Jordi Casamitjana, the author of the book “Ethical Vegan”, identifies some traits and circumstances that would help people adopt the philosophy of veganism, and devises a method to assess people’s suitability to become vegan

I don’t really know you.

When I write long articles like this one, I may have a few types of people in mind which represent the spectrum of the kind of audience I imagine reading my blogs. However, this does not mean I know you all well — or at all, for that matter. So, attempting to assess your suitability for anything would be quite a risky move. In this case, though, I dared to predict that you are quite suited to become a vegan.

As someone who has been vegan for over 20 years, and who wrote a book which has a chapter titled “The Anthropology of the Vegan Kind”, I would say I have a relatively good insight into what makes vegans tick, but I may not necessarily be as knowledgeable regarding non-vegans. Mind you that, like all vegans, most of the people I have met in my life are non-vegans, so after having lived for six decades in several countries, I should also have a relatively good idea about how non-vegans think. However, after having left carnism behind, I distanced myself from carnists, and they have now become a decreasing percentage of my acquaintances, but this is not necessarily a bad thing if I am asked to judge your suitability for veganism — which is something I tasked myself to do in this article. The distance I built over the years may provide me with the necessary perspective to be able to identify any trait or quality you may possess or any circumstance or situation you may be in, that would increase the likelihood of you adopting veganism as the philosophy that informs your choices.   

If I cover enough ground and be as comprehensive as I can be with the available days I have left before I must submit this article for publication, I may be able to identify the type of person you think you are, making my prediction about your suitability valid. I bet that you are one of those people particularly suitable to become vegan. If you are already vegan, then I was right, and this article may confirm why veganism was already on your cards even before you knew about it. If you are not yet, perhaps you have not realised your heightened suitability for veganism — because you may have never thought about it, or something stopped you from thinking about it. In that case, you may find this article useful, and learn a thing or two about yourself and your future.

After having thought about it for quite some time, I have identified 120 characteristics that increase the likelihood of someone becoming vegan at one point in their lives, and the more of such characteristics you have, the more suitable you would be for adopting the philosophy of veganism. You can use this article to self-analyse your vegan-readiness by scoring how many of these factors you have. I believe that if you have at least three, you would be particularly suitable to become vegan, if you have 20 or more, I would say you would be very suitable, if you have 60 or more you would be extremely suitable, and I think that if you have more than 100, your veganhood is almost guaranteed. 

I ordered the 120 characteristics in different equal-sized chapters because they can be grouped according to their nature. In the process of becoming vegan, first, come your thoughts and beliefs, then the convictions that dictate your choices and lifestyle, then your behaviours and habits, then your socio-political and environmental circumstances, then time, and finally, the luck of possessing certain personal traits. Therefore, I grouped the characteristics accordingly, in the hope it will facilitate an organic comprehension of the process.

Your Thoughts and Beliefs 

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The official definition of veganism, created by the Vegan Society in 1944 and finalised in 1988, is, “Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practicable — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.” Therefore, veganism is primarily a philosophy, and as such it begins with thought. You may already have had some of these thoughts, and you may hold several beliefs that may be part of the main axioms of veganism (an axiom is a self-evident truth, postulate, maxim, or presupposition), so you may already be on your way to adopting the philosophy.  Here are 30 thoughts and beliefs that you may have that would make you particularly suitable to become vegan:

