My main tip here is to be patient – old habits die hard. Especially if they are very pleasurable ones. Please see my HOW MoVegan page for more practical suggestions to help you. Here you will find a more psychological and philosophical discussion, followed by my TOP 3 Tips for maintaining your motivation for how to become a MeEGAN at the end.
For some people cutting out eating animal products is really easy once they make the psychological flip. I think this is mainly the case for emotional vegans who are probably vegans for mainly ethical reasons. This is because I think when they conceptualise eating meat they really imagine being a cannibal, or they get a strong empathic emotional reaction that makes the animal suffering involved very vivid.
However if you are more of a rational vegan your motivational basis is much less immediate and therefore compelling. For example, if you don’t eat meat for mainly environmental reasons then when considering whether to have a tasty meaty option or a poor vegan option at a restaurant (especially if they are about the same price), its going to be much easier just to say “oh go on then just this once”, than if you are feeling physically sick at the thought of eating a cute little lamb.
That is not to say that you can’t be both a rational and an emotional vegan in different proportions. Just that a predominantly emotional vegan, or in other words someone that is strongly empathic towards animal suffering, is always going to have a very strong immediate heart felt motivation for choosing the vegan option. Where as the more emotionless predominantly rational vegan is going to have to really rely on less strongly felt will power at this point – and will power can be more or less compelling at different times depending on a lot of different internal and external factors.
So here are my top 3 recommendations on how to become and MoVegan and maintain this indefinitely moving forward:
1) Watch some films that document how animals are treated in intensive farming conditions – remember these when you are considering whether to use edible animal products or go plant based – especially in tempting situations when you are eating out. Currently (2019) the best two for this are Earthlings (2005) and Dominion (2018) – both are tough to watch but absolutely essential unless you want to be complicit by willful ignorance – that is, turning a blind eye to massive suffering of sentient beings. If you can watch these and not feel moved then your empathy channels are not very strong, but for most people this will be a powerful motivator and is what helped me go from 85% Mostly Vegan (the lowest threshold) up to 90% MoVegan – still some work to do but progress is being made – but it wasn’t easy or pleasant, but worth it.
2) Feel like you are setting an example and the conduit of change – its easy to slip into the excuse that you are just one person and what difference will it make if I just have steak tonight. In one sense this is true, but in another its really yourself that you will be letting down and the people immediately around you that will see your will power dropping and your commitment waning – if they are vegans they will be disappointed, if they are not they will feel less motivated themselves. So while your micro-decisions day-to-day may not make a difference globally, they do make a difference locally to the people around you and to your health. And if everyone made the plant based decision then cumulatively if will make a big difference and lower the demand for animal derived products overall.
3) Evaluate your priorities – that is, do a quick assessment of whether eating that stake is really worth it to you, given your priorities in life? The steak will be about 10-15 minutes of pleasure, but its impact will be lasting on your health and the environment. How recently did you last eat meat? Is this really a one off or are you kidding yourself? Is this part of the MoVegan plan you set yourself after reading WHEN MoVegan or are you acting impulsively? How will you feel about yourself afterwards and be honest. Take pride in how few edible animal products you consume and feel bad when you relapse. Trust me, you will really feel a sense of pride when you stick to a plan and you will feel healthier the next day and more at peace with yourself, the world and every sentient being in it. Try it and you’ll see what I mean.