In summary, I am not a vegetarian. I'm not a vegan. I'll never follow either of these lifestyles perfectly because, at the end of the day, I do believe animals are here for our sustenance. However, I prefer to minimize the number of lives loss so that I might live. I'm currently exploring a more organic and vegan diet and am very curious about the positive impact this could have on my health and will be easing into it with a 6 week trial when I feel confident in my research. You don't have to agree with my reasons or the health impact either of these diets will have on my body, and I don't judge you for choosing differently, It's just something I've chosen for myself. If you'd like more details on why I made these choices, read further. Otherwise, you've got the gist now.
A little over a year ago, I posted about my decision to start moving towards a more vegetarian lifestyle. In case you missed my original post, I'll explain a bit about my personal approach towards meat and animal by-products:
I am NOT a vegetarian. However, I do believe that all of us in the westernized world have become painfully detached from where our food comes from. I believe that if we all had to slaughter our animals before we would eat them, all of us would be a hell of a lot more conservative and thoughtful about how much meat we are eating. So I just try and be that thoughtful and conservative in my life towards meat and animal products (like eggs, dairy, leather, etc) in my day to day. Every peice of meat I eat or leather product I buy is a conscious decision. I take a moment every time to consider the life and death the animal may have had to endure to provide that product for me and I feel indebted and thankful. I'm grateful I don't have to slaughter my own meat because I don't know that I could, and the hypocrisy of that has resulted in a lot of long and deep thought for me.
Following a vegetarian lifestyle has been shockingly easy for me. Really. I have always said that could never adapt a vegan lifestyle though, because I'd have to lose all of my favorite things. I LOVE cheese and milk. I'm addicted. Literally, that's not a joke. I fully believe I have some kind of chemical addiction to the proteins in milk and cheese. I crave them! They make me happy. My heart sings for Babybel and fondue and margherita pizza. There's nothing like my morning latte to start the day. So when I started reading Skinny Bitch and they where hard-selling the vegan life-style I just sort of laughed it off. "no way!" I thought. I would never. I could never. It shocked me to say, by the end of the book, I was considering it. I mean, the book is extremely biased. There's a lot of obvious and unexplained holes and double standards in it that make me thankful I'm thoughtful and independent enough to do my own research before taking everything they say at face value. (there's quite a bit of fear-mongering in there that I don't buy into) But the thing that they got me thinking about more than anything else was the health effects of dairy on my body. The fact that I really do have a physical addiction to dairy to an unhealthy extent. They also spoke a lot about the effect that the additives and man-made ingredients can have on your system. And so I found myself considering veganism. Am I crazy?
I've started doing some of my own research to try and answer all the questions and fill some of the gaps the Skinny Bitch book created regarding levels of protien in the vegain diet, why B-12 is only in meat and where do I get iron from? I feel fully satisfied by the research I've done, and have decided to give veganism a try for purely health reasons. I have a little bit more research to do (you'd be SHOCKED how many things contain animal products, i.e. casien and gelatine) and I want to be sure I really do this right catalog the true effect this is going to have on my system so I'll start a 6 week trial when I feel confident I can do it right. Also, we have a LOT of food in the house that would be irresponsible to let go to waste on a whim so I need to reduce that stash before bringing all the vegan foods into the house.
Friend/Family and Stranger's Reactions
I'm so glad that Skinny Bitch touched on this subject because it is hard choosing to be different. The people closest to you start judging you and saying nasty things that, regardless of their intention, can be really hurtful. For some reason, everyone takes a person's choice to cut out meat or dairy extremely personally. I don't know why that is for sure. Skinny Bitch said it's because, especially when its for humanity reasons, people feel as though I'm judging them or that my calling my diet humane is also highlighting their diet as inhumane which can feel convicting to them. That makes sense to me. I have to say that it feels incredibly selfish for them to make my personal choice all about them, but whatevs. I feel better about it now that I can kind of understand why their impulse when I announce this decision is to say how they could never do it instead of saying that they're happy for me. Except that I guess no one really is happy for me.... (except Elisha. and Beebs. :) holla!) so I guess they just don't know what to say. My biggest reason for being afraid to take this step is that, if I stick with it, I'm going to have to explain myself to everyone around me for the rest of my life. So, I've decided to just not talk about it. When people try and attack me with "what about this nutrient and that nutrient and blah blah" I'm just going to tell them I don't feel comfortable talking about it. When people say "I don't think there's anything healthy about being vegan" I'll just say that I disagree and, if they try to argue with me, I'll say again that I don't feel comfortable talking about it anymore. Gosh, you'd think that I'd just come out of the closet or something! hahaha God gave people brains for a reason. If they're that curious they can research it for themselves. :)