We are all experiencing a weird, uncertain and scary time. As Covid-19 and the Coronavirus consume nearly every aspect of our daily lives, it is important that we all work together to beat this monstrosity from overtaking everyone’s mindset and routine. In the days, weeks, months and possibly even years to come, things will be different. We will have to learn and accept new normals and be aware of social needs to guide us through a time of change, but ultimately coming out on top in a world where things are better than ever and we as a people have learned, grown and come together as one. Of course the days can be difficult, as we are all dealing with finances, relationships, family and careers. I compiled a list of things we can all be doing as vegans in our down time to help each other, ourselves, the planet and animals around us.
Support Local Vegan Business
Of course, we are all struggling financially right now while navigating the ins and outs of what is open and closed during this shutdown. A great way as many of you already are doing is to support your local vegan food scene. From placing orders online, to calling in, curbside pickups, and even buying gift cards to support them, this will ensure that we are doing our part to help these businesses survive and retain their employees. Even if some of us can financially only afford to do this once a month, every dollar will make a difference. I understand that for some of us, this is not even an option during this tough financial time. If so, tell your family and friends about these great restaurants and that it would mean a lot to the businesses and yourself to lend a helping hand to these wonderful establishments. It supports your local economy and brings business directly back into the communities and neighborhoods that you care about. These are the people who have always had their doors open for you, ready and willing to serve. They need your help the most during this turbulent time and you can help them now by showing how much they mean to you in any way you can. Of course many won’t be able to get around to all of the places that mean so much to us, but start with one and do what works best for you.
You’ll find a list of vegan-friendly Milwaukee area restaurants doing to-go orders during COVID-19 here.
Educate and Veganize your Mind
Use some time online to further educate yourself on vegan activism. There are so many amazing organizations across the world that can use your help to spread their message. From animal sanctuaries, nonprofits, collectives, co-ops, environmentalism groups, to social justice institutions, there is so much information and resources widely available to expose you to the pressing issues our world faces. These operations have contacts ready and willing to help with many of your questions along with the answers you might be searching for to donate your time volunteering with or donating funds to support their cause locally or worldwide. Sign petitions, write to your representatives, boycott animal cruelty, learn about vegan friendly products and companies that represent ethical treatment of animals and the environment. Even if being hands on with these groups isn’t possible right now, it is nonetheless a great opportunity to get your foot in the door and ready for whenever they do in fact need help when society opens its doors once again. These issues will continue to be of great concern and importance and you now have the time to fill your mind with ways in which you can truly make a difference.
Discover local vegan-friendly organizations here and donate money and goods if you can.
Advance your Vegan cooking skills
This is one of my favorite ways to pass extra time during this crisis and one that I find most enjoyable. We live during such a technologically amazing time that there are so many how-to videos, hints, tricks, tips and the expertise of wonderfully talented vegan chefs online. A simple google search and and a few videos later, you have the expert advice of your fellow vegan community and people who truly have mastered the art of vegan cooking. Learn how to make vegan meat substitutes, including seitan steaks, sausages, fried chick’n, burgers and more. Try your hand in the art of vegan cheeze making, from soft spreadable cheezes to harder cheezes for snacking and topping meals. Learn how to make bases, broths, dips and marinades. Learn bread making and try making your favorites. Prep and freeze meals ahead for the entire week or weeks to come and buy in bulk to eliminate unnecessary trips to the store. The possibilities are seemingly endless once you start exploring. Don’t have all the supplies you need? If you are responsible and respectful of the current rules (and only if necessary), do your research beforehand and pick up what you need while you’re out on that TP run or dropping food off to your family and loved ones. Otherwise, use what you have! Sometimes this is even more challenging and you can get even more creative! There are also several delivery services that are available to drop off grocery supplies to your door where you can stay indoors and become a true master of your own vegan kitchen!
Watch your footprint
It’s hard sometimes, especially during the current situation stuck in our homes to focus on the small things. However, this is the perfect time to be aware at least of the routines and tendencies we all exhibit. Sure, no one is perfect. Take it from me personally who catches himself doing things that I know I could be doing better. From getting delivery in paper bags, to picking up food in plastic to-go containers, to driving cars across town more than we need to, it’s what we learn from these things that is important and making an attempt to begin to reduce our impact as much as possible. So during this time try making lists of ways you can change small habits in your daily life. How many showers and loads of dishes are we doing daily? How long do we leave the faucet on unnecessarily? Are we able to grow any of our own food when the weather warms up soon? Can we become more sustainable through reducing our waste and reusing containers and respectfully recycling those we cannot? Can we plant more in our flowering gardens to attract bee populations and encourage pollination? I know all of this is not possible for everyone, but it’s a good time we all have on our hands here to at least think about who we are, what we do for our planet, and the ways in which we could all be better. Calculate your carbon footprint here to learn more.
Take care of yourself and each other
I know we are all dealing with this situation in our own ways. It is important to be respectful of one another and each other’s choices during this time as many of us are facing tough times and fear the uncertainties that lie ahead. I wrote this blog in hopes of helping anyone who might need a distraction during this time to focus on positivity, difference making, impactful decisions, and to help ourselves live a better vegan life while helping those around us in the most meaningful of ways. We will all get through us and we will come out stronger on the other side, regardless of how long it takes. Wishing everyone safe and healthy days in the weeks ahead.
Stay well Milwaukee!
Ricky of VeganMilwaukee