If I Knew Then, What I Know Now

It's Easy Being VeganGo Vegan Step-By-Step, Part 1

Being vegan is more than a diet. It’s a lifestyle. It involves changing more than dietary habits and can be overwhelming when you consider how much change it involves. Unfortunately, animal products permeate every area of our lives—from food to clothes to shoes to household cleaners to make-up and more. Just writing this makes me question how I ever made the switch, but I did and you can too.

There are many ways you could approach removing animal products from your life. For example, you could quit using all animal products “cold tofu” or choose to eliminate them step-by-step.

When I went vegan, I set a date to go vegan and gave myself two months to mentally prepare. This was in late 2004. My “go vegan” date was January 1, 2005. I had actually been preparing for 19 years. Let me explain.

Back in 1985, I learned about animal testing and factory farming from a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) newsletter. I decided to go vegetarian, but I was a terrible vegetarian. I ate fish all the time. Yep, I’m one of those people. But, I’m also a good example of why vegans should not judge others because I did come around—eventually.

Change is hard, but when you understand how change works, it may be easier to make the changes in your life that you want to make—and stick with them. Using the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change, I will illustrate how I went vegan and then I will show you how I would do it today. I’m going to break it down for you in a step-by-step format, but first, let’s talk about change.

There are six stages in the Transtheoretical Model include:

  1. Pre-Contemplation
  2. Contemplation
  3. Preparation
  4. Action
  5. Maintenance
  6. Termination

Now let’s walk through each stage in detail.

Pre-Contemplation: The person is not ready to change and may be unaware that a change is even needed.

Example: From birth to age 17, I was unaware that using animals for food and other products was an issue. I ate meat, eggs and dairy; wore leather shoes and belts; used leather purses and wallets; and used hair products, make-up and household cleaners tested on animals. I didn’t see any problems with using these products nor was I aware that anyone else took issue with my behavior.

You may find yourself here. That’s okay. I suspect most people visiting this blog will have moved beyond pre-contemplation to at least the next stage, contemplation.

Stay tuned. Part 2 coming soon.

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