Can I be a part-time vegan?

Can I be a part-time vegan?
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As I’ve told you in my bio this blog is all about inspiration and not about judgement. I do this because so many people don’t dare to make any changes to their lifestyle because they get the feeling it’s either all or nothing. In reality however none of us are perfect! So being inhibited by perfection is a major issue we should overcome. To start off the new year and in the spirit of veganuary I thought it would be a great time to talk about being a part-time vegan.

What does “being vegan” even mean? 

Per definition the word “vegan” doesn’t only refer to diet. “Vegan” means avoiding any animal products in all aspects of life. This includes food&drinks, clothing (e.g. leather), entertainment (e.g. zoos), cosmetics and much more. If you haven’t looked into veganism much you might now be wondring if your shampoo has animal products in it. Well, it might. But what I’m trying to tell you is that “vegan” is a big word that’s thrown around quite uncarefully.

In this blog post I would like to limit the question of “Can I be a part-time vegan” to the diet aspect of the word. Which is then properly referred to with the term “plant-based diet”. Calling it this doesn’t only make clear that we are talking about diet but also suggests that we are basing the diet on plants, meaning there can be other things on your plate, too. But enough about word gibberish. I think you get the idea. The reason you’re reading this isn’t to get a vocabulary lesson but to find out if it’s possible to be a part-time vegan or now better referred to as a part-time plant-based diet. So glad that this is such an easy term to write and say 😉 

It doesn’t matter what you call yourself

But honestly, now that you know more about the definition of these words you might as well just forget them again. Because you are you and you don’t need a label! Maybe you eat lots of potatoes but no broccoli – and guess what, there’s no label for that. The only thing I like about labels are their actual purpose of making it easier to declare ingredients. So for example if a dish on the menu has a vegan label next to it I don’t have to ask the restaurant if the meal has animal products in it. But as for what you eat, you don’t have to follow a label or rules that the label may set. The label shouldn’t define you. You are your own person and I think it’s more important to think about each decision for yourself and make the rules as informed as possible.

The worst thing you can do is overwhelm yourself. Because in most cases that leads to quitting. You should find your own pace at which you feel comfortable with change.

How do I start being a part-time vegan?

Find the right pace

So with the rule book out of the way let’s talk about how your diet could change in favor of your health, the environment and the animals. Of course it would be great to stop consuming animal products all together but that’s simply too big of a step for many. The worst thing you can do is overwhelm yourself. Because in most cases that leads to quitting. Some people go fully vegan overnight and never look back, some are vegetarians first, some take years. Again there is no right or wrong. It’s a process that is completely defined by you. So to start making those changes you should find your own pace at which you feel comfortable with change. Find out what challenges you face. Maybe you do great with cooking plant-based meals at home but struggle when eating out. Then go with this first and make more changes as they feel right.

The reason vegan seems restrictive to many is because most people just subtract animal foods out of their cultural dishes they are used to. With eating more plants you will get to know so many new foods and dishes and wonder how you could ever have lived such a boring food life.

Get inspired

To start eating more plants I find it hugely helpful to follow accounts or download ebooks that inspire me with plant-based recipes. On of my all time favorite people (also 100% unjudgy) is elasaswholesomelife who has currently teamed up with so many other creators to combine all their ebooks into one big package called the vegan bundle with tons of recipes, sauces, lifestyle tips and lots more. I bought it and am super happy with all the new inspiration! If you’re interested, be quick, it’s only sold until January 9th.

But things like this ebook are especially important if you’re just starting to incorporate more plant foods into your diet. Because most people struggle with habits. Eggs on toast for breakfast, a tuna salad for lunch and a steak with fries for dinner. The reason vegan seems restrictive to many is because most people just subtract animal foods out of their cultural dishes they eat regularly and are used to. So all of the sudden it’s nothing on toast for breakfast, salad with nothing for lunch and nothing with fries for dinner. Wow, that sounds incredibly terrible and dull!

