The 5 Stages of Becoming a Vegan

After being a vegetarian and vegan for over 5 years I’ve witnessed several people go through certain stages before becoming a vegan. After careful research and observation (hehe) I’ve managed to single-handedly narrow down the 5 stages of going vegan. 

1. Denial.

denial 5 stages of going vegan

Denial comes into play when you first speak with a vegan and for the first time hear the claim that eating meat is morally wrong. You’ll begin to feel uneasy and immediately deny the claim. You’ll have a small argument with the vegan and you’ll find that their education on the matter heavily outweighs yours which will lead you to the next stage of going vegan.

2. Anger.

anger 5 stages of going vegan

You begin to feel threatened by the vegan’s claims and immediately lash out at him/her by saying things like “Are you saying I’m a bad person for eating meat?!” To which the vegan will skillfully reply that a bad action doesn’t make you a bad person, but avoiding that bad action would make you a better person. After a few more arguments you’ll come to see the error in your ways which will lead you to the next stage of going vegan.

3. Bargaining.
bargaining 5 stages of going vegan

In this stage of going vegan you’ll begin to say things like “Okay, being a vegan is the right thing to do, but I just can’t do it!” or “I’ll just stop eating meat on Mondays and everything will be alright.” Unfortunately, even after bargaining, you’ll still hear your conscience telling you to take it a step further in order to do the right thing. This will lead you to the next stage of going vegan.

4. Depression.

depression 5 stages of going vegan

In this stage of going vegan you’ll be sad about two things:
1. The thought that going vegan may be difficult at first because our society is predominantly omnivorous
and
2. Thinking about how you went your entire life not giving the food on your plate a second thought.

You’ll also find yourself wishing you can go back in time to the days you were ignorant of all of the destruction that meat production has on the environment, our economy, our health, and our morals. However, if you’ve made it this far you have earned your right to the final stage of going vegan!

5. Acceptance.

acceptance and happy 5 stages of going vegan

You’ve finally decided to go vegan and you feel GREAT! You feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders and you feel absolutely amazing about being on the right side of history. In fact, you feel so great that you feel the need to do celebratory dances. So, go ahead and do a little dance, you deserve it!

If you still aren’t a vegan, but would like to learn more about the vegan lifestyle, feel free to browse around the Veganism category!
Have any objections or comments? Let me know in the comments section below!

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  1. justaboutvegan
    Aug 03, 2014 - 11:20 AM

    Great post! Being that I work as a counselor in my offline life, I really appreciate your clever twist on the grieving model. I think it’s really important for would-be vegans to hear that we all didn’t just flip a switch over night, but that giving up animal products is a journey that everyone takes at their own pace. I know some vegans may not agree with me, but, in my book, the Bargaining stage is the most important one. Once folks get there, they are ready to make some change and to begin reflecting on their animal product consumption, even if it’s just a matter of being vegan before 6 (à la Mark Bittman) or on Mondays or giving up all but a handful of favorite animal products. If it eventually leads them to complete veganism, awesome. If not, though, it’s still a huge step in the right direction and will still have a major impact.

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    • Manny Rutinel
      Aug 03, 2014 - 11:33 AM

      What you have said is very true! It seems that there is some elitism in the vegan community that seems to isolate many people. I personally became vegan after being a lacto-ovo vegetarian for almost 3 years. I’m not sure how successful my journey to veganism would have been had I done it from the beginning (although I do believe my willpower would have allowed it). We must definitely push for veganism as the main goal, but if it means occasionally dipping your feet in the pool of vegetarianism, then I will support your journey. One thing’s for sure, we must all do our part on this issue.

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      • Kate Rauner
        Dec 06, 2014 - 05:21 PM

        I understand the “isolation” you mention. I worked with a guy whose wife is vegan. She never attended a company event – pic-nic, party, anything. Not even an invitation from a non-vegan to their home. He says, she can’t eat anything (doesn’t trust any of us to prepare a vegan dish) and can’t talk to anyone (since we main-stream people have such different ideas). It seems sad. And – BTW – if I say I looked up vegan recipes and made the dish properly, I DID.

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      • legacyofpythagoras
        Dec 07, 2014 - 03:52 PM

        Your arguments are entirely irrational.

        “I’m not sure how successful my journey to veganism would have been had I done it from the beginning (although I do believe my willpower would have allowed it). We must definitely push for veganism as the main goal, but if it means occasionally dipping your feet in the pool of vegetarianism, then I will support your journey”

        Vegetarianism is not morally distinguishable from eating anything and everything. Your argument assumes that there is no way to cause people to bypass all the stages you mention and go straight to understanding Veganism directly and immediately. You’ve created a false-dichotomy.

