I am a patient man. My husband would say that I am too patient. It’s something I picked up from my mother, who preached the “This is Water” philosophy long before David Foster Wallace gave his now-famous speech.
I am also a pragmatist. This goes hand-in-hand with being patient. I don’t need a perfect life, I don’t need laws, technology, jobs, clients, partners, or pets to be exactly as I want them, when I want them. I am willing to accept incremental progress and evolution rather than lickety-split revolution — in fact, I think slow-and-steady-wins-the-race is a healthier approach. In short: I am willing to live with the ambiguities and messiness of the world. My boyfriend can vouch for that.
So it’s no surprise that my version of veganism is fairly casual, laid-back. Don’t get me wrong: when I was younger and merely a vegetarian, I was very confrontational. I went through That Phase. I was a complete and utter dick to carnivores. I can smile about it now, but at the time, it was terrible.
When I returned to the meat-free fold a few years ago, determined to go full-on vegan, I decided to approach it in a different way. So far, I think it’s worked: I feel better about myself, I think I’m inflicting less harm on the animals of the world, I didn’t have to change my life too dramatically to make the switch, and just as importantly, I don’t believe I’ve alienated any friends or family members in the process. (Though like many non-meat-eaters, I still have a dad who says things like, “I know you’re a vegetarian, but you still eat chicken, right?”)
Along the way, I’ve persuaded a few folks to join me. Most worried that being vegan would be too much of a “lifestyle” and upend their daily routines, but soon they realized that’s not the case — not at all. Here are some of the tips I offered them, starting with the ones that are easiest to implement.