  1. You believe in not harming others. The most important axiom of the philosophy of veganism is the axiom of AHIMSA (an ancient Sanskrit word that means “Do no harm”), which says, “Trying not to harm anyone is the moral baseline”. If you already try to avoid harming anyone who can be harmed, because you understand harming is wrong and is not necessary to have a fulfilled life, then you already hold the most important belief of veganism.
  1. You know what a sentient being is. The second main axiom of the philosophy of veganism is the axiom of ANIMAL SENTIENCE, which says, “All members of the Animal Kingdom should be considered sentient beings”. If you already believe this because you know the difference between a sentient being and a living being that is not sentient (such as a bacteria, protist, alga, fungus, or plant), you already have a very important piece of knowledge related to veganism.
  1. You believe exploiting animals is wrong. If you are not vegan but already know exploiting animals is wrong, you already believe the third main axiom of veganism. This is the axiom of ANTI-EXPLOITATION, which says, “All exploitation of sentient beings harms them.”
  1. You are against discrimination.  The fourth main axiom of veganism is the axiom of ANTI-SPECIESISM, which says, “Not discriminating against anyone is the right ethical way”. You may have not heard about the word “speciesism”, but like “racism”, it means discriminating against someone because of the “group” that someone belongs to, whatever that may be, and whether this is a natural group (like a biological species) or an artificial group (like a culture or religion). However, if you are against any form of discrimination against anyone from any group, you are already an anti-speciesist, which makes you very close to being a vegan.
  1. You want to stop all the harm others do. The fifth main axiom of veganism is the axiom of VICARIOUSNESS, which says, “Indirect harm to a sentient being caused by another person is still harm we must try to avoid.” If you are not content with just not harming others, but you want to change the world so other people stop harming others too, you already believe in this important veganism axiom, which is the one that has made this philosophy a transformative socio-political movement.
  1. You don’t believe in violence as a means of anything. The first axiom of carnism is the axiom of VIOLENCE, which says, “Violence against other sentient beings is inevitable to survive”. If you do not believe this is true, you have already got rid of one of the main beliefs of carnism, the prevailing ideology that is essentially the opposite of veganism, so you are well on the way to becoming vegan.
  1. You don’t believe humans are superior. One of the main axioms of carnism is the axiom of SUPREMACISM, which says, “We are the superior beings, and all other beings are in a hierarchy under us.” If you do not believe this is true, you already started to free yourself from the indoctrination that stops you from becoming vegan.
  1. You believe that you can prosper without exploiting others. Another important axiom of carnism is the axiom of DOMINION, which says, “The exploitation of other sentient beings and our dominion over them is necessary to prosper.” Vegans believe the opposite of that, and this is why the term “exploitation” is the keyword in the official definition of veganism.
  1. You want to challenge the system. If you are not happy with how things are and do not want to simply complain about it, but want to change “the system” (whatever system may you be thinking about), you already have a frame of mind very compatible with veganism, as vegans want to change many systems (the food system, the medical test system, etc.) including the entire world, as we want to change the current carnist world and make it the vegan world. 
  1. You are concerned about your health. One of the five main gateways into veganism is health, so if you are concerned about your health this is a concern many vegans had before becoming vegan, and they happily discovered how much healthier it is to follow the vegan lifestyle that is a consequence of the vegan philosophy. Of all the diets there are, the Wholefood Plant-Based Diet (WPBD) that many vegans have is considered by many experts the best for people’s health. 
  1. You care about the environment. If you are concerned with the extinction of species and worry about the environment and all ecosystems of planet Earth, you are having the same thought that those eco-vegans who entered veganism via the environmental gateway had, so you are already on your way. 
  1. You dislike Big Ag and Big Pharma. You may not like how big corporations are dominating humanity, in particular from the animal agriculture industry and the pharmaceutical industry, which tend to receive lots of subsidies from governments. As veganism challenges the current system and is against such subsidies because vegan alternatives are not subsidised, you will find common ground there. . 
  1. You care about non-human animals. Animal rights are one of the five gateways to veganism, perhaps the most well-known one, so if you care about non-human animals, veganism is right up your alley.
  1. You are concerned with the oppression others experience. If you are against the oppression of anyone, then you already think like a social justice vegan, who entered veganism by the social justice gateway, and who understands that the oppressors of non-human animals and most oppressed humans are the same.
  1. You are a spiritual person who believes in the interconnection of all beings. The first gateway ever used to enter veganism was the spirituality gateway, so if you are on a spiritual journey you may be heading to veganism. Those interested in Yoga as a spiritual path, those who follow the Jain dharma, or those who follow the Buddha dharma (especially from the Mahayana school) often end up becoming vegan in their journey toward enlightenment. 
  1. You are worried about climate change. Vegans are worried about climate change because they know it is harming many sentient beings, including humans. Also, vegans know that the animal exploitation industries are driving such climate change, so moving toward the vegan world is the best possible solution. If you are also worried about these things, you are beginning to think like a vegan. 
  1. You are worried about cardiovascular diseases. If you are worried about heart attacks, strokes, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases, perhaps because you are at particularly high risk of getting any of these diseases, then you may be pleased to know that many studies show how whole plant-based diets reduce the risk of getting them, so this may be what make you particularly suitable for changing your lifestyle toward veganism.
  1. You are against colonialism. Either because you belong to a colonised nation or you have learnt about history, if you have become anti-colonialist and study the issue further you may discover the connection between carnism and colonialism, and how many anti-colonial people have become vegan because of it. 
  1. You oppose animal testing. You may not be vegan yet but nevertheless oppose the use of animals in the testing of products, such as cosmetics, and this is why you tend to buy products with the “cruelty-free” logo on them. Well, vegans also oppose all animal testing, so you already hold one of the main vegan beliefs.
  1. You believe in Karma and reincarnation. Either because you follow any of the Dharmic religions or because you are a spiritual person with an idea of what happens after people die, if you believe in Karma and Reincarnation you want to behave like vegans do, as their actions would give good Karma and you do not want to participate in the exploitation of someone who may have been your friend in a previous life.
  1. You care about water waste. Animal agriculture wastes a great deal of water, but if it could be replaced with plant-based agriculture, we could save lots of it. One study suggests that reducing animal products in the human diet offers the potential to save water resources up to the amount currently required to feed 1.8 billion additional people globally. If you care about this you will find veganism is the answer for you.
  1. You believe the plant-based diet is healthy. You may not be vegan yet but you may already realise that the carnist claim that meat, eggs, and dairy are healthy foods hold no water. If you already accept that a plant-based diet is healthier, perhaps because you already know our ancestry was mainly plant-based, you already think like a vegan on this issue. 
  1. You care about world hunger. Because most crops are cultivated to feed farmed animals, if humans consumed the crops instead of feeding them to the animals, the world supply would be enriched by approximately 70% more food, which would adequately support another 4 billion people, ending world hunger. If you care about this issue veganism may be for you. 
  1. You are all for equality and equity. You may be someone who cares about inequality in the world and fights for more equality and equity for marginalised people. This is the same attitude vegans have, but they apply it to all sentient beings (including marginalised humans), so your frame of mind on this would already be a vegan frame of mind.
  1. You want to save the world. Perhaps you care about planet Earth and want to save it from destruction (such as deforestation, coral reef deaths, habitat degradation, species extinction, desertification, dead zones, pollution, etc.). The Vegan World is a practical solution to most global crises, so vegans building it also want to save the world in its entirety, not just save the sentient beings living in it. 
  1. You already know all proteins come from plants. If you have a good knowledge of biology and understand what proteins are, you will know that all amino acids proteins are made of are essentially created by plants, so having a variety of plants in food can provide all the building blocks you need for your proteins. That is common knowledge among the vegan community and one thing less you must learn during your veganisation process.
  1. You are a fan of a vegan celeb. You may admire some famous person who happens to be vegan, so you may already appreciate veganism more than the average non-vegan. If that person is some sort of role model to you, adopting the same philosophy will feel natural and right. 
  1. You care about others. Essentially, vegans are people who care about others and do not put a limit on who such “others” are. If you also care about others and this is an important part of you, then you already have the essence of veganism growing in you.
  1. You consider yourself an ethical person. The vegan philosophy is a philosophy about ethics, so all ethical vegans, those who follow the official definition of veganism to the full, are very ethical persons. If you are too, you will feel at home among vegans. 
  1. You are not in denial about veganism. One of the common principles carnists believe in is that veganism is an extremist fashion that will eventually pass but that should not be encouraged as it is too disruptive. If you disagree with this and are open-minded about veganism, you may already be a pre-vegan. 

