Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Veganism and inspiration

It's been over nine months now since I went vegan, so I thought it might be time for an update on how it's going. Fairly well, I'd say! Well enough that I'm considering sticking to a vegan diet even after my one-year pledge wears out. I've managed to survive without meat and milk and eggs for nine months, and I'm not really missing it as much as I imagined I would do. It's all about breaking habits, really. It's tough and confusing in the beginning, but anything will become easier with time. And habits are easy to follow, so now that I've established a new one and begun to grow into it I can follow some principles and guidelines without having to make a conscious choice every time I go food shopping. I just don't notice the dairy products, meat aisles and fish dishes anymore. If it weren't for the pesky advertisements all over the place, I might have forgotten they even existed.

I might have slipped up and eaten something containing milk on a couple of instances, intentionally or by mistake, but I refuse to see that as a failure dooming all prospects of a future as a vegan. Compared to the overwhelming number of times I've managed not to, I don't think it has ruined my current project either. Shit happens, mistakes are made, new chances are given to make a better choice next time. That is the most difficult thing for people in general, I think. Leaving behind the tasty, addictive stuff that we are used to eating. Meat I haven't eaten for seven years, so any cravings for hamburgers or bacon I might have had are certainly gone by now. Now milk, on the other hand... 

I'll willingly confess that milk is the tastiest thing I know. People are usually surprised to learn that before I went vegan, I used to drink at least one litre of milk a day, just because I liked it so much. Not to mention all the things you can make out of milk: pancakes, omelettes, sauces, cookies, cakes, cheese for goodness' sake... Why on earth would I willingly give up all that? Well, because some things are more important than satisfying my taste buds on a regular basis, I reasoned. Things like justice, environmental issues, not destroying whole ecosystems out of sheer habit and hunger for profit, standing up for my morals and ideological beliefs. Such things; and let me tell you that it is amazingly liberating to finally take a stand and do something about the things you've previously felt are wrong and complained about, hoping a solution would magically present itself in time. I think the only thing that truly shows your opinions is what you do, not what you think or say. Did empty words ever actually change anything?

That being said, let me also add that eating vegan isn't particularly difficult these days. Sure, I miss milk and cheese once in a while, but even to those things there are tasty vegan alternatives nowadays. And about the pancakes, omelettes, sauces, cookies and cakes mentioned above — they are very easily veganised once you learn a few tricks, and there is an overwhelming amount of support and knowledge on these topics available. Even I, a kitchen-fearing domestic disaster, have learned how to cook things that taste equally good (or better in many cases) than their dairy-and-egg-including counterparts, with a few cookbooks and a lot of nice vegan food-blogs to guide me. (One of these days I should make a list of my favourite sources of vegan inspiration, let me get back to you on that.) So, even if stopping eating meat, dairy products and eggs is breaking an addiction, which requires some determination and a bit of information in the beginning, it actually isn't all that hard.

There. I've finished ranting for today. Now, it would be totally and in all other ways awesome if you would take the time to watch this speech by Gary Yourofsky. Just listen with an open mind, and then maybe be brave enough to take a stand. I just watched this today, and it might have inspired me to stay vegan in the future.


Love, inspiration and veganism,
Winterdragon

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