When In Doubt

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.” -Tolstoy

The inspiration for Green Light Vegan was exciting and surprising, but I sometimes get caught up in the smaller details and lose sight of the original reason why I wanted to start it up. Finding the drive to stay vegan and active is difficult at times, though, even for someone who loves animals as much as I do.

I had a short period where I began to think about all of the non-vegan food I miss. I was focusing on those foods and not on the huge array of delicious vegan food I already love, plus those I have not even tried yet. I would think about how it would be okay for me to have one non-vegan day once in a while to indulge in what I missed. I deserved it because I had been doing a big part in protecting animals, right? It’s not that easy.

I’m a firm believer that vegans do deserve a break sometimes, but not at the expense of what they are fighting for. It’s better to be vegan most of the time than none of the time, but each person needs to make the best effort they can. Caving in and grazing on non-vegan foods is counterproductive. It leaves a wishy-washy impression of veganism on non-vegans and they will not get the message we strive to convey. Being vegan isn’t completely about “converting” other people, but vegan education and outreach is a huge part of it. It also takes our bodies time to adjust to being vegan and “forget” the other foods. Aside from possibly not feeling well after eating something your system is not used to, it may reactivate cravings and make staying vegan harder on you.

After my fleeting thoughts of giving myself some “treats”, I found motivation and it couldn’t have come in a better way. At a county fair, I hesitantly entered a barn area in which cows, sheep, and goats were being visited. Being able to see these animals so close and look into their eyes really moved me. In a subtle way, they are no different than my own cats who I consider friends and family. My motivation to remain vegan returned and it is now deeply-rooted.

Being vegan is comparable to being in a relationship. If you truly want it to work, you’ll make it work and find ways to re-motivate yourself when you’re having trouble. A good start is remembering exactly why you wanted to become vegan in the first place. A while back, I made a list of the reasons why I wanted to eat compassionately and a general list of the vegan foods I love. Every once in a while, I re-read these to keep them fresh in my mind. For me, the bottom line is this: We share this planet with other beings who came about in the same manner we did. We have no “rights” over them, nor “superiority”.

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” still applies if the others are not human. Animal Farm, anyone? :-p


~ by Katherine Cota MacDonald on August 19, 2009.

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