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.