12 ways to practice vegan activism and make a difference

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  1. I’ve found that the short version of the story often leads to questions and winds up being a longer version. My shorter version is: “I first stopped eating animals and wearing leather as a kid back in 1972 after putting 2 and 2 together while lying in bed one night before going to sleep, and instantly became vegan after stumbling on a documentary called Vegucated and learning the truth about dairy and eggs.” If I get questions I provide more detail.

    The funny thing is that when I was a kid my favorite food was hamburgers, so my parents were surprised when I announced I was no longer eating meat or wearing leather. My mom was actually very supportive and ahead of her time in that regard, and she just wanted to be sure I got the nutrients I needed. She found out beans and rice provided a complete protein and also got me a copy of the book Diet for a Small Planet, which was pretty new at the time. We also found veggie burgers and veggie dogs at a health food store (the brands Loma Linda and Worthington come to mind), which was the only place to get them in those days, even in the Bronx where we lived. As a kid it was easy to figure out that an animal had to die for those things, but a kid’s logic said ‘they don’t kill the chickens to get the eggs or kill the cow to get the milk’. It was many years before I even met another vegetarian, and hadn’t met any vegans. About 10 years ago I ran across a documentary called Vegucated and I was curious after reading that it was about New Yorkers trying out a vegan diet for six weeks. It contained enough information to make me instantly give up dairy and eggs, which were also among my favorite foods, but more than that it made me ask myself ‘what else don’t I know?’ I did a lot research, watched more documentaries (can anyone watch Earthlings and not cry?), and have since become an avid label reader. I only buy vegan and cruelty-free products and there’s no animal derived products in my wardrobe. I even made sure my next car was free of leather. These days I wear some sort of vegan message t-shirt 99% of the time, and I like to think of them as walking billboards for animals. They’ve occasionally started conversations, which I make sure are gentle but still provide facts, and I encourage people to do their own research in hopes their curiosity might lead them to make more compassionate choices.

    It seems so much easier to make the switch these days than it was back in the early 70’s with so many (and much better) choices of plant-based meats and dairy products available at all the mainstream grocery stores, but I’ve told people that even back then every grocery store had a vegan section…they call it the produce aisle. 🙂

    I know some people find the transition to eating vegan more difficult than I did, but to me it was a matter of putting the needs of the animals ahead of my wants. As I’ve told others, I don’t do it for my health…I do it for theirs.

  2. Joe Blowers says:

    Focus are on animals, how about the plants/vegetables, fruits? Plants are living things too. If you eat them, don’t you kill them mercilessly? especially if you eat them raw?

  3. I love your blog!! Thank you for making such great content! I like to read your posts whenever I’m feeling sad about the state of the world because they’re very uplifting and offer great advice.

  4. Keith Aitken says:

    Thank you….this website is just what I needed. I have been vegan for 10 years, I am 62 years old. Previous to that I had periods of being a vegetarian / flesh eater. I need to learn how to debate non vegans. I get waaaaaaaaay too emotional and pissed off with them.

  5. As a vegetarian for 16 years, the transition to vegan wasn’t very difficult but getting my mind ready for it took the most work – I recently became a vegan after binge-watching several different documentaries and it was as if a switch flicked in my brain. Now I am soaking up content (mostly yours) to live a more sustainable, minimalist, vegan lifestyle.

  6. Marjorie Rodd says:

    What a refreshing and peaceful website that represents the minimalist concept perfectly. I actually felt calm while exploring your site which is highly unusual. I have my first business meeting tomorrow looking for financial backing for an extraordinary, multi-faceted and complex Vegan entrepreneurial vision . I expect the gentleman will be quite unfamiliar with the Vegan or Vegetarian concept so in preparation I wanted to be able to present the statistics of the Vegan movement to interest him from a purely investment strategy. I came across your site and even after finding some supportive figures I have lingered and enjoyed your site. I expect I will be dealing with a person who will only be looking at the bottom line financially. If there is other information on the movement and trends that might support a solid financial decision I would be appreciative if you could point me in the right direction. Thank you again for this exceptionally well done website.

    1. Hi Marjorie, we’re so glad that our blog resonates with you. Unfortunately, I don’t have any specific figures in relation to the shift of the animal rights movement. With that said, I would be looking at the kind of measures you want to include. Examples include tracking the growth of google search results, increased demand for plant-based foods and fashion—things of that nature. Good luck with the meeting, we’re rooting for you!

  7. Andrea Murphy says:

    I just read your new book The Minimalist Vegan. Loved every word. I have recently become vegan and I will never go back. I love animals and our planet. It’s hard to fathom though that just one person can help to make changes. I am working on ways that I can be more effective that way. Most people don’t want to hear any of it. I will keep working on it. I do think that showing by example has a huge effect.

    1. Andrea, thank you so much for your kind words, it means a lot to us! Kudos to you for becoming vegan and seeking ways to help make changes. Don’t underestimate the small things you can do to help spread the vegan message. Let us know how you go 🙂