In three weeks, about, I will have been trying to maintain a vegan lifestyle for about a year. Although, I am not truly vegan, which is hard to explain. I have not thrown out all of my leather, or wool clothing. However, I do now try to purchase animal free products. Other things such as lotions, face wash, etc, I found ridiculously expensive (vegan or traditional) so I now try to make my own.
Food, however, has been easy. It seems weird to me that I ever ate any other way. I think the biggest surprise is how few choices there are for vegans. Well, that and the fact that people still feel the need to profess to me their undying love for bacon. But it doesn't bother me, it just sort of startles me that either they think they are the first to come up and say, "Ooooh, I could never give up bacon." Or they think it never gets old for them to share with me their addiction, passion, obsession, whatever the relationship is at the moment with this meat. Totally different from the people who will come up and say, "Oh, I could never give up cheese." and then get this sort of dreamy look in their eyes. But on the whole I would have to say that people have been so super supportive. I've realize how truly blessed I am to have such good friends. I want to thank them. The people who came with real questions, concerns and even advice. People who came with connections to others. And people who have gone out of their way to make my experiences with my choices easier for me. The greatest gift of this choice has been the realization of the wonderful people around me. And then there are some other people.
I try very hard not to be a bother with my eating choices. I'm not doing this to make a statement or to make others feel guilty. I'm not all that interested in what you are eating. This was my choice. So, I thought I would put together a list of reasons I didn't go vegan:
1. I didn't do this for you, to you, in spite of you. I did this to align my actions with my conscience. Which, yes, makes me feel better about myself but not better than you. I am actually very self centered - outside of my children - I tend to think about me. So really, I'm not thinking about you - more than likely I am wondering if I can do more or if everyone is staring at the grey hair on my head.
2. This isn't just about the animals. But it isn't not about the animals either. People are carnivores, I get that. However, to me, the impact on the planet, the cruelty to a living thing, the price to the small farmer as factory farms and fewer slaughter houses take over was just to high a price to pay to eat. So it is about the animals, but it is about so much more.
3. This isn't just about the environment. Although that is a motivating factor, it is not the largest factor. Because, as usual, it is the people with the least amount of power who reap the worst consequences. It is more about the people. The people who have no choice, or their choices are ninety-nine cent value meal, or some prepackaged junk from the cheapest supermarket - if they have a supermarket in the area.
4. I didn't do this so you could read the menu for me. I can still read, I haven't developed an allergy to meat, cheese, eggs, other dairy. This is my choice. I firmly believe that, for me, a person of limited means, my power remains with the choices I make. I can eat anything, the power is in the choice.
5. I didn't do this in the hopes you would go vegan. Really, I didn't. Although, let's face it, if enough people went vegan I would probably have greater choice as the mighty markets would have to respond. See? All about me.