I have this friend who has a salt & vinegar chip-variety personality. (The first chip is too much. Suddenly, you’ve finished the bag.) He’s extremely outgoing, boisterous, huggy, and at first some people find him to be too much. He always says about himself that when people tell him that they don’t like him, he finds it to be a good sign. Not liking him is the first step to liking him. As odd as this may sound, I think veganism can be like this. In some ways the first step to going vegan is to say, “I could never go vegan.” This is often followed with all of the typical reasons – many of them involving cheese. I’m sure if you asked all of the vegans out there if they ever said those words – I could never go vegan – most of them would say that they had. So what stands between I could never and I have to?
It’s many things, really. It’s finding compelling reasons first and foremost (whether for health, the environment, and/or the lives of the animals). It’s also being armed with tools that make the transition go from impossible to possible. Because let’s face it, going vegan in our culture (regardless of where you live in the world and whatever culture you live in) is going upstream. You may not have multiple vegan restaurants in your town or a natural food store on every block, and even if you do, those may not be places you frequent. Luckily, that’s not the make it or break it of veganism. Once a person feels compelled and convinced, that part falls away. They’re just details, and the reasons I can’t get replaced by the reasons I will.
A person who was in no small part my guide from vegetarianism to veganism was Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Through her podcast, Vegetarian Food for Thought, I learned not only the why’s around veganism but also the how’s. While a person could easily say that Colleen is a passionate voice for the animals, she also is a pragmatic one. And really, it was her pragmatism that won me over. After going on daily walks and listening to her podcast, I couldn’t not be vegan. I realized that being vegan was the most natural way to live my values. After that, I turned to her many food podcasts to figure out how to create a sustainable and health-promoting vegan diet. (A person can subsist on veggie dogs and PB&J, but how fulfilling is that?) By listening to her podcasts and following her cookbooks, I tackled kale, Swiss chard, and collard greens.
That’s why I was so delighted when Colleen told me about her 30 Day Vegan Challenge. It takes all of the knowledge that a person can find in the hours and hours of her podcast (which I still highly recommend, by the way), and puts them together with videos, recipes, and an arsenal of tools. With her daily emails and guidance, a person can follow along and discover everything from the basics of filling a vegan pantry to navigating social situations at the holidays and finally to being a fully compassionate, joyful vegan. From the first day of the challenge to the last, Colleen’s online program takes you through every step. (A couple of my recipes are even included in the program!)
I’ve had the pleasure of reading through all of the days, watching the videos, and listening to the audio files, and I only have one criticism. It should be packaged with a time machine, so that I could go back in time about 7 years and give it to myself when I was going vegetarian. With grocery lists, meal plans, video tours of her kitchen and grocery store, reenactments of how to ask for what you want in a restaurant… This is just the kind of all around, start to finish program that helps a person every step of the way, including dealing with interpersonal conflicts, which in my mind is the trickiest part of veganism (far more than picking cashew-based cheese over animal-based cheese).
While the program is specially priced right now at $20, Colleen has offered to give away a membership to one reader of Cadry’s Kitchen. Whether you’d like to take the 30 Day Vegan Challenge yourself or gift it to someone, just tell me why you’d like it in the comments section below.
This giveaway is international and only requires email/web access to take part. The giveaway ends at 12:01 am CST on October 24, 2012. The winner will be announced later that day. The giveaway has ended! The lucky winner is Lois! Congrats!!
Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. I was given a free membership to 30 Day Vegan Challenge to check it out for myself, and Colleen is my friend. The thoughts and opinions are totally my own.