I was vegetarian (straight!) for 3 years before the discussion of veganism ever came up. I’m one of those people that needs time to settle into a routine and feel like I have the hang of things before moving onto another stage and I think I was just at that point when my husband came home with an announcement. He had decided to go vegan. “Have fun!”, I replied. Have I mentioned how amazing I’m not at times? I will, don’t worry.
I actually felt a bit irate, to be honest. Did he have any idea what I had sacrificed to be vegetarian?! What else did he want from me? I already gave up beef jerky and pot roast, for God’s sake! I was happily existing on my egg and cheese sandwiches every day, if I gave that up what would be left? It was like with that one proclamation I had gone back to square one. So I didn’t join him on the journey. He went about his days, as he does, living according to his own set of values and being healthy and vegan without me. It infuriated me. I felt judged even though he told me he supported my views, and I felt guilty every time I ate something in front of him. Something about veganism felt so…smug. So morally superior. I would never go vegan, I swore, and I would just wait for my husband to come to his senses.
We did this song and dance for about a month when one day I had an epiphany. It came in the form of a brilliant podcast by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (one of my all-time favorite people!) and it discussed the best techniques for vegans to employ when it comes to living with, and loving, non-vegans. She talked about aggressiveness from non-vegans (“you can take my cheese from my cold, dead hands”) and how to reassure people that your personal choices are not meant to be an assault on their lifestyle. I felt so guilty at the end of this podcast and it dawned on me that the only thing angering me about my husband’s new lifestyle was just that- guilt. I knew I was doing the wrong thing by not going vegan, I knew the facts, but I was willfully pushing them away in order to not upset my daily life. That was the day I became a vegan.
I know that this might be a little personal, or a little political, for some people but I feel like I need to explain something very important that I realized throughout my own journey: this path is not necessarily the easiest one to follow. I know people, a lot of people, who would disagree or declare me heretical for stating this, but for some of us this is a conscious choice that we live by day-by-day and it does not come naturally or easily. I still crave animal products- I just don’t eat them. I still hesitate when offered my old comfort foods (oh omelettes, why?!)- but I decline. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about living your truth day-to-day, in the best way you can. I can honestly say that this is one of the most important steps I have ever taken in my life and I would do it again in a heartbeat, but I think it’s necessary to note that that doesn’t mean it was always easy. What’s second-nature now was tortuously awkward at first and if you’re one of those people that struggle with the transition, like me, then I want to help you find all of the shortcuts and information that would have made my life sooo much simpler at the beginning!
Veganism, and vegan pregnancy, doesn’t have to be hard. It can be really, really, simple, but it will always be work. Everything worth having comes from hard work. Sorry, are my midwestern roots showing?
Onward into veganism!!!