Becoming Vegan

I’m not good at letting go. I know I’ve said this before, but I always struggle with change. I collect things. I collect lots of useless things because I don’t want to throw away a part of my life. I collect mugs, tea cups, toilet paper and tissues, badges, food packets, books I’ve never read, rubbers, pencils, socks, shirts that no longer fit… I have the same three posters on my wall since five years ago. I still always pick the same colour toothbrush. And yet again I have come to a point in my life where I have to change. It’s a positive change, but I’m still scared. But I’m going to do this. I know the younger version of me would be proud of my choice. I’m going to become vegan.

I’m writing this post now because I have failed myself. I decided to stop eating meat and fish before dealing with the eggs and lactic products (did you know some people are addicted to cheese?). I thought it would be much harder than it was, but I managed to maintain my composure in front of the delicious food I could no longer eat during three weeks. On the first day of the fourth week, my sister’s boyfriend made sushi. I had informed him earlier about my new eating habits, so he kindly made some maki with vegetables for me. And then I saw the salmon. I told myself to ignore it and just eat what I could eat. I tried to focus on the rice and soya sauce, but I couldn’t look away. I love the salmon’s colour, its texture, its taste. I reminded myself of the moral reasons of why I became vegetarian and promised myself I wouldn’t touch it. But then I looked up and when I saw nobody was looking, I darted my chopsticks towards the sushi and swallowed it down. And another. And yet another. I never remember feeling so ashamed of myself in my whole entire life. To punish myself I swallowed some wasabi. I screamed a swearword in my head and excused myself from the table as soon as I finished eating. What’s worse is that I ate the salmon because nobody was looking. I ignored the pain and life of the animal that had been murdered and acted upon my own selfish desires. I was much more worried about what the other people would think of me than the morals behind my initial decision.

But I’ll try again. And again. And as many times as I need to until I finally manage. I won’t succumb again to the power of the tastiness of salmon. Becoming vegan will be a process for me, a goal that will need a lot of strength and will-power. But I know it’s worth it and I know I want to do it. I know I can do it if I keep that in mind.

I promise it won't happen again.

I promise it won’t happen again.

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10 thoughts on “Becoming Vegan

  1. Relax. Think 95% is OK. You don’t need to be a perfect vegan (my preference is vegetarian, and I eat vegan about 50% of my meals, vegetarian 90%, and fish once or twice a week for dinner to keep the peace with my partner).
    In the scheme of things, 95% is pretty good (one oops every week), and then you don’t have to beat up on yourself. It doesn’t mean you are not a vegan, it just means you are not rigid and accept that sometimes it is OK to be flexible.

    • On the one hand, I think vegan policing generally does more harm than good, which is why I am pretty relaxed on the honey issue with regards to other people even though I try to avoid honey myself … on the other hand, like the majority of vegans, I am in the ‘if you sometimes *choose* to eat cheese [i.e. it is not something compelled by forces beyond your control] you are not really vegan’ camp.

      There are multiple reasons for being vegan, but with regards to ethics-based veganism … would you say that if you only steal stuff once a week, you’re not really a thief? (Of course, there is an ethical difference between, say, stealing life-saving medicine which cannot be obtained any other way for the purpose of saving a life, and the example of stealing a figurine in the “Offensive Friends” post – it goes back to whether it is a choice or an action compelled by other forces).

      That said, beating oneself up is not constructive to the purpose of helping animals.

  2. When making the transition to veganism, it helps if you can move your thoughts from ‘I must not eat [non-vegan food]’ to ‘I can’t wait to have more [vegan food]’. One of the best pieces of advice I got was to discover a new vegan food every single day – this can keep you very busy discovering (hopefully delicious) vegan food.

    Perhaps this would be a good time to learn about shojin ryori? I’ve skimmed through this blog post series on shojin ryori, and it seems to be a good introduction to me:

    http://www.tofugu.com/2012/10/23/shojin-ryori-cooking/

    Like any kind of food, inferior shojin ryori can be, well, inferior, but I cannot dispute the claim that properly prepared shojin ryori is the most delicious food on the planet.

    • That’s true! Lately I’ve been discovering so many delicious recipes and food I didn’t know even existed before. I’ll see if I can make some Shojin Ryori. Thanks for the advice.

  3. In making large changes in eating habits, I find that it is best to do it gradually, giving yourself at least several weeks with each new food you cut out. When I cut out dairy, I had a bisque – totally forgetting that, oh yeah, that’s made with cream, for example. Yes, this was a choice you made, but you also felt your consequence. Perhaps giving yourself a timeframe in which you are learning about new foods, trying new recipes, etc. – it’s a little easier to recognize that you slipped up in a time of transition. It happens to all of us.

    And thank you for writing about it and sharing it – it’s one way to de-stigmatize it and point out how silly our culture of guilt and shaming is.

  4. Congratulations on being vegan!! XD I just became vegan a month ago, for a challenge called Veganuary (to be vegan for the duration of January) and I’ve decided to stay vegan even though the challenge is over… well, for as long as possible. I can’t imagine never eating halloumi again! But I’m not a strict vegan. I think that it’s okay to give into the OCCASIONAL craving, if you feel it will improve your quality of life, you know? Just so you’re not constantly in want of something you can’t have. But you can’t get into the habit of doing it too much because then it will just spiral out of control 🙂 Also, I’ve decided that if someone cooks for me without knowing I’m vegan (because I’ve forgot to tell them or something), I’ll still eat the food.

    My biggest fear is that people will use my veganism as an excuse not to have to invite me round for dinner 🙂

    Don’t beat yourself up about the salmon!! That is so funny that you punished yourself by swallowing wasabi afterwards.

    Jamila x

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