyond what you eat, and it can shape your character and the way you see the world. These are the 8 life lessons being vegan has taught me (so far! I’m sure more are on their way!):
Lesson 1: Finding out the truth requires bravery and a box of kleenex
If you think I wasn’t one of those people who turned away when I saw a video of what animals go through to get to our plates, you would be sadly mistaken. I spent years looking the other way when a PETA video made its way into my newsfeed, and whenever I would encounter someone who had been exposed to the truth I would say “I know it’s probably horrible, so please don’t tell me. I really don’t want to know”. Here’s the God’s honest truth, I didn’t know. I didn’t know it was so horrible that at the first glimpse of it many years later I would become vegan practically on the spot. I didn’t know that one 5 second video footage would have been powerful enough to change a lifetime of habits, not to mention my favorite food, a big juicy steak on the grill, something I’ve never eaten again.
There comes a moment in our lives in which bravery kicks in and we dare to look and face the music. It came for me one afternoon in the form of the movie Vegucated as I was flipping through Netflix. It came again almost every day for a few days until I felt so courageous that I came into the living room and told my husband “I’m giving this vegan thing a try, but you don’t have to”. For him it came many months later when I walked through the door to a face I had never before seen in my husband as he told me “I watched Earthlings, I’m giving this vegan thing a try”. We all have a moment in which we dare to look, and that can be life changing. Don’t be so afraid of it that it never comes. This can of course apply to all areas in life, daring to look at yourself and what isn’t working, daring to look at your relationships, your work, at what you want out of this life, it takes bravery to look really honestly at what is truly there. After you do, action and change starts to happen.
Lesson 2: Taking the road less travelled with joy, needs a powerful “why”
You know what I always say, giving up the cheese was far easier than standing up to a room of my friends and saying I’m vegan, just as they’re getting ready to grill the steaks. Standing out in social situations and perhaps being the only vegan anyone around you has ever met, can be quite daunting if you like to blend in. I know I spend my entire childhood trying to do just that, be part of the “normal” gang. Here’s the thing, I was born into a one parent family, my mother wasn’t married (a first among my friends), I didn’t know my dad, my mom had a physical disability, I was terrible at sports, I had glasses, braces, I was short and I was shy. Let’s face it, there was no way that normal thing was going to happen! Especially because I just always seemed to have a different way of seeing things, things that were important to others just weren’t as important to me. As I heard in a movie I was watching recently “I had a freak flag, but I just didn’t fly it!”.
When faced with the decision of going vegan I had to revisit all of those awkward feelings from the past, only this time I had no fear of flying my freak flag because I had the most powerful why, I had seen what went on behind my plate and there was no way I could continue consuming these products. Sometimes having no option gives you the greatest freedom of all! Whenever you’re faced with anything in life that means going against the grain, hold on to your “why” for dear life, it will take you past the biggest hurdles. Starting a new business, leaving a steady job, moving to another country, deciding not to have a traditional family, coming out as who you really are and who you want to love, going vegan, deciding to have a child on your own, deciding not to have children, leaving a relationship that doesn’t work, all of these are examples that take a lot of courage, and your “why” will lift you up and take you along for the ride.
Lesson 3: Naysayers move on and get over it,
but only if you show them one thing…
CONFIDENCE! Moms, dads, siblings, friends, neighbors, they will all get over your new choices no matter how many times they insist they have a better idea and you’re making a mistake. What I didn’t know back when I first went vegan was that the faster I was able to show them how confident and happy I was with my choice, the faster they were going to give up the fight. All my friends now know that no matter how many jokes or comments they make, I will shrug them off, pat them on the shoulder and say “nice try! It didn’t work last year, it isn’t going to work this year!”. Be confident in your choices, your life is no one’s but your own.
Lesson 4: Your own questions are powerful excuses, get them out of the way by doing the research!