Your Convictions and Choices 

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Thoughts and beliefs can evolve into something more tangible and detectable from the outside. They can become convictions which may manifest themselves in the choices we make and collectively can create a full lifestyle that may have a name and can be recognised and identified. Veganism has an associated lifestyle and identity, but there are many others which share some of the same thoughts and ideas. Just the fact that someone has a strong conviction and is happy to change behaviour because of it while accepting a lifestyle or ideological label would make that person more suitable for veganism if purely from a functional point of view. In other words, if you do not feel allergic to labels and “isms”, and you already try to align your beliefs with your actions, you are already more compatible with becoming vegan. You may not even need to change “isms”. You could simply add a new one to your collection, as you know you can handle them. However, some of your convictions and choices may push you even further into veganism than others. Here are 30 examples:

  1. You are an animal rights activist. If you already believe in animal rights and consider yourself part of the animal rights movement, the chances are that you are already vegan, but as the vegan movement and the animal rights movements overlap greatly but are not identical, perhaps you are not yet. However, you are a tiny step away from it.
  1. You are an environmentalist. If you are a green person happy to be called an environmentalist, you already believe in one “ism” that some vegans also believe in. Eco-vegans are both vegans and environmentalists as there are many commonalities between both philosophies, which are ethical by nature.
  1. You are into fitness. Many vegans who entered veganism via the health gateway are into fitness, so if this is your jam too, you will find plenty of people to share your vegan journey with. As following a plant-based diet not only is healthy but can greatly improve your fitness, this is not surprising.
  1. You are a social justice warrior. If social justice is an issue you are passionate about, you should know there one of the gateways into veganism is social justice, so you will find many vegans (who I used to call intersectional vegans but I prefer to call them social justice vegans now, as I now prefer to use the term  “overlappinality” instead of “intersectionality”) are equally passionate. You can fight for oppressed humans and non-humans at the same time.
  1. You are religious. No religion is incompatible with veganism, and when looking at them in detail, many could be seen as encouraging it (even if this may have been suppressed by some circles). If you are a Jain, Buddhist, or Hindu, you already know this because ahimsa is one of your tenets, but if you are a Muslim or a Christian you may not know. You may want to watch the documentary Christpiracy, which may open your eyes to how much your religious convictions would improve if you embrace veganism too.  
  1. You are a part of the punk subculture. If you consider yourself part of the punk subculture, you may already know about the straight-edge vegans, many of whom are not only both vegan and punk rock followers, but also abstain from drugs and alcohol. They often argue how compatible veganism and the rebellious punk subculture are.
  1. You are an anarchist. The history of veganism and anarchism is connected. The so-called vegan anarchism can sometimes be linked to the animal liberation front type of activities, but it goes deeper than that. Many of the 19th-century French anarchists used to be vegan, including Louis Rimbeault, a prominent figure of that movement, who was an individualist anarchist promoter of both simple living and veganism.
  1. You are a kind of “hippy”.  If you associate yourself with the counterculture of the 1960s that subscribed to an anti-materialistic lifestyle and anti-war politics, you may already be a vegetarian (as many of them were). However, you will find that being a vegan fits your ideology even better, and this is why many modern hipsters, and people who follow the New Age movement, are vegan. 
  1. You are a feminist. Many feminists are ecofeminists who have incorporated environmentalism into their lives, but you can go further and incorporate veganism too, as many have done. If you think about how many female non-human animals are unfairly exploited (hens for eggs and cows for dairy, for instance), that will make a great deal of sense to you. You will be sharing your beliefs with the ecofeminist Marti Kheel (who in 1982 founded Feminists for Animal Rights), and the feminist-vegan advocate Carol J. Adams (author of the influential 1990 book The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory),
  1. You are a pacifist. Considering that veganism is about excluding harming others in one’s life, it is not difficult to see how compatible with pacifism veganism is. In many respects, veganism is the ultimate universal expression of pacifism. 
  1. You are an anti-capitalist. Although many vegans believe in capitalism, and certainly capitalism has currently a good grip on the production of vegan alternatives to many products, this does not mean that the philosophy is intrinsically pro-capitalist. You could argue that carnism is indeed intrinsically pro-capitalist as carnist follow the principle of dominion over others, so being veganism the opposite of carnism, anti-capitalist vegans are very coherent and consistent people.
  1. If you are a vegetarian. Whether you are an ovo-vegetarian, a lacto-vegetarian, or a lacto-ovo-vegetarian, the fact that you remove the flesh of any animal from your diet is placing you a step closer to veganism.
  1. You only eat a plant-based diet. If you have gone from vegetarian to only eating a plant-based diet, so you reject eggs, dairy, and honey as well, you only need to start applying the philosophy of veganism for the rest of your choices (clothes, household products, furniture, hobbies, etc) and you are all set.
