I can’t remember when I decided to go vegetarian. How long has it been now? I think I gave meat up back in March. It’s hard to say because it was all such a natural progression and there has been no struggle that I really can’t remember when I made the switch. Hmmm…
Well anyway. The next phase of my journey is here and now. From the beginning, I had wanted to go vegan, but I recognized however many months ago that doing so would mean taking a leap so big, one which I would not successfully be able to jump. So I settled with vegetarianism, despite the fact that there was a nagging in the back of my mind saying, “This isn’t enough.” I couldn’t truly justify giving up only the flesh of an animal, yet still consume milk and eggs and other by-products that I knew full well weren’t procured in a humane fashion.
But again, I knew I couldn’t sustain a vegan diet immediately. So I let it stay in the back of my mind and continued to occasionally consume eggs, cheese, yogurt and even some seafood. Until I came across this link. After clicking around and watching their slide shows here, I knew it was time. I had a strong hold on my vegetarianism. I had a strong reason for doing what I was doing. And now, it was staring me in the face. The time to go vegan was upon me. I was so disturbed. I couldn’t watch those clips, read that information, and go back to doing what I was doing. There were no more excuses.
Now comes a time of transition for me. A time for new awareness. The biggest thing I realize is that becoming vegan is not only going to change my habits, but change my life. This is a commitment, this is now a defining part of who I am, because it affects so many areas in my life. What I eat, what I wear… I even find myself conflicted at work now as I go through gallon upon gallon of milk to serve in peoples’ lattes day in and day out. I love my job and I am nowhere near even considering quitting, partly because I can’t do without the checks. But how long before it becomes too much to support?
The fact is, I have to look at life through new eyes now. Animal by-products are all over the place, in more than just our food. I have to see everything for what it truly is. I have to stay informed. I have to do my research. I have to be able to back myself up, because already, I have taken some slack for making the switch. There’s only one thing I’d like to say about this, and then I intend never to address it again unless pushed to do so.
Going vegan is MY decision for MYSELF. While it is now something that I will reflect upon often, think about even more and incorporate into the core of my being, I have no intentions of trying to persuade anyone else to do the same. Similarly, I am not out to act pretentious or holier-than-thou by talking about this as much as I probably will be doing. This is a journey of the self. I will judge no one who does not subscribe to the same philosophy as me. I know what does not sit well with MYSELF. So I can only hope that as I respect the decisions of others, so may my decisions be respected, too. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
Now, on the issue of health. This is not research left undone either. I do recognize that I will have to be very careful on this journey, to make sure that I stay healthy and receive all the best nutrition I can give myself. Fortunately, after going vegetarian I started a regular vitamin routine, and there are only 2 other vitamins recommended for vegans that I will need to add into my system. In my commitment to ahimisa (non-harming), I am including myself. I will not undertake this new lifestyle at the sake of my well-being.
Having made this decision truly puts my soul into a new place of ease. This is the right choice for me. I feel as though I am connecting to my authentic self. This is the true journey I am on, the journey of living authentically.
As I go through my days, my studies, my inquiries, I continue to discover my dharma. To connect with this, to travel this path unwavering, this is to know liberation within myself.