On Veganism

During my recent stint at the Clarion West Writers Workshop, I decided to return to veganism. I passed several years as a vegan in the late nineties (which feels odd to refer to as a distinct and past decade), during which time I carried a child to term, worked a stressful job where I barely had time to eat let alone cook, and found myself surrounded by unsympathetic friends and family. To top it off, I lived in a small town where few resources for vegetarians existed, let alone shops and restaurants for individuals living a vegan lifestyle. The internet wasn’t a big part of my life then either, as far as that now-ubiquitous resource is concerned.

At that time in my life, I chose veganism as a strictly ethical consideration. I didn’t wear leather and would essentially go without eating or eat junk to avoid eating animal products.

With all these factors working against me, I eventually gave up veganism and even the less-strict vegetarian path.

So, why go back? Several reasons compel me.

  • I’ve been inspired by fellow Clarionite Lauren Dixon, who is a long-time committed vegan and a positive, upbeat proponent of this choice. I watched her struggle with the controlled setting of the workshop with grace and patience (meals were provided for us, but eventually, several of us opted for local cuisine instead).
  • Living in Seattle made it easy to be vegan because of the easy availability of food choices. I was able to transition back with relative simplicity in that environment.
  • My family and friends are supportive now. Some of this has to do with the fact that I have better friends than before, and the rest has to do with desire on the part of family members to eat healthier.
  • It feels right, physically. I ate a lot of meat in the first week or so of the workshop because it was constantly provided, and my health suffered. When I switched, that changed. I just plain feel better.
  • And lastly, I’ve returned to veganism because I can. I live in the same dinky town, but resources have expanded. I’ve educated myself more, and I’m more responsible about my health than before (ie, I’m not trying to live off of fries and candy anymore).

Overall, it feels like the right thing to do, and I’m glad I made that choice. The hold-out, but not a deal-breaker, is Mr. B, whose penchant for mac and cheese has yet to be tamed by non-dairy options. But I’m working on it.

You can follow my vegan exploits, along with a those of a few buds of mine, on Twitter. Sometimes, there are even pictures.

13 thoughts on “On Veganism”

  1. Yay for support and sympathetic friends! I hope that this lifestyle will just get easier for you–and I’m glad I helped! Love to you, Tracie.

    Also, has Mr. B tried Amy’s mac n cheese (the gluten & dairy free one)?–it’s made with rice pasta and Daiya cheese and is vegan. *I* kinda love it, but he may hate it. Worth a shot?

  2. You’ve gotta do what works for you. I, personally, could never convert. I love my junk food and meat. I did however enjoy that wonderful vegan calzone a couple weeks ago. Thanks.

    1. Ah, my friend. I know how much your hamburgers mean to you. 🙂

      But you’re still supportive of my choices, and I appreciate that! And I love that you were brave enough to do Ethos with me.

    1. You know, I do feel better, in a bodily sense. Maybe it’s a psychological difference, but I feel lighter. Getting more veggie has made me more regular (which is important, let’s face it). And I’ve lost a few pounds, but I easily balance that whole thing out by indulging in fried potatoes and sorbet.

      There have been a few other noticeable changes, but I’m chalking those up to stress and a recent change of living situation.

      Overall, a very good thing.

      1. You’ve lost weight? Where? From your pictures on your pages here you look like a strong wind could send you to Oz! Yikes!

        1. Losing weight was not a goal for me, but one particular overweight friend of mine was very pleased with that outcome after switching to a vegan diet.

          Not all vegan choices are healthy, you know? I went on a tater tot binge just last week. But generally speaking, it’s a food-conscious way to live and a much more health-conscious option.

  3. I am not morally opposed to vegan food, but neither am I opposed to meat. I suspect that, if we didn’t eat cows, there would be no cows. No I don’t condone the conditions they are kept in, but I always treat my meat very well when I cook it, so maybe that evens out. No?

    As the last hole on my already long belt can tell you, I like all food. Good luck with it, though, Tracie.

    1. I do have moral objections to factory farming, but my main focus for my diet right now is health. I feel good about what I’m eating, and about eating consciously. I suspect that I’m somewhat hypoglycemic, and I’ve spent many years shoving whatever food was at hand into my body without much thought. This seems like a better way to live.

      Rounding the corner towards forty has got me thinking, too, about how much damage I’ve done my body with all the marathon role-playing sessions fueled by nachos, pizza and soda.

      But I really LOVE food, and I do miss cheese. Sigh. I really miss cheese.

      1. Cheese. Yes. I think that’s why I would have so much trouble adopting a vegan diet! 😀 I truly love my cheese, and it comes in such tantalizing and infinite variety.

        Eating healthy is important, and you and Lauren have been a big influence on me. I’m eating a lot less meat, and feeling none the poorer for it. Truly there are some awful problems associated with factory farming, but that applies to meat and veg as well. What I’ve been trying to do is pay attention to what I eat and where I buy it. And as much as possible, enjoy the things I love without leaving too big a footprint behind me.

        That said, kudos to you! You’re feeling great and making thoughtful decisions on what you eat. That’s something to be celebrated, for sure.

  4. Thanks for the encouragement! I’m glad you’re eating healthier.

    I like your philosophy concerning the footprint. There certainly are unethical practices associated with mass production; I have concerns about workers’ rights, and even in an agricultural location like Florida, it can be a struggle to eat locally.

    And I sure do miss putting down a basket of beer-battered curds with you.

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