May 20, 2014

Why I Live A Vegan Lifestyle, Part 1

We all have our reasons for what we do (and don't) eat. "I don't like brussels sprouts," "I don't like tomatoes." Personally, our little family doesn't eat meat (including fish,) or animal-derived products (honey, cheese, milk, eggs and so on,) or other various ingredients (some dyes, some flavourings; including "natural flavouring"; palm oil and mannnnnny other ingredients.)

We also, within reasonable limits, live Vegan lifestyles. We never wear or use leather, suede, fur, teeth or other animal-derived items. We don't use any body or cleaning supplies with animal-derived or toxic ingredients, no art supplies with animal-derived or toxic ingredients. And we also avoid parabens and other relatively easily avoidable toxic items like plastic (especially when it comes to storing / eating food and drinking.)

But that's the thing; most people see Veganism as an "avoidance" or "what we don't get" sort of lifestyle rather than a "what we gain!" one. I want to share with my readers what our family has gained from adopting a Vegan lifestyle.

The biggest thing to be gained from living a Vegan lifestyle?
Your health.

But is that why my family and I are Vegan?
Well... yes and no. But mostly no.

In 2006, I stumbled upon PETA. (Side note: I do not agree with everything they do or with the very tactics that made me aware to Vegetarian and then Veganism initially. But I will forever be grateful to them for helping me find something that now is a huge part of mine and my family's lives.) I devoured all of their information and gorey videos. I decided that I was done eating meat. (It wasn't that easy when I had just turned 16; I was mostly alone in my endeavors.) In the beginning of my journey, I would pick the pepperoni off of the school pizzas and still eat them (I know, don't even get me started.) For verification, guys, that is not Vegetarian. That is "I don't want pepperoni but I'm cool with meat juices."

It was really hard as a teenager to be the only Vegetarian person in my school. I refused to dissect frogs one year of science and therefore was given an alternative assignment; to find some sort of alternative. So I found a website that basically was a digital version. Score! I even got to go to the school library each day the class would dissect frogs because I couldn't handle the smell.
Back then, I was a street team member for PETA. I put their stickers and flyers everywhere and was kind of a dick to people that "just didn't get it." Instead of trying to be kind and maybe sway people to the lifestyle that I hadn't even mastered yet, I probably pushed people away. So I do my best as a more knowledgable adult to be a good example of a Veg.

My entire journey has been peppered with foul-ups and "I wish I had known that before!" moments. But I do the best with what I can. (And that's all you can do!) After finding out that some of the foods that I thought were Vegetarian were in fact not, I would stop eating them. Simple as that. And the same goes for being Vegan! (Though we do know that we basically can't eat anything at most restaurants now.)

It's as simple as just doing your research. We don't have smartphones, so we can't research while we're out of the house, but we try to at least take something we can eat with us no matter where we go. The Vegan Woman recently shared a few Vegan apps that will make your life easier, if you want to check that out.

Being Vegan isn't about being perfect. It's about finding what works for you. A lot of people tend to rag on celebrities for eating a Vegan diet but not living a Vegan lifestyle (i.e. wearing fur.) To that, my response is go them! A step in the right direction is just that! In the right direction. We don't immediately become the be-all-end-all "big picture" as soon as we make a lifestyle change. So instead of hating on them for not living a completely Vegan lifestyle, let us applaud them for making change at all!! Discouraging the change because it isn't "as good as it could be" discourages any change at all, as if any amount of change "isn't good enough" until you are "perfect". (As if that is attainable.)

Next Wednesday I'll share more of Our Vegan Story, including the answer to "why I live a Vegan lifestyle", how Veganism changed our health and lives in general and a few basic questions and answers about being a Vegan and living a Vegan lifestyle.

If you have questions that you would like answered in next week's post, please leave them below. (Unkind comments will be removed, thanks for understanding!)

Photo used in post was taken by me. Fonts used were Georgia and Shipped Goods 2. This post is non-commercial.

Note: I need to re-write this series. We still are mostly Vegan, but we do now use local honey, beeswax and humanely gathered wool.
Thanks for reading,

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