        If you want to eliminate all the garbage and nonsense and stop using immoral arguments (vegetarianism) to get people to grudgingly give in to what you think is a coherent moral stance, and instead get them to feel joyful about immediately eliminating their speciesism, just do this instead:

        http://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/the-way-to-create-new-vegans

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        • Manny Rutinel
          Dec 07, 2014 - 06:24 PM

          Thanks for your input legacyofpythagoras.
          Ironically, it appears as though you yourself have created a false dichotomy of morality. You claim that “vegetarianism is not morally distinguishable from eating anything and everything”, but this is obviously not the case. The amount of moral wrong that is done can easily be attributable to the amount of harm which you are responsible for. That being said, one who purchases 1000$ worth of animal products is surely more morally reprehensible than the individual that purchases 1 single truly cage-free egg. To deny this would be to deny the most blatantly obvious moral fact imaginable.

          Therefore, under the assumption that a vegetarian contributes less to the propagation of the horrible and exploitative meat industry by purchasing less animal products, it is obviously morally distinguishable from the average American diet.

          Also, it is important for us vegans to understand the concepts of the “foot in the door” effect. As well as how many vegans end up leaving veganism because they go into it too quickly as can be seen by this study http://www.techtimes.com/articles/21671/20141207/84-percent-of-vegeterians-become-meat-eaters-again-study.htm

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  2. Style Novice
    Aug 18, 2014 - 12:30 AM

    Hey there, Manny. Your post is fun. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I didn’t really go through these stages and I’m a bit of an anomaly in that I’m not sure I agree completely. I went vegan cold turkey almost 2 years ago without much of a build up or shift over time. Nonetheless, I have experienced (from the vegan side) many of the things listed here. Contrary to what most people initially think, I haven’t had any trouble being vegan dietarily BUT trying to access and reveal elements of men’s style, especially in the larger ‘style community’ has been much more trying. Either way, nice post, nice blog, hopefully we’ll see more of you and your cleverness at Style Novice too!

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    • Manny Rutinel
      Aug 18, 2014 - 02:41 PM

      Haha yeah not everyone goes through theses stages, but I’m sure most do. I went vegetarian cold turkey, but had no idea about the moral implications of continuing to purchase dairy and eggs until I saw a video … and then I immediately went vegan. Thanks so much for stopping by, I’m sure we’ll be “seeing” more of each other.

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  3. Sue
    Aug 01, 2014 - 08:22 PM

    Hi there Manny, your site is really compelling, well organized and easy to navigate. I’m not vegan but I have been in the past as a young adult. I am always open to learning more and so despite my love for burgers I will be reading through your site here!

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  4. Megan @ My Very Veggie Blog
    Aug 04, 2014 - 02:15 PM

    Ha, cute!

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  5. Kelsey Voltaire
    Aug 04, 2014 - 06:12 PM

    This is a goos post! Your articles are really well written and very thoughtful! Keep the good work going!
    Kelsey xxx

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  6. latijerablvd08
    Aug 05, 2014 - 01:50 PM

    Manny,

    I thought this was the coolest blogs that I have ever read! And thank you for viewing and liking mine. Also, can you critique my writing? It’s my first time blogging after 6 years and I would love feedback for improvement. Thanks!

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  7. dapperdolly
    Aug 14, 2014 - 12:43 PM

    Superb!

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  8. clumpaday
    Aug 15, 2014 - 10:14 AM

    I’ve been know to say “I’ll be a vegetarian in my next life,” but if it means being able to dance like Stephen Colbert, I might have to start going through those steps here and now. Great post!

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  9. alwayssavannah
    Aug 18, 2014 - 12:43 PM

    Funny and probably a bunch of truth in that! Great post!

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  10. Rosey Harrt
    Aug 21, 2014 - 04:28 AM

    Love this x thanks for clearing this up

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  11. maggiemcshane
    Aug 21, 2014 - 05:14 PM

    clever post. Thanks for bringing me to your post with your liking my post on fanatichearts.com.I appreciate it.

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  12. Claire
    Aug 27, 2014 - 01:05 PM

    I’ve been trying to incorporate quite a few more vegetarian/vegan dishes into my weekly diet (for reasons of diet/sustainability/cash) and I’ve been pretty okay with it… I guess that puts me somewhere between three and four….

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  13. mistoffalees
    Aug 31, 2014 - 08:30 PM

    Thanks for the follow! Enjoying your articles right now as I type. Concise, humorous, and insightful. Looking forward to more to come! 🙂

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  14. cbt0
    Sep 02, 2014 - 12:46 PM

    Great post! Thanks for the follow!

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  15. Bianca Evangelista
    Sep 04, 2014 - 12:44 AM

    Very entertaining post!

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  16. Tiffany
    Oct 05, 2014 - 04:43 PM

    Yep. That all makes total sense! 🙂

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  17. Inge
    Oct 19, 2014 - 10:35 PM

    I guess I’m in the bargaining stage then 🙂 Great post!

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  18. dazedfordayz
    Oct 23, 2014 - 11:19 AM

    This completely describes my journey into veganism. 🙂

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  19. celticpride1990
    Dec 03, 2014 - 01:29 PM

    This is a great post! I’ve tried becoming a vegan a couple of times but I get sick every time I try. So I just try to the most humane meat that I can. I also do a lot of research on nutrition. On a different note. I saw that you started following me (Thank you!!) but I can’t find how to follow you back 🙂 I’m new to this so I’m sorry if it’s obvious.

