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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Vegan is Easy, part 2

(Vegan is Easy, part 1; Time for Some Context.)

There are so many rules!

It’s too restrictive.

Too difficult, too drastic, too extreme.

It’s nice that it works for you, but I just know it wouldn’t work for me.

Like I said, you can tell yourself you aren’t capable of something, and prove yourself right (or dismiss an unfamiliar perspective as “too extreme”). That’s your prerogative.

This is mine:

(You can buy this button here.)

People like to think veganism is about following rules and adhering to prohibitions. They focus on all the things you aren’t “allowed” to eat. But what sort of hardship is it to deny yourself something you don’t want? I certainly don’t “abstain” from cigarettes!

Friends will sit down to a meal with me and say, “I know you can’t eat this.” Sometimes I leave it at that, and sometimes I’ll say, “I could eat it. I choose not to.” Let us make the distinction between a rule and a choice.

Fine, you say. I get it. But how do you get to the point where you no longer WANT to eat a fillet steak, or a big gooey helping of mac-and-cheese on a cold wet night? You may only have the vaguest notion as to why you should want to give up these foods in the first place. This is the point at which you begin to educate yourself.

It happens for some people quite dramatically, like when you stumble upon undercover slaughterhouse footage; other people will read a book like Diet for a New America, The China Study, or The World Peace Diet, and let the information change them in a way that feels absolutely liberating (can you tell I’m writing from personal experience here?) This is the first choice you will make, before you even get to the “vegan is easy” bit. Do you really want to know where your food came from, how its production affects the planet and other sentient beings, and how what you eat will impact your body, mind, and spirit? Or would you rather just keep on living as you have been?

During Main Street Vegan Academy I was talking with Marcia and Zachary about in vitro meat development. “Frankenmeat,” I call it, though PETA is actually promoting this research for obvious reasons. “I’d never eat it,” Zachary said. “Flesh just isn’t food to me now.” That’s how I feel too. I’m not depriving myself of something I no longer see as edible.

Besides, most of us vegans will tell you that we’ve become way more curious and creative in the kitchen since changing our diets, more open to trying “new” products like chia seeds or amaranth or kohlrabi or what have you. (And I enjoy vegan baking even more than I did the “old” way, admittedly because I like to surprise and delight people with delicious sweet things that are also cruelty free.) I’ve chosen to look at life as an adventure ever since I went on my first solo trip, but since I’ve gone vegan it’s like I’ve been handed a much bigger map to guide and inspire me. The choice I’ve made has given me a whole new kind of freedom.

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.