16 April 2006

Okay--so I have been vegan for two weeks now, and I love it. I really do. I feel incredible, and I have been eating in a more healthful fashion than ever before. Anyway, I have only had one moment of wanting to eat something not vegan, and that was at a cocktail party where there were these amazing chocolate desserts that were in all likelihood made with dairy. So I satisfied myself by forcing my friend Craig to describe the deliciousness of the chocolate mousse he was eating.

That said, the thing I have noticed about being vegan is NOT how difficult it is to avoid animal products (it isn't that hard at all) or how much one feels deprived (I don't feel deprived one bit) or how difficult it is to eat in restaurants (it is remarkably easy given the cooperation of helpful staff). What I have noticed is that almost all the people who have learned of my veganism respond with a comment about their own eating. Only one person has asked a question. Every other person has said "I could never live without cheese," or "I could never give up ice cream" as if my decision to forgo dairy products somehow comments upon their eating choices. Which of course in some ways it does; yet to me veganism is about so much more than what I don't eat. It is about what I do. I see it as a positive, active mode, rather than a mode of not doing or not eating. It is about making choices that affirm my ethical ideas about animals. Anyway, I find it fascinating that most people immediately defend or rationalize their own eating choices. There have been a few notable exceptions. One of my neighbors said "Good for you!" and proceeded to ask me questions about veganism. My sister also said very enthusiastic things and I appreciate her very much.

I have been reading lots about being vegan, and the best book I've read so far is Vegan Freak, which is the most helpful and amazing guide to being a vegan in a non-vegan world. I love this book--it has answered so many questions for me, and the chapter about dealing with other people is the best. I have to work on being a non-critical, non-judgmental, non-preachy vegan. That is my goal. I have to say that I am very glad I've made this change, and I don't know why I didn't do it a long time ago.

By the way, my original plan was to make March my "transition" month from vegetarianism to veganism. This endeavor began with the lovely fantasy that I would gradually phase out any foods with dairy and egg products and replace them with vegan stuff. Well, certain aspects were executed in a fabulously ideal way--but what I found myself doing in my usual overconsumptive fashion was gorging myself with dairy and cheese for the last week of March. I ate pizza twice, ice cream about three or four times, and pasta with LOTS of parmesan at least five times. So much for gradual phasing out. The idea was a hopeful one, but I was a pure failure at making it happen. But now I'm vegan and I'm very, very happy about it.