So, I have been trying to eat vegan for almost a week now. In the beginning, I was sure that I would die without cheese and butter. It is a staple in my life. But so far, with only two slip ups, I am still alive. I still feel somewhat conflicted about this choice, which I know inhibits my chance for success, but it wasn't a snap decision. Besides, it's not like I've been barred by the egg and dairy industry, if need be I can always have a piece of brie or reach for an egg when I bake. Which is part of what helped me make the choice.
I knew that I wanted to be a vegetarian. This is difficult when you live with three other people who are not particularly interested in this. Well, Katie wants to be a fishatarian, she is fine without eating land animals. Except for McDonald's chicken nuggets. As Katie points out, they aren't really chicken. And they come with a toy. Since I don't go to McDonald's this isn't an issue. (She goes with her grandmother, as I know you are wondering how she knows about this faux chicken delicacy.)
I was discussing this with a friend one day when she said that she and her husband watched the movie Forks over Knives and made the decision to not eat meat. Naturally I queued it up on Netflix and my husband and I viewed it together. At the end of the movie he turned to me and said, "Let's do it." I was floored. "It" isn't vegetarian, "It" is vegan with little to no added oil. "It" is a totally plant based life style. I smiled and said okay, but inside I was thinking, "Noooooo! I love cheese!" But I can't debate the health value of the diet and I love my husband. I wanted him to support me, so I want to support him. We made the decision to wait until after Easter and try it for 28 days. Of course there is a book, which I borrowed. We are trying the recipes and seeing what we like and don't like. We want to set ourselves up for success.
So why go vegan now? Two years ago, on Easter Sunday, I walked into the living room on a conversation my vegan sister was having with my brother in law. My sister has been vegan for a couple of years now. She doesn't pontificate and simply brings dishes to events she knows she will eat. She is also a marvelous cook. Her food is amazing. She was explaining, because she had been asked, about the cruelty on factory farms. My first thought, honestly, was "Shit! Now I know." Because once you know something you can't unknow it. It is just there and you have to make a choice, ignore it or learn more. I choose to learn more. I sought out information from such sources as Food Inc (an amazing movie), PETA websites, and books. Specifically I am reading Eating Animals and have finished Skinny Bitch and Righteous Pork Chop. I haven't even picked up Slaughterhouse. But, oddly enough, it was the movie The End of Poverty? that really helped me to make the decision. This movie is not about factory farms, but as its title implies, poverty. And it is this movie, which I think everyone should see, that my own privilege was heightened. How lucky I am that I drew this life. That I have this amazing family, both in my house and extended. We may not agree, but we are here for each other. I have - so far - managed to retain my job in a time of economic turmoil and my health. I have choice. It is a gift that so many of us have that we so often ignore or take for granted. With this choice comes power. I can choose to use my privilege to support a system that I deeply believe is wrong because it is easier or I can choose to not eat animals or animal products. I don't know if I believe that it is wrong, as many vegans do, to use animals for food or clothing. But since I don't need to right now, I'm not living off the land by my wits (thankfully) and I don't need to strap seal fur on to stay alive I don't see why I would. This doesn't mean I am going to toss all my wool or leather products into a landfill. I will try in the future to buy more humanely.
So, me vegan? Apparently.