Candace Lowry Gave Veganism a Second Chance – Should You?

YouTuber Candace Lowry got quite a bit of backlash for the first video she did on veganism, “I Tried Going Vegan For a Week.” But what I think really separates her from a lot of other half-hearted “I tried being vegan” vloggers (and there are a lot!), is that she gave veganism – and more importantly, the vegan lifestyle – a second chance.

Candace Lowry Tried Again – And Did it Right

In her second video, “Vegans Choose My Meals,”┬áCandace Lowry vlogs the results of asking her viewers for vegan meal suggestions. At first it sounds a bit click-baity – as if the results will be dreadful. But, as she explains in the video, it actually went really well! By asking her audience for their suggestions, she ensured she’d be getting advice from people who actually lived the lifestyle successfully, and would be better equipped at helping her reach her goals.

There were three main takeaways I found in Candace’s video that I think can be helpful to almost everyone:

Try Again

First, if at first you don’t succeed with the vegan lifestyle, try again! Especially if it’s important to you and care about animals and want to try living a more compassionate lifestyle. People often fail at veganism the first time around, usually because they are approaching it more as a diet than a lifestyle, but we’ll get to that in a second.

I tried veganism a couple of times, and I’m so glad I did! The first time (in University) I was pretty much plant based except around relatives. I had read a few articles from PETA online, but I’d never talked to a vegan. And most of the stuff I did read didn’t even encourage veganism (in those days, the push was more to go vegetarian), and I felt confused because I found eggs and dairy ethically dubious, and yet it seemed I needed to eat them for B12. I wasn’t sure what to do. I gave up around the time I tried to donate blood and found out I had low iron.

Looking back, I realize I wasn’t eating properly and had no idea what I was doing. At the time, I just thought it was impossible to be a healthy vegan, because after all, I’d never met one! Thankfully, there is so much more information available about veganism today. And having an abundance of plant-based physicians who can explain how the nutritional aspects work is definitely helpful.

Ask for Help!

Second, ask for help! One of the reasons Candace was more successful the second time is that she asked people who were more experienced. Interestingly, the first time, she didn’t feel much need to ask for advice, because she thought she knew it all (from working at Buzzfeed, as if that were a major vegan lifestyle credential. Eek). When we think we know more than we actually do, it can shut us off from getting information we desperately need.

Fortunately, Candace was able to admit she didn’t actually know much about how to be healthy while eating vegan. Which freed her up to get all sorts of awesome suggestions from people who did! None of us should ever be afraid to learn, even though we often are. Sometimes the best thing to do is just focus on knowing what we don’t know – and then working to fill in those gaps.

Approach veganism as a lifestyle – regardless of why it interests you

Finally, the second time around, Candace Lowry approached veganism more as a lifestyle than as a diet. Even if you are only going vegan because you think it’s a good way to lose weight, you will be a lot more successful if you approach it more as a lifestyle.

I’ve noticed that most of the healthy habits I’ve been able to stick to in my life (okay, who are we kidding – all of them) are part of my lifestyle. For example, I run because I love it, and it gives me a chance to hang out with people I enjoy. I don’t do very well with any exercise or diet change that is done simply because one “ought” to do it.

In his book and Ted Talk, author Simon Sinek encourages people to “Start With Why” when seeking to inspire trust and change within individuals and organizations. It’s absolutely crucial to have a motivating reason to make changes if we are to have any hope of sustaining them.

Almost invariably, when you meet people who have been vegan for the animals they have a very strong “why.” But it’s also true of people who go plant-based for health reasons. For example, I attended an event last year organized by a woman who has been whole foods plant-based for a decade. If you ask her why, she absolutely lights up, and tells you how she stopped eating animal products to save her life when she was diagnosed with a terminal illness. That’s a pretty powerful “why”, and it helps explain why she and her husband are both so committed to the Whole Foods Plant Based lifestyle.

Altogether, I found Candace’s willingness to give veganism a second chance very encouraging. And while I’m not sure if she will go vegan right now, her openness to exploring the idea more seriously is a step forward. I also saw it as a clear validation that working on your lifestyle is usually far more effective than approaching veganism as a “diet.”

What do you think? Join the conversation!

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