As I wrote a few months ago, I was emotionally moved by an article in Rolling Stone magazine and decided to try transitioning to a vegan diet and, ultimately, a vegan lifestyle. My journey began on January 2nd. I’m still not where I want to be, but I’ve learned a lot in these few months, especially about myself.
While being vegan isn’t difficult per se, it does require planning, and I’ve never been good at doing that as consistently as I need to. I have almost a dozen new cookbooks, all full of vegan-friendly options. But I have yet to really go through any of them and flag recipes or put together shopping lists.
I’ve also learned that eliminating animal products from my diet make me feel better physically. Of course, I’ve always been a master at self-sabotage, so this particular reason ironically makes it more difficult for me to adhere to this lifestyle. Go figure. I do fine for a week or two, then I stray and spend the next two days with stomach issues. But I still keep going back and forth.
Most importantly, I’ve become aware of the inner disconnect between my previous standard American diet and my core beliefs. I have three cats, that my ex-boyfriend left with me when we broke up in 2009. A few years ago I started getting sinus infections every 2-3 months. After over a year of this, I saw an allergist and found out that I’m allergic to cats. That was almost two years ago. I still have those cats because I would rather have to take antihistamines for the next 10-15 years than place those cats in a shelter. If I feel this way about animals that directly cause me discomfort, how can I be a part of an industry that causes so much harm and so much pain to so many animals? And that’s what it came down to for me- I can’t.
As I said, I haven’t been very good at being a strict vegan, but the guilt that I feel on those days I stray is what makes me keep trying. That and the inevitable stomach issues that follow.