The desire to adopt a vegan diet has been in the back of my mind for several years. I’ve never followed through, because it is difficult to maintain such a lifestyle where I live. A large part of the local economy is based on the raising and slaughter of livestock animals.
No, I do not consume meats of any variety at all. I’ve been ovo-lacto vegetarian since my teens. That means I include hens’ eggs and dairy products as supplements to the plant based diet. Being this type of vegetarian is a practical and social necessity. It’s quite difficult, in my town, to find the required plant based foodstuffs to ensure a balanced diet. Also, when I’m a dinner guest, I hate to inconvenience the host. I’m stretching the boundaries of good etiquette if I expect the host to prepare a special meal for me, alone.
In my heart, though, there’s an inner vegan struggling to shine through. Sometimes he makes himself known for a week or two until I get tired of closely policing my shopping list. I’ll get a strong urge for some real milk or a sandwich containing real, actual cheese. In any case, to maintain a vegan lifestyle in my town is an expensive luxury. People on limited, fixed incomes find it difficult to sacrifice their food budget to maintain a vegan diet.
There are many busy, famous celebrities who have tried vegan diets. The list includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Peter Egan and Brad Pitt. They are fortunate enough to live in cities where veganism is easier to maintain. They also can afford to employ private chefs who can create tempting, totally plant-based meals.
Now that I’ve listed some of the major obstacles, I should list reasons why a vegan diet looks attractive to me. Some of these raise the ire of farmers and livestock producers in the farm belt of the US.
The most controversial reason is that consumption of meat and dairy requires the raising of animals for slaughter. This aspect adversely affects the environment because this type of production is a leading cause of methane gas. Methane is a dangerous contributor to global climate change. I don’t mention this in the company of farmers because they can get pretty testy about this topic.
The main reason I decided to go vegetarian when I was still a schoolboy, is that I have long had a strong concern for the lives of animals. This is also the reason I think about consumption of dairy. The dairy industry is linked to livestock production. The same can be said about hens’ eggs.
Despite the probable scorn of livestock producers, I’ve long been attracted to vegetarianism for ethical reasons. I enjoy a clear conscience regarding the treatment of animals. I do my best to remain humble about this, because so many people can become quite defensive about their conventional diets. I am not a vegetarian in order to make other people uncomfortable about their own choices.
Veganism has become interesting to me, this time, because of its physical health benefits. Reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease are powerful reasons to go vegan. An all vegetable diet is an effective way to eliminate cholesterol and lower blood pressure, too.
I’m not a young man anymore, so health needs to be a much higher priority. Yesterday, I went online to research sources to help me adjust my food intake. In the process, I stumbled across veganuary.com . Veganuary is an invented name derived by combining vegan with January. Their website states, “As a non-profit organization, Veganuary is dedicated to changing public attitudes, while providing all the information and practical support required to make the transition to veganism as easy and enjoyable as possible.”
The idea is to have people pledge to become vegan for the month of January. Month long pledges help people focus on their goals. January is the month of new beginnings. These aspects help new vegans stay on the path. Even though January is more than half expired, I decided to bookmark their site to use as a resource throughout the year.
Because I don’t live in a large city, I don’t have convenient access to most of the vegan assets that inhabitants of New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles take for granted. I hope that the Veganuary site will help steer me in the direction of a sustainable vegan diet for people in the hinterlands.
I’m going to give this an honest try for 31 days, so I’ll be practicing my own trial well into February. That means the “uary” portion of Veganuary will still be valid. Hopefully, this will be a big boost for my promise to eat more fresh vegetables and fruits and fewer processed foods.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Leo Tolstoy. “A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so, is immoral.”