Are you newly* vegan, or getting there?

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This is a "non-meetup" where you can join the New Vegans caucus. This is NOT an announcement of an actual event. By RSVPing to this, you'll add yourself to the subgroup of members who are brand-new or recent vegans!

My hope is that this RSVP list will help you know others who are in a similar place, having similar experiences with family/friends, etc.

Say hello to one another, be supportive!

You are not alone.

And I'd like to recommend the following:

1. "How To Survive the First Week of a Vegan Diet. (http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-survive-the-first-week-of-a-vegan-diet)" (A short blogpost for you.)

2. Want some advice for how to handle family & friends? Try these articles: "Social Situations" (http://livevegan.org/index.php/social-situations2) and "Communicating with Family and Friends." (http://veganoutreach.org/VO_Family_Friends_Comm.pdf) (After you read the Social Situations section, browse around the rest of LiveVegan.org (http://livevegan.org/) too. It's a great site. Tons of helpful info.) Also: this "Navigating Social Situations" video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Teq8YCFz4Vw) (8:27) from Bite Size Vegan is definitely worth watching.

3. Be aware that as a new vegan, you may go through different stages, characterized by different emotions. This podcast (https://soundcloud.com/colleen-patrick-goudreau/sets/from-consumption-to-compassion) by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau gives an overview of ten stages she has identified. (If you think you might be in Stage 5—overwhelmed by anger and/or sadness—this video by Bite-Size Vegan (https://youtu.be/nPklnskTIMg) may be helpful. Also, this free animal activist helpline (http://www.idausa.org/campaigns/council-sustainable-activism/animal-activist-helpline/) has counselors who can provide emotional support.)

4. 7DayVegan.com (http://7dayvegan.com/) is another great site for new vegans. Meal plans galore. Start here (http://7dayvegan.com/choose/) and choose the meal plan that appeals most to you! They make it easy, and fun.

5. If you're on Facebook, this page (https://www.facebook.com/2014VeganChallenge) is another source of meal plans. Three plans to choose from. Some are designed with Trader Joe's shoppers in mind. (You can click here (https://www.facebook.com/2014VeganChallenge/posts/396722857139639) to get started. And here are the direct links to plan 1 (http://freepdfhosting.com/dcbea1fdc2.pdf), plan 2 (http://freepdfhosting.com/90c67566c2.pdf), plan 3 (http://freepdfhosting.com/0bfbcdb748.pdf).)

6. VegWeb.com (http://vegweb.com/) is an online source for thousands of vegan recipes. Or just search the Internet by typing "vegan" plus the name of whatever dish you're wanting to make, and you'll find tons of help.

7. Could you use a free vegan mentor? VeganMentors.org (http://www.veganmentors.org) was founded by awesome VLI member Marty Krutolow (http://www.meetup.com/Vegan-Long-Island/members/10957974/). Another option is this mentor program (http://veganoutreach.org/vegan-mentorship-program/) by Vegan Outreach. If you use Facebook, you could also get support in the Vegan Long Island Chatroom (https://www.facebook.com/groups/VeganLongIslandChatroom/).

8. What do legumes*, seitan, quinoa, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds have in common? They're high in lysine. Why is lysine important in vegan diets? Because if you're meeting your lysine requirement, then you're most likely meeting your protein requirement. (*legumes = beans, peas, lentils, peanuts)
Vegan dietitian Jack Norris recommends eating multiple servings of high-lysine foods every day. Check out Jack's article on protein (http://veganhealth.org/articles/protein) to learn more.

While we're on the topic of nutrition: make sure you have a reliable source of Vitamin B12 (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/vitamin-b12-recommendation-change/). I take a 500 mcg "dot" daily. You may prefer to get your B12 on a weekly basis. Either way, Dr. Greger explains how much you need, and why, in this post about B12 (http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/08/30/3964/).

9. Carol Adams' book Living Among Meat Eaters (http://www.caroljadams.com/book_livingamong.html) is a classic. Her psychological insights helped me become a better ambassador when I'm with family & friends. Reading it helped me feel less angry, more joyful & compassionate toward others.

10. Understand that if you influence just one person to go vegan, BAM, you've just doubled your lifetime total of animals spared. Imagine if each of us got another person to go vegan this year? Keep multiplying, baby—this is how we change the world. So be an effective influence. Readthis short column on a simple technique (http://ccc.farmsanctuary.org/compassionate-selling-feel-felt-found/)thatwill help you be more effective. And consider joining VLI's campus/concert leafleting subgroup (http://www.meetup.com/Vegan-Long-Island/events/9986381/).

11. Have you heard the term "carnism"? This is the term Melanie Joy has coined for the dominant ideology that conditions us to eat certain animals, and keeps our feelings and awareness blocked. Follow this link to watch her remarkable 2015 TEDx talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0VrZPBskpg) (which is already among the most-viewed TEDx talks of all time—in the top 1%). Share it with others. (And this video on effective advocacy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnQSP6f9iAY) is especially good for vegans who may be frustrated by their friends or family, and want to become better advocates.)

12. Do you know about the film Forks Over Knives (http://www.forksoverknives.com/)? It's become a movement of its own, wow! Changing lives for the better, by the thousands. Get it, watch it, share it.

13. Victoria Moran's book Main Street Vegan (http://mainstreetvegan.net/) came out in 2012, and it's terrific. Exactly the information and support that a newbie would want.

14. Author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (http://www.compassionatecook.com/), mentioned already, is another source of advice, humor and support. Her 30-Day Vegan Challenge (http://www.the30dayveganchallenge.com/fe/29373-30-day-vegan-challenge) is a multi-media program that holds your hand and cheers you on, as you swap old habits for new ones.

15. Viewing the film Earthlings (http://earthlings.com/) (which some call "The vegan-maker") is difficult, but it reminds me that vegans are on the right side of a widespread wrong. Same goes for the 12-min Farm to Fridge (http://www.mercyforanimals.org/farm-to-fridge.aspx).

I'll end this resource round-up with a quote from Victoria Moran, who reminds us in Main Street Vegan that being vegan is about conviction, not perfection:

"Jay Dinshah, founder of the American Vegan Society, told me way back in my early 20s: 'There is no perfect vegan.' That's because we live in a world that has depended on animal exploitation for so long that remnants of it are everywhere, no matter how careful you try to be. It's about making the kindest choices you can, one day at a time, and not sweating the small stuff so much that we turn off potential vegans."

Yours for a kinder, greener, healthier world,

Jennifer