  1. You are a reducetarian. If you have already started to reduce the intake of meat, dairy and eggs in your diet because you already realise that it is not good to consume them, you should use the momentum you have created and keep going until they are all gone from your choices. Reducetarianism should only exist as a transitional phase toward veganism.
  1. You are a pescatarian. A pescatarian has already rejected all meat from terrestrial animals, so already knows how to reject mainstream food. Keep rejecting until no animal product is on your diet should be well within your reach, especially since now you should know you can get all omega-3 fatty acids from algae rather than fishes (which is where the fishes get it in the first place), so there is no longer any health excuse to consume them.
  1. You are a flexitarian. Flexitarians already eat mainly a plant-based diet. However, they do not want to exclude anything for now. Well, at least you already know how good plant-based food is, so that puts you in a better position to become vegan than a traditional carnist.
  1. You are an Epicurean. Epicureanism is a system of philosophy founded around 307 BCE based upon the teachings of Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher who advocated for a simple life. If you also like that, consuming fewer products is something you will welcome, so veganism will be very compatible with you.
  1. You are teetotal. The straight-edge vegans mentioned earlier could be considered a type of abstinent vegans. Abstaining from animal products is something all vegans do, but abstinent vegans abstain from other products as well, such as recreational drugs, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, etc. A teetotal already knows how to say no to alcohol and stick to it, which would help when expanding abstinence to more products.
  1. You are anti-hunting. The anti-hunting movement has a long history, and many of its members were not vegan (or even vegetarian). If you are one of them, at least you already accept that one type of animal exploitation should be abolished. It will be easier for you to understand why other types should also be.  
  1. If you are macrobiotic. The macrobiotic diet is not always vegan or vegetarian, but there is a vegan version. Those who follow a macrobiotic diet are already good at rejecting mainstream food and controlling what they consume, which is a skill new vegans need to learn.
  1. You are a Nature lover. If you love Nature you must love all its members, including the animals who form part of it. At one point, you will realise that you don’t harm who you love, and the best way to respect nature is to become vegan.
  1. You are very progressive. You can be vegan no matter whether you are politically right-wing or left-wing, but progressive people are especially compatible with veganism as they already believe in egalitarianism, fight against oppression, and challenge old traditions. Also, the building of the vegan world of the future is essentially a progressive idea.
  1. You are a rebel. The vegan world could come from evolution or revolution, so if you are a rebel in nature and like revolutionary causes, then veganism is for you. Rebelling against the carnist world is what many vegans already do.
  1. You are a nutritionist. If your interest is nutrition and have become a professional in it, you will find veganism fascinating, and you can easily become a vegan nutritionist specialised in plant-based diets. 
  1. You are a physician. There are many physicians now who have made their name for advocating the vegan lifestyle not only as preventive medicine but also to treat many diseases which have become epidemic in modern carnist societies. You could become the next Michael Greger M.D., Dr Thomas Colin Cambell, Dr Neal Barnard MD, Dr Milton Mills MD, or Dr Michael Klaper MD
  1. You are an athlete. If you compete in any sport and want to win, you can do what many top athletes have done and ditch all animal products in their diet. You may become a vegan champion of the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Scott Jurek, Dotsie Bausch, Novak Djokovic, Patrik Bouboumian, Venus Williams, Nick Kyrgios, or Fiona Oakes.
  1. You are a foodie. If you love food and eating out you would love to become vegan, as vegan food is much more rich and varied than carnists food. There are only a few animals people consume, but there are hundreds — if not thousands — of plants that chefs can make delicious meals from. Perhaps fruits and veggies are already your type of food, so making them exclusive (adding fungi too) by becoming vegan would be something you will enjoy.
  1. You are a philosopher. If you like pondering about the world and enjoy reading about ideas and logic, you are in luck, as veganism is already a fully-fledged philosophy and many books have been published about it. The vegan philosophy is so multi-dimensional and rich that there is always something new to philosophise about. 
  1. You are a geek. If you consider yourself part of the geek culture, you may enjoy exploring new worlds, moving into alternative realities, and going against the grain. You may also like modelling nature, structure, and rules. You will be able to continue enjoying all that when you become vegan because veganism has a lot of these things too. There is a particularly thriving community of vegan boardgamers that you may fit right in.
  1. You are an animal lover. If you have ever defined yourself as an animal lover, perhaps you may only mean that you love cats and dogs. Perhaps you have added more vertebrates to the list of your love interests, but it is possible that your cognitive dissonance may not have allowed you to see why the food you are eating is made of animals like the ones you love. But at least you would be observing non-human animals more than other people, which would increase the chances you “see who they are” and then join the dots.

