Ruminations on Going Vegan

Currently, my family of four (Dear Hubby, Dear Daughter (10) and Dear Son (6) and little old me) are ovo-lacto vegetarians, however, recent events have got me thinking about going vegan- for myself at the very least and probably encouraging my family in that direction will come into play, as well. A few months ago, I began trying to have as high a percentage of our food as possible be organically grown/produced. I did this as a way of reducing the amount of chemicals my children were exposed to, as well as in order to try not to be part of the problem of factory farms. It made me much more aware of how the animals from which our eggs and dairy products were treated (cage-less/free roaming, grass-fed/vegetarian feed, no antibiotics/genetically modified anything).

I thought I was doing pretty well on the animal treatment front, then some recent events made me think about situations in which males might be considered inconvenient. I decided not to be part of something that effects the bulls and roosters born on the farms that produce my eggs and dairy products, because what do you think happens to most of them? They don’t get to live and lay eggs or make milk, they get slaughtered as poultry and beef. So, while I might not be buying meat, by buying eggs and dairy products, I am still supporting the meat industry anyway. This is my primary inspiration to go vegan. The next bit for me to think about is how…

When Dear Hubby and I went vegetarian about ten years ago, it was a slow process- we took it in steps beginning with my husband’s lifelong dislike of seafood and extending to pork, beef and finally poultry over two something like years. We also made some changes location specific (we ate meat out at restaurants or other people’s houses for a few months longer than we cooked it at home) in order to ease the transition. As the family’s primary cook, I learned first how to convert our diet and pantry and then spread the knowledge of how (what) to serve vegetarian guests to our friends and family. I am planning to approach the change to veganism in the same way. A large part of me wants to change over quickly- now- yesterday, already! But another part of me knows that I have to learn about nutrition and cooking all over again with a vegan diet in mind, just the same way I had to with vegetarianism. This could be especially tricky since I think a vegan diet will be a hard sell for my kids (cheese is kind of their thing, while beans and nuts are really not). So, now I have a plan to follow the same blueprint I used to convert to vegetarianism twelve years ago. I have begun by changing over part-time from milk to rice or soy milk and buying vegan cheese substitute. It’s not much, but it is my beginning. Now, of course I have to figure out how to tell people about the change, which most vegetarians will know involves not just saying that they are making a change, but answering questions about why…

When people asked us ten or twelve years ago why we chose to stop eating meat, we gave various answers- to eat healthier, to lessen our impact on the environment due to factory farming, to not be contributing to the needless deaths of animals, but really it was all of those and something more. The something more that inspired us to go vegetarian was the sum of those reasons as well as a feeling- some kind of indefinable inkling that vegetarianism was just the right choice for us. For the most part, those same reasons will suffice when I explain a choice to be vegan, but I wonder sometimes how hard and far to push my explanations. I have always taught my kids that we think our choices about diet are good for both our family and our planet, but that they should not judge or push others about their diets (and they have both faced being questioned by their peers about what weird food they brought to lunch at school, so they understand why we don’t want them to make other people feel bad about their food choices- especially other kids). Do I give the gentle answers about personal health and environmental responsibility, or do I go into my personal feeling that the oppression of animals, whether I eat them myself or not, should not be something I contribute to? That I can’t stand the idea of contributing to the meat eating culture in any way?

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4 thoughts on “Ruminations on Going Vegan

  1. exuvia says:

    Hi, you entered my tag subscription: “Vegetarian”

    I like the title on your blog. What is the overlord about? Just curious.

    Interesting to see that you manage a family of blogs. Can manage only one myself; and that only occasionally.

    I write – http://www.exuvia.wordpress.com – to stimulate thinking about the way we humans relate to our habitat and fellow creatures; looks like important points you make yourself.

    Family dinner calling!

    Keep up the good writing

  2. Denise says:

    What a great blog! I wish you the best in your adventure! :) I am also a vegetarian but I don’t think I could ever go Vegan. I love my cheese too much. :) I envy those who are vegan. :)

  3. Ginny says:

    Exuvia,

    Hello and welcome. The “overlords” just seemed to go with the whole “world domination” theme. I’m not actually all that militant (as in I don’t let myself push my ideas about food on others, as much as I might want to sometimes) I just liked the name.

    My family of blogs is really just two- one for fiction/poetry and one for my thoughts/opinions (this one).

    Okay, there’s also one I use for the syndication feed and another I use to practice on when I want to change my layout or post something tricky so it doesn’t show up on my real blogs.

    Oh, and that one written by one of my minor characters.

    And one that is meant to be a dedicated story blog fro something I haven’t written yet.

    And I have a Live journal to read protected entries made by some friends.

    Not to mention the Myspace I got on a dare from my husband.

    Maybe I’m a little addicted to blogs. I wonder if there’s a self-help blog for it out there? Maybe I could start one.

    I’ll be stopping by to check out your blog.

    Thanks for commenting,

    Virginia Diaz

  4. Ginny says:

    Denise,

    Howdy and welcome. Also, thank you.

    I’ve been vegetarian for about ten years and too love the cheeses. I just found myself feeling too guilty about how it effects both animals and the environment to keep enjoying the cheeses anymore. If I had my own cow(s) and chicken(s), and could control how they were treated, maybe I could keep eating dairy and eggs, but I don’t, so I can’t anymore.

    Thanks for commenting,

    Virginia Diaz

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