When did you go vegan and what made you go vegan?
I had started feeling bad about consuming animal products for quite a while before going vegan. I have always been very compassionate and love animals with all my heart, always protecting them and caring for them. However, it took many years for me to realize that I was actually consuming them. In May 2015 I stumbled over a vegan month challenge through one of the Swedish animal rights organizations. I decided overnight to try it, and I have never looked back since.
So from that moment onwards, what was your transition strategy?
My strategy was to give it a month and see how it worked out for me. I was sure I would not be able to give up on certain foods, like cheese, but I really wanted to give it a serious try. Turns out I didn´t miss a thing, at least not enough to give up.
How long was your transition period?
I think my mental process started about two years before making the transition. It started with me not wanting to eat certain meats, only buying locally produced meat from small-scale farmers, and cutting down on meat in general. However, I never thought that going vegan was even an option, it seemed way too extreme. After my overnight decision, the transition was immediate.
Now that you look back on that period, what would you have done differently?
Now that you look back on that period, what would you have done differently? Absolutely nothing! Going for it a hundred percent right from the start worked very well for me. The only thing I regret was not doing it sooner.
What was the biggest challenge when you just went vegan?
The social contexts, where I had to be very decisive and stand my ground. Not falling for the idea that I was being difficult at restaurants or when going for dinner at a friend´s place. It took strength and commitment.
How do you deal with these particular challenges now?
I am proud of being vegan. If someone would ever be offended by my choice, it can never overweigh the unethical aspect of animal farming. I´ve made it my life´s purpose to speak up for the voiceless and to represent change. Hence now I rather enjoy being the one asking for the vegan option on the menu.
A lot of people think that a vegan lifestyle is restricting them. As an experienced vegan, how do you feel about this?
can totally understand why one might think that – I did too! In a way, yes, it is limiting. There are two reasons, why I´ve come to realize that this is not a problem. One: it´s rather liberating to limit ones options. We live in a world where we have so many options and have to make decisions about everything – it´s overwhelming! Two: I don´t look at animal products as food, anymore. It´s an option that I have turned away from by choice. Also, let´s not forget that almost everything is available in a veganized version, so far there is nothing I´m missing.
What is for you the best part of being vegan?
That I am living completely true to my values. Even though society has taught me differently, I have made my own choice about how to live my life, free from animal abuse. It´s the most amazing feeling! I have also met so many new friends thanks to the global vegan community, it´s a very beautiful thing.
So, how did the vegan lifestyle improve your life?
I am much more aware now. I reflect more consciously about my impact and the choices that I make. I feel healthy and am almost never sick anymore. I´m keeping my weight without even trying. I can connect with nature and animals in a deeper way than before. Going vegan has truly made my life richer.
To close the interview with.. Do you have tips for transitioning vegans?
The most important thing for me was the community. Make sure you become a member of for example vegan groups on Facebook and try to have an open and curious mind towards the vegan lifestyle. Every time you struggle, remind yourself why you´re doing it in the first place. Therefore, your why is very important, so make sure to be clear about that when you start. And remember, being vegan is not about being perfect, but about doing your best and making the most compassionate choice in any given situation. Every little step counts!
Clara is a Swedish vegan fashion and beauty blogger. She is passionate about influencing others to become more aware about their choices. She has been vegan for 3,5 years.