Your External Circumstances

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The chances of people becoming vegan sooner than later can be affected by many external circumstances that have very little to do with what people think, which identities they define themselves under, or which convictions they hold. It is easier to become vegan in some places than others, and some situations you are experiencing may greatly increase your suitability for the philosophy. Here are 30 examples. 

  1. You live with vegans. If any of the people you live with are vegan, you will have a higher chance to become vegan yourself as you will be able to see with your own eyes how easy the whole thing is. Logistically, it will make your living arrangements easier too.
  1. Your romantic interest is vegan. It is very common to become vegan when your romantic interests are already vegan, and you want to get closer to them. Sharing veganism with a loved one is a very fulfilling situation that will work as positive feedback reinforcing your decision.
  1. You live in a developed country but not in a food desert. Although veganism started in several parts of the world millennia ago, today it may be better known in its modern incarnation in developing countries. If you live in one of them, and you are not unfortunate enough to live in a desert area with very limited access to healthy food, you will have the chance to meet more vegans and access to vegan alternatives, making it easier for you to become vegan. 
  1. Any of your family members are vegan. The support of your family to embark on your vegan journey is not essential but can help a great deal, so if some of them are vegan you already will have information, resources, and help which may accelerate your veganisation. 
  1. You have young children. Knowing where the world is going with the current global crisis, especially the climate change crisis that is already obvious everywhere, you must be worried about which world your children will end up inheriting from you. The vegan world is the best solution to all these crises, so it will be easier for you to become vegan and help build it when you think about the future of your children. 
  1. You have grandchildren. Your children may already be grown up, stuck in the same carnist world you are stuck in, but if they have children, the same said in the previous point applies here. 
  1. You are learning to be a chef. Perhaps making food is something you like, and you are learning to be a chef as this is the profession you already decided to take. However, perhaps you never thought about the many opportunities this profession will offer to vegan chefs as the population of vegans increases and there will not be enough vegan chefs to cover all the new vegan eateries likely to appear. Also, when you learn the art of how to play with ingredients, you will easily discover how much more rich vegan cuisine is. 
  1. You grew up in certain vegetarian religious environments. If you grew up in a Jain, Buddhist, Taoist, Vishna Hindu, or Seventh-Day Adventist community, you may have grown up being vegetarian from infancy, so it would not be that difficult for you to reject more food other than just meat. You may also have been exposed to the idea of rejecting food for ethical reasons, so you only need to expand those thoughts a bit more.
  1. You work at an animal sanctuary. Not all animal sanctuaries are vegan (although many farm animal sanctuaries are), but if you work in any of them, you will have the chance to witness up close the lives of non-human animals and appreciate they are individuals with their personalities and wishes. Seeing them as individuals is the first step to be able to understand what veganism is all about.
  1. You have your orchard. Growing your own fruit and vegs is a very satisfactory thing to do, and often makes the experience of eating them more enjoyable. If you have an orchard or land for crops it would be easier for you to see the value of a plant-based diet, and you may be even able to grow your food in a veganic way, which is even more satisfactory. That sense of control about the food you eat is something vegans crave, and you already have part of that.
  1. You work in an animal protection organisation. Some animal protection organisations are animal rights, while others are animal welfare. If you work with the former, the organisation itself may be promoting veganism, so there will be plenty of resources for you to use to become vegan. If you work on the latter, some of your colleagues may be vegan, and they can help you transition. In either case, the fact you are trying to help some animals while still consuming others is a cognitive dissonance that will more likely be exposed in your work situation. This may lead you to attempt to resolve it, which likely will end up with you becoming vegan.
  1. You have been the victim of oppression. If you have been the victim of any oppression because of who you are (either because of your race, gender, ethnicity, religion or lack of, sexual orientation, disability, etc.) you are in a better position to empathise with other oppressed victims, including non-human animals. You may also be more inclined to want to help them.
  1. You live close to a vegan supermarket. Sometimes logistics is what helps the most. If you live close to a vegan supermarket or store that provides most of the goods and groceries that vegans need, you may find it easier to become vegan as it will feel more normal to you.
  1. You live in vegan-friendly cities. London, Berlin, Vancouver, Mumbai, Tokyo, Sydney, Brighton, Bangkok, Portland, New York, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, and Taipei, are cities that have been recognised as the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, so living in them will increase the chances that you will become vegan as you will be more expose to veganism and find it more normalised.
  1. You are a member of a vegan sports club. Some sports clubs have become vegan, so if you play in them and are not vegan yet, you will have plenty of support to transition. For instance, the UK football club Forest Green Rovers, the Green Gazelles Rugby Club or Vegan Runners.
  1. You work in a health shop. Many health shops offer many products vegans need, from food to plant-based supplements not tested on animals, so anyone working in them may have better access to some vegan-friendly products. Also, you may have a better knowledge of the benefits of a plant-based diet than the average carnist.
  1. You are a crew member of a vegan ship. Some ships are run by vegans and have made the entire catering vegan (like the ships from Sea Shepherd and the Captain Paul Watson Foundation), so if you have been a member of the crew in them you will already have had the experience of living something close to a vegan lifestyle even if you are not vegan yet, learning how easy it actually is.
  1. You work in a vegan store. There are more and more vegan stores these days that not only sell vegan food but also clothes, shoes, cosmetics, etc. If you happen to be working in any of them you will have first-hand access to vegan products, making your transition easier.
  1. You are the assistant/carer of a vegan person. Not every vegan works with other vegans, especially if they do not work in any vegan business. They may have colleagues and assistants who work for them, and who may need to purchase vegan-friendly products for them (think in the Devil Wears Prada movie or a carer scenario). Such assistants or carers will then learn where to get vegan products, even obscure and difficult ones, acquiring the knowledge they can apply when becoming vegan.
  1. You follow religious fasts. Some religions include fasts of several lengths and degrees, but if you follow any of these and practise such fasts, you already understand the notion of abstaining from something being a good thing. For instance, Ethiopian Christians have very long fasts in which they abstain from all animal food, and this is why many have become vegan.
  1. You are a mother. If you are a mother or a parent you will understand better the suffering cows experience when their calves have been forcibly removed from them again and again to force them to produce milk, and this may open your eyes through empathy and make you want to distance yourself from the dairy industry. It would not take a big step to be able to see the suffering of other mothers of other species and eventually become vegan.
  1. You have been wrongly incarcerated. If you have been wrongly incarcerated you will have had a first-hand experience of captivity which may allow you to empathise more with other captive victims, such as all the animals of the animal agriculture industries, the zoo industries, or the scientific research industries. Once you empathise with their plight, becoming vegan is just around the corner.
  1. You are a victim of sexual abuse. Many animals of the animal agriculture industry are forcibly impregnated (or made to ejaculate) in such a way that a human victim of sexual abuse may empathise easier with them than anyone who has not experienced such abuse.  This may make them consider veganism sooner.
  1. You are a victim of genocide. If you belong to an ethnic group, culture, or nation that has been the victim of genocidal attempts, you may understand better the plight of invasive animals treated as vermin to be exterminated. This connection may eventually lead you to consider other animals (such as the many marine animals fished to extinction), and eventually all sentient beings, and understanding that becoming vegan will help all of these victims of lethal speciesism. 
  1. You grew up with companion animals. Any close contact with non-human animals in a non-aggressive, exploitative, and confrontational way may open your mind to understand them as individuals, and later on see other animals as individuals as well, who have intrinsic value and moral rights.
  1. You have non-human friends. Every now and then, people befriend a non-human animal. It could be a domestic animal, or a wild animal who comes to visit you, but if you develop that special connection, this will go a long way for you to be able to respect other sentient beings, and eventually become vegan.
  1. You have been bullied. Being bullied as a child, or even as an adult, is a terrible experience, but it may allow you to empathise more with non-human animals who are constantly bullied and treated as commodities.  You will feel a connection with them and want to help them.
  1. You live in the UK. The UK is the only country in the world so far where ethical vegans are legally protected from discrimination, harassment, and victimisation in the workplace, the provision of public and private services, and in landlord-tenant relationships. So, if you live in the UK, the knowledge of such protection (recognised from 2020) may encourage you to take the step and become vegan sooner.  
  1. You grew up in a vegan community. There are vegan communities out there, in which just being born in them will increase the chance that you adopt veganism when you grow up, and become a vegan for life. Is not guaranteed, though, as veganism is a philosophy and not just a lifestyle, so one must reach a certain age before being able to adopt a philosophy, and some teenagers choose ideologies different to those they grew up with.
  1. You were born after 1944. Having been born after 1944 would increase the chance of someone becoming vegan for the simple reason that the word vegan was coined that year and several vegan societies started to be formed around the world aimed at supporting new vegans. Vegans existed for millennia, but not until 1944 did veganism become a truly international transformative socio-political movement, with an associated vegan community facilitating the process of becoming vegan.