We all have doubts and questions at the beginning of any new journey, but it happened to me especially with veganism. Is it healthy? Is it too expensive? Can I do it? Will I be able to eat out? Where do I buy these new ingredients? What if people don’t understand? What if I can’t hang out with my friends at restaurants anymore? What if they never again want to come over for dinner? Will I get all the nutrients I need? Do I need to take supplements? This goes for any new venture! I had so many doubts before embarking on the creation of brownble that it quite frankly almost didn’t happen! I was lost in a maze of doubts and questions, and I only found the light thanks to my dear husband who would simply tell me to “just do it, and when in doubt, look it up”. These questions mostly arise because we’d rather stay in our simple comfort zones and not risk going against the tide and it not working out or making a mistake. Here’s what I learned, when it comes to new adventures we’re sometimes are own worst enemies! Ask the questions, do the research and leave the excuses behind. What a shift this created in my life, I can’t even tell you!
Lesson 5: You don’t need to be an expert, you just need to tell your truth
Veganism especially, but this can happen in any new adventure in life, will put you under the spotlight of a million questions. Who ever said we had to be perfect and an expert at everything? I’ve never met an omnivore who can recite how many grams of protein or calcium or beta carotene they had for breakfast this morning. Sure, we can certainly inspire people to make changes in their lives when we have information to share, but perfection is always the enemy. The greatest way to inspire is to tell your truth, be honest. Nobody can tell you that what you’re saying isn’t valid or enough. You know my strong opinion about how to answer that BIG question “why are you vegan”, tell your story, be as honest as you can and share your why with confidence.
Lesson 6: Going against the grain can teach you powerful stuff about yourself
As with lesson 2, this one is all about daring to be brave, and then taking a look at the magical stuff that naturally follows. When you have a powerful “why” that makes you feel that there is just no other way forward but to take the leap, magical things start to happen. After years of trying to be as normal as possible, it was through veganism that I finally embraced that I’m very often the odd one out! For the first time I embraced having different opinions, different points of view, a different kind of life, I became bold, and brave and outspoken, I became more honest both to others and to myself. Confidence, something I feel everyone struggles with at some point or another, had finally arrived and there it stayed. Some people might call it the effects of good karma brought on by all the cutie pies you’re no longer eating. I call it the effects of practice. Practicing being the voice that says no, the odd one out, the only vegan in the room, and quite frankly the one who doesn’t give a rat’s cutie patooty booty what other people think. Powerful stuff I tell ya!
Lesson 7: All habits are created by us and can be broken by us
I was full of self-fulfilling prophecies before going vegan “I can’t live without meat”, “I can’t live without cheese”, “I can’t stand out in a crowd”, “I can’t go vegan, I’m a foodie”. We are creatures of habit, but somewhere along the line we decided that habits that we created ourselves were royal and martial law. They are irrevocable and as true and fixed as the color of our eyes or our skin. I’m here to burst your bubble my friend! Every single habit we create, we can substitute with another. All it takes is putting one foot in front of the other and according to research 3-4 weeks of taking steady steps forward in the new direction. This is why I think Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s 30 day vegan challenge can change your life. She is in the business of getting rid of your excuses, and forming new habits. All you need is to trust the process, no matter how impossible it may seem at first
Lesson 8: “My actions matter, they are powerful, they can create change every single day”
We all want to make an impact in this world. We all dream of solving global issues and we all want to leave our mark. Yet we are all convinced that only the “mighty and powerful” and the people in charge can actually help solve these issues. Yes, there are some problems in this world that fall beyond the scope of what we can do with our own two hand from where we are, but there is one place where it just takes one person, wherever he or she is right now to cause a huge impact: your plate. Three meals a day, or more, you alone can cause an enormous impact on the lives of animals, the lives of workers who suffer at the expense of our habits, the health and longevity of our planet, and your own health. You are important, you matter, whether it’s one meal a week for now, or a life long commitment, every little step counts. Veganism is causing massive waves and growing in leaps and bounds, and it’s because someone somewhere said “I’m not eating that today because I’m giving this vegan thing a try”, and that other person just sat there and heard them. Taking one first step can change everything. One step, that’s how a marathon starts!
Veganism has quite frankly changed me as a person, as a wife, as a friend, as a teacher and as a mamma to my two furry babies. I would love to hear in the comments below how making more vegan choices has maybe impacted you in other ways too! Add your own little lesson to this list in the comments below. Also, if you’ve enjoyed this post, we’ll soon be moving over to our new website, and we’d love to have you come on board! Sign up by clicking the image below and we’ll keep you updated, send you a ton of free videos and recipes (including a sweet little welcome gift!) and we’ll let you know as soon as we’re live in the new site. Thanks for stopping by today!