What Does it Mean to be Vegan?

Many people evade a vegan diet due to the fear of being binded to the lifestyle. Never having the chance to eat meat, dairy, or eggs again can be a daunting reality to some, but this doesn't have to be the case. As a full-time vegan, my philosophy has always been that it is always better to do something than nothing, and the perception that we have to do everything (in this case, fully devoting to a vegan lifestyle) oftentimes hinders us from doing anything at all. 

Although the word veganism connotes a lifestyle that consists of an animal product-free diet and rejects "the commodity status of animals", nowhere does this definition state that it demands 100% commitment. Many people have approached me with the concern that they'd love to turn vegan, but they're not ready to fully devote themselves to the practice. That in itself is a great start as it demonstrates some level of awareness, but simple acknowledgement may be insufficient. Whether you identify as flexitarian, plant-based, vegetarian, pescatarian or anything in between, what's important about these categories is not the label assigned but the action taken.

It can be said that some people are naturally abstainers - meaning that they prefer to completely eliminate something from their habits and are not tempted by one-off satisfaction - whereas others are moderators - meaning that they prefer to indulge in small doses and are agitated by the thought of 'never' having something again. As an abstainer myself, veganism comes by more easily than, say, flexitarianism. However, for others, it may just be the opposite. What's crucial is that you find what works best for you, and not base your lifestyle on what is most commonly done. That is not to say you should avoid veganism because you are not willing to sacrifice your favorite food, but at least attempt in moderation and see how it goes.  

This leads to the beauty of start-ups such as Green Monday, which facilitates the occasional need for indulgence by moderators. Rather than forcing people to take on a meatless diet instantly, they encourage the community to reduce their carbon footprint by introducing three 'green' meals once a week - an extremely simple task to achieve. By practice, people will inevitably begin to adopt a diet that consists of more green meals and fewer meat dishes, and collectively work toward a greener future. 

All in all, the greatest takeaway that I want you to gain from this post is: don't let the excuse of failing to do everything prevent you from doing anything. 'Veganism' is but a trivial label that disregards the purpose and philosophy of the lifestyle. Overlook the title and focus on the moral: abstention performed for a greater cause.