Your Traits and Attributes 

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Some people are particularly suitable to become vegan because they have some traits or attributes that predispose them to it. They may be inborn traits, or they may have acquired them during development, but right now they form part of who they are, even though this may only be temporary rather than permanent. Like all traits, they may be modulated with the environment, which may delay or accelerate their manifestation, and part of the environment is the ideologies and philosophies we have been exposed to during our lives. These are some examples of the personal traits that I think may increase the probability of people becoming vegan at one point in their lives:

  1. You are lactose intolerant. If you are native to Africa, Asia or Latin America, you are more likely to be lactose intolerant, even if you don’t know you are and simply experience difficulties digesting dairy and have not attributed yet this problem to your genes. If you become vegan, this problem will disappear, and this is why some physicians and campaigners have been addressing this issue politically with what they call “dietary racism.”
  1. You are a rational person. Veganism often exposes the lies of carnists who try to hide the horrors of animal exploitation and the problems of the consumption of animal products, so it is very closely linked to promoting the truth. As such, the veganism discourse is full of evidence and logic, which rational people like. If you are a rational person you will be able to process such evidence faster and arrive at the right conclusion sooner.  
  1. You have a strong sense of free will. Most of us have been indoctrinated into carnism and ended up consuming what governments, corporations, and marketers want us to consume. Vegans rebel against this and stand their ground against “the system”. If you have a strong sense of free will and tend to resist unreasonable orders and directions, you may fit in well with the vegan community.
  1. You are from younger generations. People from the younger generations have been born in a world that is already more vegan-friendly than the world their parents and grandparents grew up with, but most importantly they are more vocal about their identities and less inclined to follow old-fashioned stereotypes. This is why veganism is growing faster in these generations.
  1. You are neurodivergent. There have been suggestions that some neurodiverse people may tend towards being more ethical. Autistic people often place a strong emphasis on rules and fairness, and this can translate to a strong moral compass, following a clear code of conduct. They may become more distressed by injustice and may be more motivated to change the world for the better. Veganism is a very coherent black-and-white philosophy with clear “rules” (all animal exploitation should be avoided, including consuming all animal products), and that may fit well with some autistic people. 
  1. Your cholesterol is very high. Some people have high cholesterol because they eat many animal products, but others have it because it is genetic in them (we humans can produce our own cholesterol, and some people produce more than others). In such cases, becoming vegan may reduce it to a manageable level (as vegan diets do not include any cholesterol), and this potential health outcome may be the reason some people try veganism.
  1. You have type 2 diabetes. There have been many studies showing that following a whole meal plant-based diet reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, so if you are a person genetically predisposed to getting it, becoming vegan is likely to reduce that risk, and help you treat the condition if you already have it.
  1. Your risk of getting some cancers is higher. Studies have shown that vegetarian or vegan diets are associated with a lower risk of all cancers, especially postmenopausal breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer. If you are at a higher risk of having any of these cancers for any reason (such as genetics), it would make good sense to reduce it by becoming vegan.
  1. You are a person with obesity. If obesity is a problem to you because of your genes or development,  and you are trying to lose weight to control it, adopting a wholefood plant-based diet can be of great help. There is a lot of scientific evidence for this, as a study that showed a plant-based diet was superior in terms of improving body weight, fat mass, as well as insulin resistance markers, which made the authors conclude that a plant-based diet is an effective strategy in the treatment of obesity.
  1. You are empathic. Some people are more empathic than others and therefore are more able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and experience what they feel. If you are one of these you are more likely to become vegan as you would be more able to empathise quickly with the non-human animal victims of animal exploitation (even in those situations where most people think the animals are OK with it, such as horse riding or zoos).
  1. You are allergic to meat. You may not know this, but some people are allergic to red meat. Alpha-gal syndrome (AGS) is a potentially life-threatening allergy to mammals’ flesh that is linked to the saliva of the lone star tick. This potentially lethal red meat allergy may already have impacted as many as 450,000 U.S. citizens. Those at risk would considerably reduce their chances of an allergic reaction if they became vegan.
  1. You are highly intelligent. Being intelligent is a relative term difficult to assess fairly, but those who score higher in whatever system used to measure it are likely to understand sooner the benefits that becoming vegan has on one’s health, other humans’ lives, non-human animals’ lives, and the planet. Intelligent people would more easily see through carnist propaganda and would navigate more easily the obstacles vegans have to overcome when living in a carnist world.   
  1. You are sensitive. More sensitive people may care more about the suffering of others and may react more to the evidence of how animals are treated by the animal exploitation industries. This makes them more likely to want to disassociate themselves from carnism.
