I’ve been a veggie for 22 years, and was a vegan for 1. Last time, I only made it for one year.
Last time I decided to become vegan I was motivated by the exact same reasons, horrified by the exact same information and ashamed of the exact same things. Ignorance really is bliss for many and, worryingly, ignorance isn’t bliss for some and yet they make their choices and choose meat. I am not one of them.
I gave up meat when I was 14 after watching an earthlings style doco on TV late one night when I couldn’t sleep. That was it, overnight. My wonderful parents were a little bemused by the whole thing and a lot of people likened it to a ‘phase’ I was going through. Indeed, for 23 years I can’t even count how many people have asked me, ‘if I still don’t eat meat’ or ‘do I miss bacon’, or ‘where do I get my protein’ as unfortunately being veggie, and even more so, being vegan, is not the societal norm. I shrug it off, as if I didn’t, i’d just get annoyed, and life it too short to let the little things bug you. I have bigger fish to fry right now; becoming a vegan (again).
So, why didn’t it last last time? I think, if I am honest, I was overwhelmed. There was just so much to think about. There was milk and derivatives of milk (etc) in everything; bread, potatoes, crisps…and I forgot to check all the time and I worried about whether there was a bi-product of something in something I was eating, I got stressed about friends who didn’t know what to cook, sick of being in restaurants with no options….and so it goes on.
What’s changed? Not a lot really. I am still the same me. However, I am more educated this time. I’ve watched Earthlings and sobbed and sobbed. I’ve read this amazing book which sums up better than I ever can everything I think about meat eating, environmentalism and consumption (http://www.amazon.com/Love-Dogs-Pigs-Wear-Cows/dp/1573245054). I’ve watched ‘Fed Up’, ‘The Cove’, ‘Cowspiracy’, ‘GMO OMG’ and I know that this course is the right course for me.
I’ve also decided, that this time, for this first month, that I am not going to sweat the small stuff. By small stuff, I mean, that whilst I am adjusting I am not going to check every single ingredient on every single thing in the supermarket and overwhelm myself. I am giving up the big stuff first; cheese, eggs, milk, yoghurt, chocolate, coffee with milk in, cream (and anything which is obviously made of these ingredients). For now, I am not going to worry about things that aren’t obviously made of these ingredients. The big stuff is a big deal and I want to get that right first. I am also not going to kick myself if I accidentally ingest something, or if a friend cooks me something and it has cheese in it etc. I am going to stay my course but I am going to do it in a way that means I enjoy the journey and am wholly engaged in the change.
I am going to think about what I am absorbing, learning and gaining rather than what I am losing. And that’s really really exciting.
And tonight….there’s polenta. A first for me, and one of the things I am gaining.