Ello all, it's been what, five weeks.
Little in the way of developments I suppose. Turned 30 a few weeks back of course, and it was awesome to see so many friends. Been puttering along with fixing the attic (have to kick it into high gear), and we still haven't decided on the daughter's name.
Just wanted to babble on about something for a bit. I hope no one will feel I'm being judgmental, but I honestly can't understand why anyone would stop being a vegetarian/vegan, or at least someone who has been one for any length of time.
I very much do understand why people who have always been carnivorous, say, keep their diet, even when they feel guilty about it. Habits are a hard thing to break, especially ingrained ones from childhood. I remember in middle school before really I stopped eating meat, I decided a few times to become a vegetarian, and promptly forgot and ate something I shouldn't have. It takes a lot to break the cycle of repetition, a lot more than merely the intellectual resolution that I thought my actions were wrong and personally wanted to change.
Once I made the switch though, I never looked back. Meat looked absolutely disgusting to me initially, but now (unless I smell it cooking) my mind doesn't even recognize it as being food. Dairy products never turned my stomach in the same way, but there is really no residual appeal there either. A few years before becoming vegan, I sometimes went months without eating things like ice cream and cheese, and I found when I tried them again just before becoming vegan, I just didn't like them at all anymore. I found ice cream, for example, to taste like tofutti, except with an awful film left in my mouth once I was done.
I have gone through, however, times of what I can only call existential crisis over my diet. Where, on an intellectual level, I've wondered what difference my diet ultimately makes in the world, and if I was only keeping to being vegan out of sheer momentum. I never felt any real temptation to eat anything non-vegan however, so every time this has happened the feeling passed within a few months, and I felt a renewed...faith...in my choices in life.
In the end, I think being a successful vegan boils down to a few things.
1. Personally speaking, I am a very rigid, black-and-white person, for whom willpower has always been important. For no particular reason I didn't drink coffee between the ages of nineteen and twenty-five. One day, I just decided I didn't like it anymore (after drinking it regularly in high school), and just stopped. And as time passed, I became more proud of the fact I could say I hadn't drank any coffee in X number of years. Eventually I had it again in an Ethiopian restaurant. I think I've drank it four times since then. Actually, I originally became a vegan only because I was sure that I could be one for a year and not break edge, and I guess it's stuck now for 13 years. Heh.
2. I think being part of a small minority appeals to me. My brother became a vegan the exact same time as me, but he stopped after two years. He stopped because he was tired of feeling alienated. I replied, in all seriousness "That's the best part!" Being so unpopular when growing up affected me in some profound ways. In order to survive, I ultimately came to believe that the only opinion that mattered was my own self-opinion. Because of this, giving in to any peer pressure, or being similar to anyone else, or even changing, would mean being untrue to myself. I've moderated with time, but I really do enjoy that I eat different things from most people, that I shop at co-ops, that I go out to different restaurants. There's no part of me which really wishes he could sit down and have a normal meal at a T.G.I.Fridays, any more than there is no part of me which wants to read Stephen King novels, watch Adam Sandler movies, and listen to...shit, I don't even know popular music anymore.
3. I think a lot of people stop because they miss something they ate years ago. I've never felt that way, since food for me is about experimentation, not comfort. Indeed, if there's anything about being vegan I sort of regret, it's that there are so many bizarre, gross foods to the eyes of westerners I won't be able to try. Still, that's only an intellectual concern.
I really hope this didn't come across as a diatribe. I've tried my whole adult life not to be the preachy vegan, because there's nothing I hate more than people who are sanctimonious, except perhaps that combined with hypocrisy. But I know at least a half dozen of you have "broken edge" at some point or another. And I'd honestly like to hear, with an open mind why, because it seems so personally alien to me. Probably it shouldn't surprise me though, any more than it surprises me anyone can find watching sports enjoyable.