  1. You are spiritual. Whether you follow any particular religion or are simply a spiritual person who believes in higher powers and “the universe” as something to feel humble about, you are likely to have a notion of soul or conscience that will make you feel connected to other sentient beings. That connection is what may eventually pull you toward veganism.
  1. You are generous. If generosity is part of your nature you will not spare any help to give to those who need it the most, and there is very little doubt that non-human animals exploited by humans are the sentient beings who need it the most. When you realise that is the case, you will most likely be generous with your time and not only become vegan but become a vegan activist too. 
  1. You are caring. If you care about others and do not discriminate who these “others” are, you may never be satisfied unless you embrace veganism. Once you do, you will be able to express your caring nature continuously across all sentient beings you encounter and be more fulfilled.
  1. You are compassionate. If you look at the videos of animals being exploited or killed and you feel in your bones how wrong this is without much explanation, you are probably a compassionate person. If you embrace this feeling and not try to suppress it, that compassion will push you to become vegan.
  1. You are just. If justice is important to you, and you always strive to be fair and just, you will not be comfortable witnessing the injustice that humanity is inflicting on all other sentient beings on this planet, and you may try to correct it. You may find veganism will help you in that endeavour.
  1. You are kind. If you are a kind person, this means that you are friendly, polite, considerate, helpful, compassionate, and good toward others. Perhaps you only started to apply your kindness to those close to you, but if you are genuinely kind you will expand your circle of kindness until it covers at least all sentient beings
  1. You are humble. Vegans are the opposite of supremacists, and as such we can say that they are the humblest people in the world, who know that neither they, their community, their culture, their race, or their species are superior to any others. If you are a person with a humble nature, you will feel akin to this.
  1. You are mindful. Being mindful means being aware of the present moment and of those around you interacting with you. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Many people in their spiritual journeys practise mindfulness. That awareness it gives may open the door for you to notice the other beings around you whom you can help, and you have been ignoring them because you did not even notice them before. 
  1. You are considerate. If you are considerate, you are careful not to inconvenience or harm others. Exploiting animals in any way, at the very least “inconvenience” them, so you will try to avoid that and will gravitate toward veganism.  
  1. You belong to a frugivore species. Veganism is a philosophy developed by humans to deal with how humans treat other sentient beings, but it is a philosophy available to all other civilisations that may exist in the universe. Perhaps some may find it difficult to adopt because they are predatory species, but we humans belong to a frugivore species (better adapted to eat fruits, grains, nuts and seeds) from a frugivore ancestry which only experimented with meat-eating for a million years or so, so we, as species, may be better predisposed to become vegan than others.
  1. You are omnivorous. If you consider yourself to be an omnivorous person capable of eating both animal foods and plant-based foods, at least you already eat plant-based foods, so switching to a fully plant-based diet would not be that difficult compared with people who only eat meat, dairy, and eggs. Also, if you believe humans have an omnivore adaptation rather than a frugivore adaptation, that only means that you think they can eat either meat, plants, or both. As in that definition eating only plants is allowed, you are already becoming open to the possibility of veganism being natural for humans.  
  1. You are disciplined. If you are a person who feels comfortable obeying rules or a code of behaviour and can strictly follow the rules you impose on yourself, you will find the vegan lifestyle easier because it is full of self-imposed rules. You will also be less likely to “fall off the wagon” when you start, consolidating your new behaviour quicker.  
  1. You are confident. If you are a confident person and your self-esteem is reasonably high, you will not feel intimidated by veganism and you will be more inclined to try it and not be put off by irrational fears or myths perpetrated by carnists to prevent people from becoming vegan. Also, once you are vegan, you may be good at sending the vegan message, which will work as a positive reinforcement that will consolidate your new philosophy. You may easily make veganism your identity and parade it with pride. 
  1. You are a good cook. If you are a natural cook who, without much training, seems to produce tasty food people like, you will be able to make the most of plant-based cooking, experimenting with new options and discovering new dishes many others may miss. You will also be better at finding replacements of animal ingredients, and perhaps you could make a living of it.
  1. You have an entrepreneurial nature. If you are an inventor, a business entrepreneur, and have an adventurous nature that makes you try new things and avoid the “standard”, you may not have any fear in trying veganism, and once you embrace it, you may find that it allows you to manifest your skills by perhaps dedicating your work to produce innovative alternatives to carnists products and services. 
  1. You are good with animals. If you seem to have a knack for dealing with non-human animals who seem to like you, you will care more about what happens to them, and feel more inclined to protect them. 
  1. You are a good person. In the end, if you are an all-round good person, that will increase the probability of you becoming vegan as veganism is essentially an attempt to make everyone a good person by directing them toward ethical behaviour that is good for everyone.

