In our latest VegAnswers video, vegan speaker and cookbook author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau addresses the question, “Is it hard to be vegan?” At the heart of her response is the concept that being vegan isn’t hard, but becoming vegan can be.
“Is Being Vegan Hard” Video Transcription
I want to make this distinction—being vegan isn’t hard. But becoming vegan can be, because it’s change, and change is just hard for people. We’re fierce creatures of habit, and some of us choose not to even contemplate change because we don’t know what it’s going to look like on the other side. And we’re afraid of that—afraid of the unknown. We know it’s going to be different, and we equate “different” with deprivation or loss. And so we resist change. Heck, we even resist looking at the things we know will compel us to change. That’s why so many of us avoid looking at or hearing about what happens to the animals we kill for consumption. We resist on a conscious level and on an unconscious level.
And I would argue that it actually takes more effort to go against your beliefs. I would argue that it takes more willpower to set your life up so that you avoid looking at what you know is true but would compel you to change. It’s harder to make excuses and justifications for continuing to do what you know is against your own values.
Being vegan doesn’t require this effort. Once you know, once you have the shift, once you wake up, it’s so liberating to allow all of that effort of pretending not to know fall away. Being vegan doesn’t take willpower. Once you give in to your true values, it’s effortless. It doesn’t take willpower, but it does take a willingness to be open, to try new things, and to choose compassion over convenience. The transition process takes learning some new things and creating some new habits—and that’s where I come in, that’s why I do the work I do, but once you do, those habits become second nature, and the rest—living according to your own compassion and kindness is pretty effortless. It’s intuitive. That’s the easy part.