…and you know it, raise your hand!
Picture: Stock Photo, GoDaddy
Sooo…I’m a vegan. Again. However this time is different. I’m actually sticking with it because it’s easy and budget friendly. So there you have it. When the vegan is ready, the plant-based teachers will come. My motivation? I want to be at my best nutritionally. I was awarded the opportunity to give it another go when I saw a flyer inside of a restaurant inviting folks to participate in a five-week vegan pledge. Mind you, there were plenty of incentives: it was free, they fed us each weeknight we met, they gave us mad swag, along with an added bonus of being in community with other like-minded individuals. Yes, there were videos. And boy did they make an impact. Watching them made me think and helped me reach logical and compassionate conclusions about how a huge chunk of our problematic food chain is saturated in cruelty, waste, and a blatant disregard for sentient beings.
So what made this attempt different, longer lasting? Well, for one, I learned a plethora of useful information such as being a vegan doesn’t have to be expensive. I upped my game going grocery shopping. Did you know when reading the nutrition label on a food item if it has 0% cholesterol, there’s a 99% probability it’s vegan? Cool, right? Did you also know, the sources of most of our cholesterol comes from dairy and meat products? This just in: jackfruit is the new pulled pork, pulled chicken, and soon to be crab replacement in my crab cake recipe. Who knew? I actually discovered jackfruit post-vegan pledge because my radar is more attuned now to seeking out plant-based options than ever before. Another important factor that keeps me on track was the realization I used to thrive physically (or so I thought) due to another sentient being suffering. It disgusted me. And when I realized how unnecessary eating meat and dairy was, I had no problem giving it up. Now keep in mind, I’m just scratching the surface. There are other lifestyle choices that I’m sure I’ll modify in the immediate future such as clothing, furnishings, sundries, etc. I actually searched for vegan shoes the other day and I’m happy to say I found some I liked!
Now…WHAT NOT TO SAY to non-vegans after you’ve committed to consuming a 100% plant-based diet. “I’ve noticed my poo doesn’t smell bad,” I exclaimed enthusiastically some years ago to a friend. To which said friend looked at me with a calm and blank stare. Note to self (and anyone else who has also experienced this actually truthful phenomenon): the time to articulate that revelation is pretty much never. This is how I share my story now: I let it happen unsolicitedly. And trust me, it always does because you will be in a situation where everyone else is stuffing their faces with meat and you’re not. I recently attended a festival with some friends who questioned my non-meat eating stance. One of them had a light bulb moment when I explained how eating a 100% plant-based diet worked for me. She said, “I mean it does make sense. If one is going to do so much work on their outside, why not their insides too? I know I don’t have to eat meat. It’s just something I was taught growing up.” See? If you opt to be casual around your non-vegan friends, they’ll actually come to many, if not most, of the same conclusions you have…on their own. The thing is, I am, you are, we are, as vegans, their examples of what it looks like to be vegan. So don’t be that fanatical vegan, scaring off and/or annoying your friends. Chill. And if (or when) the time comes for your friends and/or family to make the transition, they will. In their own time.
An important disclaimer before I wrap this up. This post is in no way undermining what you may already know to be true for your own body. Knowledge is a great thing, given the proper context. However, if there is an opportunity for you to learn more about something, someone, some place, etc. that ultimately benefits you, your community, the planet, please don’t be so quick (like I almost was) to brush it off because you assume you already know it all. It just might prove to be a surprisingly, wonderful invitation to expand your current consciousness.