Quantifying Suitability for Veganhood?

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As I mentioned in the introduction, the 120 characteristics I listed can be used as a rough method to assess how suitable you may be to becoming a vegan. If you “tick” the characteristics you think apply to you, you can count them all and see what your score is. I suggested that if you have at least three, you would be particularly suitable to become vegan, if you have 20 or more, you would be very suitable, if you have 60 or more, you would be extremely suitable, and if you have more than 100, your veganhood is almost guaranteed.

I counted the ones that fit me, and my score is 70, so I would classify myself as someone extremely suitable to be a vegan (luckily, I have been one for over 20 years!). 

I guess it would also be possible to list characteristics for unsuitability to veganism and create a score threshold for people who cannot be vegan, are very unsuitable to be vegan, or are slightly unsuitable to be vegan. How many people may fall in any of these groups? I reckon that not many.

Regarding the first category, only those adults who are still alive but who fell into an irreversible coma when they were far from being vegan may fall into the category “Can’t be vegan”. When we ask the question “Can anyone be vegan?”, we do not mean whether everyone can act as a vegan, eat what vegans eat, wear what vegans wear, buy what vegans buy, or say what vegans say. We mean “Can anyone believe in the philosophy of veganism?” Or, if we unpack this further, “Can anyone believe that avoiding doing any harm to any sentient being is the right thing to do”, and therefore “Can anyone believe in seeking to exclude all forms of exploitation and cruelty to animals is the right thing to do?”. Only if you are no longer capable of having any of these thoughts and beliefs (for being in a coma, for instance) may qualify you as not being able to ever become vegan. Even veganphobes could become vegan in the future because perhaps their over-the-top negative reaction against veganism is a sign of an internal turmoil similar to those experienced by homophobes who eventually came out of the closet. 

As for the category “very unsuitable to be vegan”, we may find people who can mentally follow the philosophy but live in a situation with no control over their actions and cannot make any choice on their own. Perhaps some people with severe mental development or health problems, prisoners with Stockholm syndrome kept captive by veganphobes, and very young children of carnist parents may fall into these categories. However, as many of these may be temporary situations that may change with time (especially the children’s example), many may no longer fit in the end.

Regarding the category “slightly unsuitable to be vegan” we may find people with very rare diseases whose doctors prescribe them to consume animal products, isolationists who live in very remote societies that never heard of the word vegan or have any religion or philosophy based on an equivalent of the concept of ahimsa, people from arctic regions who reject modern technology and want to revert to how they used to live in the past, and even the classical — imaginary — people stranded for life in a deserted island with only animal food (I cannot imagine how such an island would look like, but carnist love to talk about it). However, even these may at one point create their versions of veganism as I believe that the concept of ahimsa has a strong biological base and can spontaneously surface anywhere where humans live, and this is why I think their suitability is only slightly decreased. 

In any event, I think that the least suitable persons are unlikely to be reading this article, and this is why I was confident enough to assert that veganism is particularly suitable for you without fear of being wrong.

Veganism is a truly universal and accessible philosophy that is not only for anyone who wants to follow it, but it is particularly suitable for the immense majority of people because it is tailor-made for humanity in all its forms.  Veganism is our ticket to our future, and there is room for everyone in this exciting transformative journey that can save the world.

I don’t really know you, but I bet you are one of us travelling on this journey too.

Jordi Casamitjana

You may want to sign this pledge not to consume animal meat, dairy, eggs, and any products derived from animals: Vegan Pledge.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.