I went vegan over a year ago and I can definitely mark concrete stages that I went through as a new vegan. I am the happiest veggie-lover you will ever meet but if you are considering going vegan, are vegan, or are just curious, this is some helpful information! Like the 5 stages of grief, not everyone may experience every one of these, the order can be different, and you may float back and forth between them. 

1. The Exploration Stage

This is such an exciting stage! I remember being so excited to try all of the new items available to vegans. Vegan ice cream and other desserts, veggie burgers, "veganizing" fast food items (spoiler alert: Taco Bell is the way to go) and trying other vegan cooking hacks. There is a world of possibilities and I spent the first couple months as a new vegan trying every vegan food out there.

2. The Changes Stage

This is the stage where you may start to notice changes. I noticed that I lost some weight (after my diet evened out once I had tried all the new fun desserts and fast foods), my skin was better, my brain fog lifted, and (sorry TMI) my digestive system had never worked so perfectly.

3. The Doubtful Stage

Maybe you got invited to a party that didn't have any vegan options and you were too uncomfortable to ask for any, or you start to miss some food or clothing items. You start to think about stretching the limits. Then you watch another documentary or read an article and you are quickly centered again.

4. The Education Stage

When you first went vegan, you resolved to not be an "annoying vegan" but the more you learn, the harder it is to keep your opinions to yourself. Especially when it comes to your family and friends. You love them so much and want the best for them so it is hard to see them participating in a harmful lifestyle. I've come to realize that leading by example is always the way to go.

5. The Comfort Stage

This is when you finally find peace. You are comfortable in the lifestyle, you have found your equilibrium, and you have no doubts that you made the right decision for yourself, the animals, and the planet!

I have had many ups (and a few downs) in my vegan experience and have finally reached a place where I am comfortable and confident. When you feel like the only one with your values it can seem very lonely and discouraging but know that there is a community of vegans out there going through the same exact things as you.