Be open for new foods

But once we understand that it’s all about habits and culture we also open the door for the new. How does a hummus-avocado toast for breakfast, a mexican bowl for lunch and a pizza for dinner sound? Not too bad, right?  But until you get there or maybe you never decide to fully go there you can switch out what you’ve eaten all your life piece by piece with new meals from around the world. Believe me, you will get to know so many new foods and dishes and wonder how you could ever have lived such a boring food life. At least that’s what happened to me!  

pizza vegan plant-based la stella nera berlin
Vegan pizza with homemade ricotta at my favorite place here in Berlin “La Stella Nera”

Will I be healthier if I eat a more plant-based diet?

Either you’re a health nut and are worried about nutrients & protein now or you’re a comfort eater worrying that this whole thing might be too much salad for you. I can take both those worries off your mind. Eating more plants nowadays can be super healthy or absolutely comforting. I’ll talk about nutrients another day but in the end just like with any diet if you eat right (check the plantproof healthy vegan food pyramid) you will be thriving on plants! And if you’re a comfort eater the two comfy creators zuckerjagdwurst will not disappoint your with their creations. Vegan pizza, vegan beyond meat burgers, peanut butter ice cream and all those kind of nasties are readily available nowadays. So whatever you decide to do – there’s enough out there for you. Health is something individual but eating more plants will for sure have a great impact on the environment and the animals!

Start by finding your “why” 

Understanding how the animal product industry has one of the worst impacts on the environment and the animals did it for me. My behaviour collided with my morals. I didn’t want to contribute to something I couldn’t justify.

If you are planning on becoming a “part-time vegan” or differently said eating more plants and less animal foods, you need to know why you’re doing it. I started eating vegan once because I felt it would be a good idea. You can image how long that great argument kept me there. I bought 5 vegan products that were crap, hadn’t really figured out why I wanted this change and went back to my old habits the next day. It was almost a year after, that I found my “why”.

For me it was learning about the impact animal foods have on the environment. I love nature and its complex amazing ecosystems with all kinds of different animal and plant species. Understanding how the animal product industry has one of the worst impacts on this combined with the fact that I knew most animals in the livestock industry were living terrible lives did it for me. My behaviour collided with my morals. I didn’t want to contribute to something I couldn’t justify. To find your “why” you can watch some amazing documentaries that will not only educate you on health and the environment but will also give you new perspective on compassion and morals.

My top 3: 

What the Heath (Health)

Dominion (Animals)

Cowspiracy (Environment)

You could also watch: 

Forks over Knives 

Game Changers 

and many more 

Australia nature environment conservation plant based vegan diet
My “why”

What will my diet as a part-time vegan look like?

Well, as I told you before – you make the rules! So you should find out where you can and want to start. Is breakfast your favorite meal of the day? Then start somewhere else. You love cheese? Then ditch meat, milk and butter. You don’t want to eat differently when you’re out? Then cooked only plant-based meals when you’re eating at home. In the end it has to fit your life and your needs. Because that’s what will keep you going. It will make you want to learn more and will motivate new changes. 

Will some changes be enough? 

I always say if I did everything right I would be living in the woods wearing a potato sack. And someone would probably still be up my butt on how I am breathing out carbon dioxide.

Make those changes as big as you can to have the biggest impact but don’t forget that it’s more important to stick with them to have an even bigger impact. In the end it’s about evolving as quickly as you can at a pace you feel comfortable enough to keep going. And maybe you’ll find yourself eating a completely plant-based diet sooner than you think! Whatever you do from here: the environment, the animals and your health will thank you for it. 

Happy Days! 

Manja 

P.S. The title picture is me eating some amazing tacos al pastor (soy BBQ) on mexican independence day!

P.P.S. If you’re already a full or part-time vegan: What are your best tips for starting a more plant-based diet? Please share with the community so we can help each other out! 

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