Thursday, May 1, 2008

Inspiring Change

I really needed to read the post, "You Can Do It. Really, You Can," on Elaine Vigneault's awesome blog that acknowledges how challenging it can be for many people to stop consuming animal products:

Every now and then I have one of those moments where I realize what it must be like for meat-eaters to go vegetarian or vegan. The most recent moment was when I read Mary Martin’s suggestion a week ago:

Stop buying products made with corn. You may have already done that. I’d also add rice to the list of products not to buy. Even wheat."

My first reaction was: WHAT!? I CAN’T DO THAT!

I felt like she was telling me to cut out half my diet. What the hell would I eat...

And then I realized that’s what it feels like to meat-eaters when someone suggests they go vegetarian or vegan...

You can do it. Really, you can. It will get easier the longer you do it. There are just two ways to transform your diet: quickly or slowly. It’s your choice. Do whichever feels comfortable to you.

As I said in the comments to this post, I've come along way. I've gone from eating meat every day of my life--sometimes several times a day--to not touching the stuff and I've maintained that way of life for over a year. I've gone from saying, "I'll never be vegan. Need cheese too much," to saying, "OK, I really want to do this because it's right for me," and envisioning what I'd be like as a vegan. From saying, "Well, maybe I'll buy leather shoes because I don't live near Moo Shoes," to returning a pair of unworn, just purchased leather flats because, on second thought, the idea of wearing newly bought dead animal just out of convenience seemed unthinkable.

Lately I've really been struggling with whether or not I could be vegan, feeling like I'm missing some chromosome other vegans seem to have. Brian and I went into a fancy food shop in Princeton this past weekend and, though I didn't even glance at the meat counter and found its contents tragic, I looked longingly at all the pastries full of butter, eggs, and cheese. I felt self-pity at the thought of never being able to eat a grilled cheese sandwich or putting cow's milk in my Earl Grey tea again. But I know that there's an abundance of food for me to eat that doesn't involve animals suffering. I know that almost all the great changes in my life have taken time, dedication, and focus. I know that I usually get what I want and do what I feel is right in my heart. I may meander in getting to where I know I want to be. But I know I'll do it and look back and remember when I was scared and just smile, knowing there wasn't much to fear after all.

Mutual Menu is giving away one copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. To enter to win and for more details, please leave one comment here.


Sky said...

Thanks, Joselle. This made me recognize how far my husband has come toward veggie-land and appreciate his efforts even more. As for the list of not-to-buy items, I have recently added corn and soy. I rarely eat wheat but, goddamn, bread and Earth Balance is my vice sometimes. :)

Jennifer said...

Hey -- this is in response to this comment "What I’m wondering is, where is the line between hijacking a movement that isn’t yours and truly being interested in dismantling all forms of oppression?" at IBTP -- the book that cleared this up for me was Friere's Pedagogy of the Oppressed. It gives a very clear, and not very enjoyable (from the "Hey, I want to help!" person's point of view) story about how to find out what the people you think you (and I) are trying to help might actually want.

Joselle said...

Hey Sky,

Bread is wonderful.

Is corn on the cob bad or just corn byproducts? Because I love me some grilled corn on the cob and won't be giving that up anytime soon!

Hi Jennifer, thanks for mentioning that book.

Sky said...

I do love some corn on the cob too, but only when I can get it organic and local. Corn is quickly becoming as linked to the government as oil, and besides being not that great for you, it is now genetically modified and hybridized up to wazoo. Yes, that is a technical term.