9 Simple Ways You Can Resist Temptations As A Vegan!
As a vegan you've sworn to not use any animal products and this was one major decision that you have taken and should be proud of. It is easy to however refrain from using other products but when it comes to food, it is slightly difficult. Here are amazing resistance tips from a vegan herself telling you how you can make this in your flavour!
A billboard flashing the image of the new paneer-tikka burger your favorite fast-food joint has just introduced. A classmate constantly munching on cream and onion flavored potato chips in front of you. Your mom serving sizzling hot ghee-laden parantha to your brother for breakfast. We are surrounded by temptations.
As vegans we have consciously taken the decision not to consume any animal products which include anything dairy or whatever else comes from animals like meat, eggs etc. We wish to stay away from contributing to the cruel industries that exploit animals in any way. It’s way easier to avoid going to the circus/zoo, and isn’t too tough refraining from buying silk or leather.
However when it comes to food, it’s a different picture altogether. While there are many vegans who’ve never felt any temptation, I am definitely not one of them! Here are a few tips that worked great for me while I was struggling with temptations especially when it comes to food!
1. Acknowledge your temptation
It is very natural to feel an urge to do something, almost everyone feels it. Recognizing your temptation and becoming more aware of your thoughts makes it easier to control those actions. For example, you could say to yourself - “I am craving a slice of cheesy pizza because I love the taste of cheese. But cheese is made of milk which comes from tortured cows whose babies are killed so that we can steal their milk. So I will not eat cheese even though it is tasty.” Might sound a bit harsh but it does help!
2. Remind yourself why you turned vegan!
Taking the decision to abstain from animal products in a society where consuming meat, eggs, and dairy is the norm, takes immense courage. You went against the accepted norms to stand up for the voiceless animals or due to the environmental impact it may cause. What prompted you to do it? The same will help you beat this desire every time it arises. You could have very well turned vegan because of dietary restrictions, even then you must remember that this one-time urge may lead to major damage and stop!
3. Find alternatives
While removing animal-based foods from your diet, try to replace them with vegan alternatives for easy transition. Missing the texture of meat? Include more chewy items like soya nuggets, seitan, tofu, and dal wadi in your meals. Jackfruit and mushroom also offer a meaty bite. Love omelette? Make one with besan, onion, and chia seeds. Used to having chocolate after dinner? Bite into an Oreo or Hide & Seek. Most commercial chocolate syrups are also vegan. If you are simply craving something sweet, have a piece of jaggery, ghachak or a fruit. Addicted to tea/coffee? Get your caffeine fix from black tea/coffee or switch to almond milk or peanut milk for milk coffee! Can’t live without cheese? There are numerous delicious vegan cheeses you can make yourself from cashews. check out our recipe section and make your favorite cheesy macaroni.
4. Have gory pictures/videos of animal cruelty handy!
Many of us turned vegan after watching Earthlings or similar videos. Some of the memes circulating on Facebook are also pretty powerful. Return to them whenever you find your resolve wavering. During my initial days as a vegan, I kept this image on my desktop. Every night, I looked at the picture and reminded myself why I should never give in to temptation and consume animal products again. It’s a little extreme but it works well as a reminder.
5. Connect with like-minded folks!
Being a vegan can get very lonely at times. That is why it is important to connect with like-minded folks, discuss the issues you are facing in your journey as a new vegan, share tips and advice. Almost everyone misses certain food items during their initial days. Open discussions about the foods that tempt you will help you realize that you are not alone in dealing with such feelings. A strong support system definitely motivates you to stay committed to the cause. The Facebook group Vegans in India is a good place to interact with fellow vegans and find some much-needed moral support even if you don’t know any other vegans in real life.
6. Interact more with animals
My own journey to veganism started when I began volunteering at an animal shelter. Meeting animals of different species, spending time with them, getting to know them as individuals, and bonding with them makes us more sensitive towards their plight. Visit animal shelters and spend time with the rescued farm animals. Hug a baby calf and kiss his forehead, feed a goat from your hands, watch hens play with each other, scratch a donkey behind the ears. Are there elderly abandoned cows foraging for food in the garbage dump near your house? Feed them some fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits. Get emotionally involved with the animals exploited for food.
7. Get involved in activism
If you live in a big city with a dynamic network of vegan activists, join them! In case you live in a smaller city where no such networks are already in existence, maybe you can team up with a few like-minded people and start spreading awareness? If for any reason you can’t be involved in real life activism, at least get active on online vegan forums and share your knowledge with other new vegans or aspirants. Speaking out on behalf of the voiceless animals greatly enhances your moral convictions, boosts your confidence, and kills off your desires.
8. Eat well and keep vegan snacks handy!
Eat healthy, balanced meals at regular intervals. It is difficult to resist temptation when you are hungry. Try not to skip meals, and eat lots of protein rich, high-fiber foods to keep you filled. Carry whole fruits like apple, guava, pear, and banana for healthy snacking on-the- go. Biscuits like Oreo, Hide & Seek, Monaco, and many varieties of namkeen & potato chips are also vegan. Surround yourself with lots of vegan stuffs so that you have something to munch on when temptation strikes.
9. Learn from your mistakes.
As a new vegan I did try my best to avoid animal products, but ended up eating stuff with honey a few times. I was so focused on avoiding dairy (I was already a vegetarian) that it completely slipped my mind that honey too is an animal product! Sometimes you might even eat an animal product wilfully.
Mistakes happen—try your best not to repeat them. Learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and move on with renewed commitment to your principles.
While it definitely takes a lot of willpower to resist temptation in the beginning, it gets easier with time. In fact, within weeks you might actually develop an aversion to the smell of all kinds of animal products. Soon you will be exploring new vegan dishes you had never tasted before, discovering ingredients you did not know existed, opening up to novel culinary experiences.
Hang in there, and by the time you complete six months as a vegan, you would realize what I am talking about!
Note: Veganism is not a dietary choice; it is an ethical stance that runs much deeper than just avoiding animal products in food. For the sake of convenience, this post deals only with resisting food-related temptations.