Finding Meaning and Fulfilment with a
Change to a Vegan Lifestyle
Years ago I started feeling this strong dissonance between my lifestyle and core values. I had always felt a lot of compassion and love towards animals, yet my daily choices in eating and how I made my living were in direct conflict with those feelings of love and compassion.
As I couldn’t fully grasp that disharmony at the time, I started creating all sorts of rules and directives for myself to feel better. Such as Meatless Mondays, not driving a car to work for a few days in the week, buying free-range eggs. Those small tweaks were my way of trying to manage that underlying anxiety.
But it didn’t work. At all.
First of all, I noticed I started to fail against my own set rules pretty quickly. Somehow, subconsciously, I guess I knew it would not change anything for the better anyway, and I could not be proud of myself as a result.
Change happens when refusing it becomes unbearable
Somebody once told me that change only happens when refusing change becomes too unbearable. Through different documentaries (such as Cowspiracy, Food, Inc.) and information that helped expose the cruelties we bring on to smart, beautiful animals, I realized Meatless Mondays were not enough for me. It was then I decided to make a full switch to a vegan lifestyle.
The growth and change I experienced from the get-go were astounding. For the first time ever, I was proud of myself. That background hum of stress and anxiety was gone. Immediately. Instead, I was feeling in love with the world again and my faith in humanity along with myself was restored.
In addition, I found out that becoming vegan was way easier than I ever would have thought. Thanks to the amazing vegan companies and the support of vegan communities across the world, I learned my way pretty quickly in this world of new products, new flavors, new values, and new ways of seeing things.
At first, my lifestyle was mostly focused on food. But, a few years down the line I started to also second guess how I make my living. I was working in an advertising agency with companies that didn’t always align with my morals. There wasn’t necessarily anything wrong with them but I knew I did not want to be part of it anymore.
I started my own business manufacturing locally produced vegan shoes and boots from recycled and upcycled materials. In addition, I started a website promoting similar brands that manufacture vegan boots. Shoes aren’t often vegan not only because of leather and wool but also because of the glue that is used. Glue made from pig bones is sadly still a thing.
These days, I wear vegan clothing, use vegan cosmetics and also pay attention to the nitty-gritty details in other areas like detergents. There just simply isn’t a need to use products that are not vegan. We are blessed with an abundance of choices around us these days. For example, there are over 100 companies manufacturing vegan shoes, cosmetics, and plant-based milk.
Now that my lifestyle is fully aligned with my values, I can say that it was totally worth it. The personal development and happiness I have experienced have been mind-blowing. I feel more connected to myself, my surroundings, and all sentient beings in it. I am a proud and fulfilled person I thought I would never become.
About Liis Hainla
Vegan business owner, animal lover, marketing professional. Working years in advertising I finally launched my own vegan business. Outside of work, I have a dog who consumes my free time.