After reading my last blog post, one of my best friends' husband's friends (I love friend chains like that) sent me this message. He's also a vegan and was a big help when I first started out my meatless adventures.
Some words of (hopefully) encouragement.
I've been a vegan...almost a year now, wow! I think that if you make it a set of rules to follow or laws to abide by, then this kind of thing is bound to happen. You break the rules, you feel guilty. I try to think of veganism as more of a way of life or a guideline. If I decide one night I want Coldstone Ice Cream I don't feel guilty about it the next day. My lifestyle is such as to lessen the suffering of animals and promote a new way of living in a consumer society. I try to make the best decisions I can but in the end, if I constantly deny myself the things I enjoy I'll go crazy. Maybe once every few months I get real ice cream, and that's about as far as it goes for me.
Next, I want to make a comment about what you said about eating dairy and eggs that come from happy cows and chickens. I think in a lot of ways you're right. However, think about your slippery slope. You stop being vegan, and you eat eggs at home that come from a farm that you know and trust. You even go get your eggs yourself from the farm. This is great. Now you're out in a restaurant, and suddenly it's easier to decide to eat something with egg in it. You don't know where the egg came from, but...you're not a vegan so its easier to make the decision to eat the egg.
Again, this might sound like rule making. I think one of the most crucial parts of veganism is that knowing it's your lifestyle helps make the tough decisions when you're out and about. However if you constantly deny yourself all things you enjoy this kind of thing will happen.
The other part of veganism for me is showing others that there is an alternative way to living. I think of it as taking a stand in a way. Not in preaching as much as in living. That's partly why I don't get happy-chicken eggs at home. The whole lifestyle of being vegan speaks to others that I'm trying to live in a new world, a world that's already available in some ways but not quite here yet.
My final words are to say: every now and then get your favorite non vegan thing and eat it. Don't even worry about it where it comes from if you have to, just eat it.
I'd like to think that if I ate happy eggs at home I'd be able to resist other eggs in restaurants. But I think we all know the strength of my willpower and realize that that's probably a complete impossibility. Boo.
I think I'm just getting nervous because I've finally gotten to my breaking point with gluten. I knew this day would come just like dairy. It's sad. I don't want to say goodbye to another yummy food group. But I can no longer deal with all the side effects that follow right along my gluten consumption. I'm making dinner with pita bread tonight because it's already planned and that is my farewell. I feel like once gluten is gone combined with my vegan lifestyle, I'll have nothing left to eat, especially in restaurants where I seem to live on veggieburgers...
I'm also get quite nervous for all my travels this summer. It's pretty easy being vegan in NYC and such. I know where to go and what I can eat. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about all these foreign countries. My most horrendous recollection of Spain was the Casa del Jamon (House of Ham) where there are hundreds of carcasses strung from hooks on the ceiling. They'll slice you off some so you can sit at the bar and eat yummy (read: disgusting) tapas. However, they did have marvelous sangria which I consumed copiously whenever there to forget the rotting flesh hanging over my head. I think this experience is where my pre-vegan aversion to ham came from.
Oh well. I will let you know how my gluten-free veganism goes as soon as I begin it tomorrow. I'm debating going out and bingeing on gluten before I have to give it up, but I really don't want to deal with the crazy hives that will produce. Look at me, total addict going out for my last hit. Ridiculous. But yet, I still can't help it.
P.S. If you'd like to hear more of my friend's views on veganism and life, here's a link to his website.