Community & Social Media
Community and Social Media
So many vegans, veterans and newbies alike, say that one of the hardest parts about making the transition to veganism, is not giving up animal products. Instead, it’s dealing with family and friends that don’t understand your new lifestyle and some that try to talk you out of it.
In my own experience, the teasing came first, with friends and family, which was harmless enough, but the real shock was the perfect strangers, friends of friends at a barbeque or people in the work place becoming almost offended at your diet and lifestyle. It sometimes seemed as though I had gone into their homes and forcefully removed all the animal products from their own kitchens. It gets frustrating, then exhausting, and finally hurtful, to have to defend your new lifestyle constantly. It’s especially hard when you’re first starting out, because you’re still learning yourself. I make mistakes ALL the time. Recently I posted a picture of a burger to my Instagram account, from a small bar that I love (they play country music on Sundays, yes, I love country music). I made the burger vegan by asking for no mayo, and using tomato sauce instead. I enquired about the patty to make sure there was no egg or dairy used to make it, and then viola! It was vegan. But someone later commented on the picture and asked about the bun. The bun? I didn’t even think of that! She mentioned she was having trouble finding a vegan brioche bun, and I honestly have no idea if it was vegan. Oops! But that’s ok, I’m still learning, and now I know to ask about the bun!
This brings me to my main point. Support. We all need it. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, male, female, young or old, people in general need support. You need to feel a sense of community and belonging. One of the first things I did when I went vegan, was reach out to one of the only vegan friends I know and let him know I had made the change. He was so excited for me, which was a nice change from other friends and family who seemed shocked and upset! My vegan friend then added me to a group on Facebook, the Sydney Vegan Club. This group has been amazing in helping me stay on track, answer questions and generally feel like what I’m doing is right and worthwhile. SVC has loads of events and meet ups for vegans to meet and socialize with each other – from cookouts, to degustations, to viewings of documentaries! Members post vegan meals they’ve made, restaurants they’ve been too, and helpful tips on where to find the best vegan products. They’re plethora of knowledge is both helpful and re-assuring. And when things get hard, or you feel disheartened, they’re always there with encouraging words and similar situations of their own.
Besides Facebook, I highly recommend getting on Instagram. Start following as many vegan accounts as you can. Depending on what you’re into, you can follow vegan food bloggers, vegan fashion designers and vegan activists. Follow farm sanctuaries and vegan restaurants. Let that community know that you support them, comment like and re-gram. And likewise you’ll see lots of comments of support on your vegan posts too. One of the coolest things about Instagram is seeing how many vegans there are far and wide from Brussels to New York, and LA to Sydney there are beautiful vegan accounts all over the world. Some of my favourite accounts are Fully Raw Kristina, Healthy Eating Jo, Channy Apple, Love Light and Bananas, Mantras and Mangoes and Project Sunny – just to name a few! I also follow Mat and Nat, Crazies and Weirdos and Hipsters for Sisters for Vegan apparel. Search different hashtags and find new accounts too! I love when new accounts pop up with different recipes I’ve never thought of, or funny memes on veganism.
A lot of these accounts also have other social media accounts that you can follow, learn from and gain support from as well. Check out some of your favourite Instagrammers on Youtube or Snapchat. Follow them on their travels, join them in their kitchens and see first hand how easy and rewarding this lifestyle can be.
In the end, know that you are not alone, and that you don’t have to feel isolated in your choice to help the planet, help your health and of course help the animals. There’s a big global community out there ready to embrace and support you through your transition.
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