I went vegan about five months ago. This happened only after a ton of deliberation over it, probably spanning several years (as I have been vegetarian-then-pescatarian since 2006.) I would come back to the idea of veganism periodically, weighing it in much the same way that one might spend years fantasizing about a big dream vacation… and when I suddenly found myself vegan one morning, it was very much the same way that one suddenly finds themselves entering their credit card info on Expedia.com.
Suddenly, after years of casual, back and forth, pussy-footing consideration, I just sort of went for it.
I think it was out of general boredom with my life, mostly. And I think it was also frustration. Those things were the only real difference between “this” time of my life and “all the other” times in all the years beforehand. I felt frustrated at work. I felt frustrated at home. I had been benched for months, and had also spent almost every day losing my shit over having to tell the kid yet again to please put his dishes away, stop leaving all the lights on, and throw his damn used condoms away. (You know, all the standard things…)
I needed to have something sort of beautiful and poetic in my daily existence. I needed to have something to focus on. I wanted a challenge. And I needed something I could have total control over; something tangible that couldn’t slip out of grasp every day.
So really, when I put it that way, I realize that if my plan was to use food as the avenue, it was probably either this or anorexia… and given the physical energy and emotional stamina required of raising the kid, the latter didn’t really make sense.
And although I did in fact go vegetarian, originally, partly “for the animals” (and also partly for like four other reasons, including physical health, environmental / natural resource preservation, philosophical / spirituality and hygiene reasons (because slaughterhouses are pretty gross-ass, bacteria-heyday places)) the veganism, oddly, didn’t happen as an extension of all these same reasons.
In fact, fundamentally, I don’t even have a real issue with eggs – most of us females of the animal kingdom just go about our business of naturally and automatically producing eggs like clockwork, and, much like most of the weight-lifting world, I thought eggs made a damn near perfect protein (especially for vegetarians like myself who are a little bit “anti-whatever-the-hell’s-in-protein-powder.”) Plus, I was buying that shit cage-free and organic and vegetarian fed from the farmer’s market, so I figured those hens probably had higher quality of life than I did anyway. For years, I was pretty sure that I was better off eating real, natural (“cruelty-free”) eggs than I was dowsing myself in stuff like tofu and soy products and whatever the hell this is. I strongly believed – and still do – that eating a real egg was “better” for me than swapping it for animal-free but highly-processed products.
(With regard to the other biggie, that being dairy, I was never really all that into cheese and milk anyway… milk mostly for the hygiene reasons. (Milk is not the most sanitary stuff, folks.))
ANYWAY! PETA primer aside, besides the boredom and frustration, the one big reason I went vegan was an extension of “philosophical” concepts. (Others call this these things “spiritual.” I think that, ultimately, at least for me, these two concepts are more or less the same, with one being a little too “hippie-dippy” and one being slightly less disconcerting for the nice, mainstream folk.)
So, it was “philosophical.” I needed something big in my life, and I chose veganism as a challenge in the same way that many people decided to train for a marathon. But I also wanted mine to be “beautiful” too.
I felt, simply, that it made sense to eat “closer to the earth.” (How’s that for hippie-dippy? So much for kidding myself with the use of “philosophical”…) Seriously, though, I enjoy eating foods in their most natural form. I tend to avoid processed foods and could happily eat a salad for one meal a day for the rest of my life.
So, I actually did not go vegan until I found “raw veganism.” And while all the processed vegan staples freaked me out, the raw food foundations totally made sense to me. An hour into reading up on it, something clicked, and I went vegan the next morning.
I am not always good at being vegan. I still eat chocolate sometimes – and not even good dark chocolate, which often tends to be dairy-free anyway – but the cheap stuff they have in bowls at work. I dabbled at the cheese course that my French sister in law served at our Christmas dinner. And I ate two entire Milanos yesterday. But overall, I do try. I also take multi-vitamins and calcium supplements now; I realized that eliminating food groups from your diet is a great motivator for remembering to take the daily vitamin you should’ve been taking anyway.
So, overall, this has been a good transition for me. Sufficiently challenging. Sufficiently poetic. And I will keep on keeping on until my lifestyle changes, my life philosophies change, or my livelihood is impacted as negatively as some meat-zealots fear.
Also, as a note: I am only a dietary vegan, meaning that while I do not (often) eat dairy, I still wear leather and wool. Also, I do this thing where I smear honey all over my face. You know, as a mask. This is probably one of the most excessively indulgent and hypocritical things I could probably do as a vegan. But, like I said, I really am not always a very good vegan.