Yes, I know. A lot of vegans think we should be able to snap our fingers and change decades of bad habits overnight, due to the horrors of animal exploitation and more. That would be great. Unfortunately, what I have found is that, personally, I am human and fallible. I have had times when I was all vegan for months. I have also had setbacks. Times when those old craving got the better of me. But now?
Well, now I am quite confident that I have attained my goal of transitioning from a vegetarian to an all vegan diet. In fact, I think I'm there now and will not be going back. What makes me so sure? Well, the thing is that I have come to the point where I can take or leave cheese, my greatest temptation. In fact, the thought of all that fatty gloppity-goo that I used to eat, well, it kind of turns my stomach.
I just don't need or want it any more. Last night, Gary had some cheese ravioli because it was still in the freezer from our mutual vegetarian days. He's not quite as far along in his journey as I am in mine. And you know what? I had absolutely no desire to eat it. That is HUGE for me. You have no idea!
So, I made a little angel hair pasta with herbs for myself and loved it. I didn't even top my creation with Parmesan, another bad habit of mine. Oh ya, I used to love Parmesan so much that I would put ¼ cup on my pasta every time. No Parmesan? That's a truly colossal triumph for me.
I also have a love of real butter. That's been a toughie for sure. We still have some in our fridge right now but I am also confident that I can buy some yummy coconut oil based “butter” next time and not ever go back to the “real” thing again. So, when that happens, I will be officially all vegan where my at home diet is concerned.
Now, about those restaurants. I know that there are a lot of places to dine out where it's not evident exactly what they put in their sauces, etc. However, I also feel that I have gotten to the point where I can and will request those changes and substitutes and where I can boycott any restaurant that does not have choices that are vegan or cannot be modified to be vegan.
I actually prefer vegan restaurants now. I will go to a non-vegan restaurant with non-vegan friends. But I will not eat non-vegan food at that restaurant. I will not backslide to being a vegetarian just because there are more of those choices than vegan choices. After all, it's just one night. I can live with eating the one vegan thing on the menu now without feeling deprived of options. And if there are no vegan options? Well, my friends will just have to choose a different restaurant.
And vacation this year? Road trips? There will be no more “lesser of two evils” or eating local favorites for the tradition or nostalgia of it. I'm determined. Even if it means bringing my own vegan cheese and/or telling them to make it without cheese. Whatever I have to do, I will do. And maybe, just maybe, doing so might spark something in others that starts them on their own journey or at least nudges them to accommodate vegans more than they already do.
Now, I know it's not just about diet. But diet is the most difficult thing to change so I started big with diet. I have also eliminated a lot of other non-vegan choices from my life. I gave my precious leather fringe jacket from the 60's away a long time ago. I'm on a budget so I've kept a few of my other non-vegan clothes. Plus, I figure it's more respectful to use and not waste them, since the animal has already died. But I don't buy leather any more. It's also not very environmentally conscious to toss/give away perfectly good clothing and buy more.
And of course, there are incidentals. There are things I know about, but cannot boycott, like that gas for the car is a latent animal product or that cars are made from animal products or that the artist paints I already have from before are not vegan. And there are, of course, products that exploit animals that I don't know about or couldn't possibly know about, that will likely and unfortunately, remain in my life until I do know about them and/or can find viable alternatives.
And how did I get to this awesome point where my diet is completely vegan with no turning back in sight?
Well, I believe that ironically, the reason I have gotten to this point is that I have allowed myself mistakes. Making mistakes is, of course, the best way to learn. I have undergone a very gradual, unforced process and accepted the fact that people are not perfect and I am no exception. I have said this before, but I am not good at those “Have to's” as I call them. I'm a rebel. And rebels need time in order for true change to stick.
For me, a vegan diet was not an overnight transition. But I am there now. I can, have and will just say no to buying and eating my greatest non-vegan nemesis, cheese now. I can and will just say no to buying and eating any more “real” butter too. Oh, I'll finish it off, so as not to waste it, but once it's gone, that is IT my friends. No more! It won't be easy. The power of well worn thought paths is strong but I'm stronger now. I know that I can do this.
I can now say that I am as cruelty free in my diet choices as I can be in this society. I can also say that I will eventually conquer the rest of what is in my power, sooner rather than later. It's been a long process because I'm a tough nut to crack, even when I'm the one doing the cracking. LOL But I am there. I am proud and I am vegan strong!