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  20. sparkasaur
    Dec 03, 2014 - 02:45 PM

    Just started reading your blog!! Lots of great thoughts. Keep it up!

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  21. Lety C
    Dec 07, 2014 - 06:39 PM

    Very interesting blog, well rounded. Keep it up! I’m sure 1’ll visit again!

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  22. Lori Quinn
    Dec 13, 2014 - 11:47 AM

    Love this- super funny! YOu should write a satirical post about how vegans feel always defending themselves like outcasts! Or people hiding their “junk” in their pantry before you come over. Ha. Or questions like “what am I supposed to feed you anyway?” As if the only 2 foods in the world apparently are meat and dairy.

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  23. Kristi Smith
    Dec 15, 2014 - 03:03 PM

    This made me laugh! Thanks for a fun post – one that doesn’t seem to take itself to seriously :0)

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  24. wunderbloke
    Dec 28, 2014 - 01:35 AM

    i have been on and off. But i know that someday i will be fully veg-on!

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  25. mancunianmatters
    Jan 04, 2015 - 03:43 PM

    Being Vegan myself I completely agree with you there, i remember with the bargining i used to only be Vegan on tuesdays, then it grew to just weekdays then as i adjusted i became vegan all the time aha! Great blog post!

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  26. brandimayday
    Jan 15, 2015 - 05:43 PM

    I love it! Definitely made me laugh

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    • Manny Rutinel
      Jan 15, 2015 - 10:20 PM

      I LOVE HEARING THAT! Thanks, brandimayday 😀

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  27. mrsd23
    Jan 18, 2015 - 01:01 PM

    I decided to check out your blog because you followed me and I was slightly amused that the first post I read was this because it’s honestly something I’ve considered. Or vegetarianism at least. I’ve been vegetarian before but ended up going back to eating meat. I’m a partially recovered anorexic & at the time I started eating meat again it was for iron and eatings sake as I was trying to heal because my iron levels were dangerously low [when your doctor says ‘if your iron levels get any lower you could end up in a coma, you know you need to get some in your system.] Obviously there are plenty of vegetables you can get iron from but at that point being so ill it was literally a case of just eat anything at all for me. Lately though I’ve had to become what I call an ‘unintentional vegetarian’ because meat has been making me feel so sick. The look, the smell, the taste just makes me violently nauseous. No idea why, very odd. I’m meant to try and cut dairy out of my diet anyway because it affects my eczema but it’s just such a difficult process because, I confess, I love cheese. I’m terrible, cheese is my vice and the vegan cheese has always tasted horrible to me. I don’t really eat eggs too often although when I was younger we kept our own chickens and I didn’t really feel too bad eating eggs because we treated them like we would our cat and dog [one of them became my movie buddy cause she used to love getting comfy in my lap, although on occasion she was known to get a little too comfy and lay her eggs on me which was weird.] I knew they were’t being abused, we loved them dearly and on some occasions they’d been known to want to nest and have chicks so when she was protective of her eggs, we left her to it and let her hatch rather than eat them. I didn’t mind eggs so much in that regard to be honest but I do often find myself wondering where my eggs lately come from. I try to look for free range whenever I can but it can be difficult I think, to know whether they are genuinely free range.
    I’m considering it. But I’m not sure yet. On the very least I’d take up vegetarianism again.
    Great post though!

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  28. lafemmevegan
    Jan 26, 2015 - 12:44 PM

    Can’t wait!!

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  29. Latebloomera
    Mar 05, 2015 - 08:24 AM

    Dear Manny,
    Firstly let me say wow! your website has blown me away. The force of information, the way it’s organized, it’s professionalism, everything…how long did it take you to actually come to this level? Just out of curiosity. And I love the way you’ve inserted these videos in between this post. How have you managed to do that? I’m a very amateur blogger and that you actually liked one of my posts is amazing. Thank you.

    Vegan – I’ve thought about it, but don’t think I have what it takes to go all the way. I’m a convenient-vegetarian – I eat chicken rarely, and stick to fish. But going without milk and milk products or other animal based products is not a thought I can wrap my head around.

    Hey, but you’re an inspiration. Thank you for stopping by. Appreciate it.

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  30. Sandrine
    Dec 15, 2016 - 10:18 AM

    Hi there,
    Thanks for following my new blog, I’m glad it brought me here.
    I actually had tears in my eyes when I read number 5! I have been a vegetarian for 30 years and took that one step further and became a vegan 4 weeks ago, and it was literally that: a weight being lifted off my shoulders, and I feel so good!
    So, yeah, long process for me, but I think you have to be ready otherwise it won’t work.
    Keep writing!
    Sandrine

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    • Manny Rutinel
      Dec 15, 2016 - 12:37 PM

      You have a great blog, Sandrine! I’m glad you liked this post and I LOVE the fact that you’re vegan! Keep being awesome 😀

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