Monday, March 28, 2016

Avoiding meat and dairy temptations as a Vegan

This is your Butterball turkey. Visualization is a powerful tool for fighting cravings.

A few years back now, I started transitioning from Vegetarian to Vegan. Around the same time, my partner, Gary, decided to go from Omnivore to Vegetarian, leaning toward Vegan. It's been such an interesting journey for both of us. We're learning a whole new way of life. That being said, food temptations are a definite challenge. Here's how we tackle the cravings on a daily basis.

Who has a more difficult time with temptations?

I've been Vegetarian for around 40 years. I don't crave meat at all. It's not even a part of my life anymore after all these years. Still, as far as food cravings go, my partner and I are just about even. I was a real cheese-a-holic before. I put cheese on everything, not realizing that the dairy industry is even more cruel than the meat industry, or that they were completely interwoven. So, while Gary's addictions leaned toward meat, my cheese addictions are every bit as difficult to overcome.

Slipping up

We have slipped up and had small amounts of dairy here and there. Gary has never once gone back to eating meat. It seems his willpower is a bit stronger than mine, though far from perfect. Happily, we've gotten better with every slip up. We're now at the point where there will likely be very few slip ups. That's because the last one was a doozy. We ordered a spinach and artichoke dip, thinking it would mainly be healthy. As it turns out, what we got was a bread bowl full of nasty. The “dip” was spinach and artichokes mixed with mayonnaise and baked in a bread shell. If that's not enough to turn one Vegan, I don't know what is. Yuck!

The gross out factor

Even though the dip was disgusting and set us back for days, it taught us something. Slipping up isn't a treat. It just serves to make us feel downright disgusted with ourselves. It lets see our forbidden foods for exactly what they are, piles of globby, fatty nothing. We're both confident we'll face our temptations with a little more resolve after that experience. If we are tempted, though, despite the gross out factor, we have another little trick up our sleeves. It's not pleasant. It is very effective.


In my job as a writer, I do a lot of research. Like most writers, I write what I know and what I experience. Right now, I'm experiencing the Vegan lifestyle. I research Veganism on a daily basis. In the course of my work, I come across countless videos and articles on animal cruelty. Gary and I watch them together to reinforce our convictions. Watching them has turned out to be a valuable tool for fighting temptation.


Last night before bed, we watched a particularly graphic video of typically cruel slaughterhouse practices. It would not leave my head. It joined me in my dreams. Which brings me to my next point. The main way I avoid temptation is by keeping those images in my head. When I'm tempted to eat dairy, I think of baby calves being dragged from their mothers and eventually slaughtered so that we may have their milk. When I'm tempted to have eggs, I picture baby chicks being ground alive.

Think that's horrendous?

You're right. It is. That's the whole point. It's why, along with health reasons, we've made the choice to go Vegan. Therefore, we use the negativity to inspire us. We keep temptation away by recalling why we're doing this. So now, on the weekends, when we're tempted to have a cheese sub, a pizza or something else that's not on our diet, we think twice. We visualize. We remember why we're doing this. Guess what? Meat and dairy just aren't that tempting once you see them for what they really are.

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