Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Going Vegan Part 2

I recently received a reader request. I love those! My reader/friend asked me to share a little bit about my journey into veganism. I am happy to oblige in a series of posts spread over the next week or so, leading up to an announcement in the vegan vein. Here is part 2 of my vegan journey:

"Just try it," she whispered. Her salt and pepper hair waving in the air currents from the overhead heaters. I shifted uncomfortably in my chair. I didn't know what she thought was happening right then. I wondered why she had invited me out to lunch in the first place. Was she testing me? " I won't tell a soul. Just try a bite," an awkward pause followed.

I looked down at her fork full of gorgonzola cheese as she pushed it in my direction. My mind was racing. First, and foremost I wondered why she thought I'd eat right off of her fork---the one that she had just shoved into her own mouth, dripping salad dressing out of the corners of her chapped lips. I knew she'd recently had a cold.  I worked with her every day, but she was nothing more than an acquaintance who liked to over share about her hysterectomy. Now, I am not a germophobe, but that was off putting. The next and more pressing thought I put to words, "But I am a vegan. I don't eat cheese."

"It will be our secret. Besides, this cheese is just too good to pass up." She waved the fork of cheese around as though I were supposed to be tempted. I politely declined and she shrugged as she put the fork full of cheese into her mouth, rolling her eyes upward to emphasize just how great her cheese tasted. The whole encounter had left a bad taste in my mouth and it was not the first time a thing like this had happened.

A few months earlier a friend had tried to test Eric with a non-vegan beer. We also were barraged by random quizzes about veganism and what the "rules" were/are. We'd find ourselves peppered by questions like:
  • What about animal testing? I do my best to avoid supporting companies that are involved in animal testing, but sometimes it is hard to know.
  • What about driving? You know you hit bugs while driving in your car? Yep, it sucks. Wish there was a way to avoid it, but I don't lose  sleep over it---because that kind of thinking will make a person crazy.
  • Would you kill and eat a cow if you were stranded on an island with no food? I don't know. Maybe. Would you?
  • What about foods that are processed in a facility that also processes non-vegan foods? Eric and I have chosen to ignore that business, but other vegans may choose differently.
  • Did you know that car tires are not vegan? Yep, lots of stuff isn't vegan. Eric and I just do our best to avoid causing suffering for others.
  • Can you eat_____? I can eat anything. Being vegan is a choice for me.
  • What happens if you swallow a bug? I feel bad for the suicidal bug and move on with my day.
  • Will you nurse your children? Of course! I have successfully nursed both of my girls (Elise is still nursing). Human milk is best for human babies. Cow milk is best for baby cows.
Sometimes these questions came/come from a place of genuine curiosity and I am more than happy to answer those types of questions, but other times these questions come from the Vegan Police. Have you heard the term? Most vegans know it. The term refers to anyone vegan or non-vegan who  tries to catch someone being not vegan enough.

Ultimately being vegan is a choice that I make each and every day. I do it because I want there to be less suffering in the world. I do it because it is healthy. I do it because I feel it is the right choice for me. I am no longer concerned about the Vegan Police, there are no rules for vegans...we are just people trying our best.


Stacy said...

Really, people ask about nursing? That's the odd one to me. (Yeah, because the being trapped on an island with only a cow wasn't weird at all.....) It's a choice. I don't know why people can't support and understand that.

Kate said...

A} "Would you kill and eat a cow if you were stranded on an island with no food?" What the heck island has a cow but no food? Where'd the cow come from? What does IT eat?
B} When i was a vegan, I remember a particularly pushy shoe salesperson. "But it's only leather on the bottom." And a waitress who was perplexed by what constituted meat, "Yeah, but it's just bacon. I mean bacon is ok, right?"

Honestly, I'm struggling in this return to veganism because of the cheese. i do so love cheese.

Anonymous said...

To those people who ask about the island thing... I look at them and say, "If I am ever in that situation, I'll call you up on my cellphone and let you know"
I let them think about that for a little while... LOL

Kirsteen Murray said...

I can't believe people would ask about nursing either! Or most of the other questions actually, but especially that one!

Caitlin said...

Maria, I am loving the series! My husband and I are just launching a vegan food biz here in Wilmington, NC!

I feel like veganism is growing, and I look forward to giving Melody a sense of community as we meet other vegan families. I daydream about sending her to vegan sleep away camp one day! She and Elise would be in the same bunk since they're only a month apart! Woohoo!!


Maria Rose said...

Thanks for all of the feedback. Yes, I have been asked about nursing a lot!

Caitlin, we may have to meet up next time I am in NC I have a brother living in Durham.

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