Dustin Hinton is a three-time member of IRONMAN, a wonderful father and a vegan. Hinton shares his tips for a vegan lifestyle, talking about the positive impact that veganism can have not only on an individual level, but also on an ecological and community level.
Tips for Going Vegan
Although Hinton is a man of big goals, his philosophy of going vegan and encouraging others to do so for personal health and a positive impact on the world is based on small steps.
Hinton says some people can drastically change their diet and go vegan, but that’s not the best path for many and can lead to failure: “Anyone can do anything for six weeks. But can you do it for six years?” he asks.
Hinton himself says that living in New Orleans – “the worst place in the history of mankind where you can try to go vegan because you are surrounded by the best food on the planet” – was a test for him when he went vegan, but he never looked back. .
Hinton says going vegan should be gradual and fun and shouldn’t be seen as hard work. You can have a vegan night, just like a pizza or pasta night: “Choose an evening and say, ‘Hey, let’s be vegan tonight. We’ll try it, we’ll live it, we’ll cook only vegan food… We’re going to watch what we cook, pay attention to what we put in the pan. We will closely monitor what enters our body,” he says.
“Invite your friends, have a party. Let everyone cook and then just sit back and enjoy your meal, live it like a pizza night, like a Vietnamese food night – let it be a positive experience.”
Be in the present moment
Along with a gradual transition, Hinton recommends staying in the moment: “Don’t think, ‘I’m going to do this all my life,’ just think, ‘I’m doing this now, only once a week for now,'” he says.
For many people, this will eventually translate into permanent veganism, or at least a healthier diet, Hinton says.
If you want this cupcake, eat it
Although he is very disciplined about his food – he only occasionally allows himself an “event evening” and does not eat sugar at all – Hinton says that if you really need this cake, it’s better to eat it.
“Do it once a month, on a schedule,” he says. “But then hang on because 90% of the time you have to be on a diet. You can deviate 10% of the time, but if you’re on a diet 90% of the time, you won’t go astray.”
vegan movement. On Resilience and Compassion
When previously asked what made him go vegan, Hinton cited several reasons: “Health reasons play a big role, but I’ve always cared about animals, so this choice includes compassion and health.”
He explained that for those who care about the humane treatment of animals, even going partially vegan can help, because going vegan one or two days a week all year round “may help keep at least one animal from being killed.”
Hinton’s compassionate nature extends to his meat-eating friends. He does not “beat them on the head”, but explains his reasons for the transition, motivates them to eat less meat.
About inspiring others
What if you want to use your veganism for good and inspire others in your circle to make the transition? Hinton advises to be softer.
“You don’t have to say ‘hey, you should be more compassionate!’ No, just add some positivity… I love being positive, being fun, having new experiences.”
What does this mean for Hinton? He takes his meat-eating friends to Mellow Mushroom, their favorite pizzeria, and they order Mega Veggie Pizza.
Also, the choice of others must be respected. Hinton’s young son is not vegan, and Dustin cooks meat and other food for him, because he knows that veganism is a choice that a person makes himself, at a conscious age. Hinton also explains that it is important for him to give friends information, to explain their decisions, but not to judge them and to give them the right to choose.
Hinton encourages people trying veganism to find food at local farmers’ markets, which will help make a positive economic impact on the local community as well as connect with others.
In fact, he scripts the many positive effects that veganism can have on many levels through farmers markets: “You can talk to a person who grows food. You can ask him, you can establish contact. Now it’s not just “Hey, let’s go buy food, come back home, close the door and stare at the TV, closing ourselves in four walls,” he says.
Instead, you can build relationships with community members and promote sustainability: “Now you get to know the locals, pay the local community, support them. You are building resilience… (and giving a chance) to families to do more. Maybe you want to go shopping twice a week… it doesn’t take long for them to start planting the second field as well,” Hinton says with increasing animation. And for Hinton, it’s all important.
“These little things can make all the difference and we shouldn’t take them for granted,” he concludes.