Monday, 2 January 2012

Part Four of the 'Vegan Series': A Lifestyle.

Thanks for checking in with us here at Chasing Roman and welcome to the Vegan Series, Part Four: A Lifestyle.

If you'd like to read parts one, two and three then just click on the 'vegan' tag at the bottom of this post and press 'older posts' to read back. They're filled with facts, fun and food!

So, without further ado, I want to say that for me being vegan is more than just what I eat. It's a lifestyle for the rest of my life. I can't imagine putting meat or animal products into my body ever again. Why? Well, to make it really simple and easy to read, I made a list.

1. I don't want to eat those things. It might sound simple, but it's anything but simple. It would just be so easy to eat meat. Or it would be in terms of things to buy and places to eat out, when it comes to cooking being vegan is far easier. Also, for me, being vegan tastes better. I can taste my food. 

2. Roman is watching everything I do. If we're both unhealthy and eating poorly, it would be no surprise if he became an adult who ate poorly and became unhealthy, too. More often than not, this happens. For me it was easier to be unhealthy when I ate dairy and meat. There was more choice, so more junk foods to eat. Now obviously you can get vegan junk foods, but the options are smaller. 

The options are even smaller when you decide you're not going to buy those things and bring them into the home (which has been our choice) and when you're not too crazy about 'treats' for the kids and allow them some freedom of choice, then they will make smart decisions. My choice is to eliminate 'junk' foods for myself, from my home and my body, except on odd occasions (at which point I can only eat so much.) 

So, do you have to be vegan to do this? Absolutely not. Everyone and anyone can do this. I just choose to be vegan because it gives me a better chance of success at eating well. 

3. Animal cruelty. I know that most human beings are compassionate beings. I know that we don't want to do harm to other beings and I also know that the majority of people I know would say if they had to kill their meat, they wouldn't eat it. For me it's a matter of survival. If I had to eat meat to survive, I would do it, but hopefully I won't find myself in that position.  

As it stands we have the luxury to choose. To choose what goes on our plates and into our bellies and I choose veganism. You might not be ready or even desire to choose that, but I know you can make a better choice for you, your family and those generations waiting in the wings of our futures - and our children's futures. 

And, unfortunately so, animal cruelty seems to be abound in the farming practices with factory farming. 

Our social behaviour towards food seems to be more positive, but more needs to happen so that we're guaranteed and geared up for completely cruelty free food - because, let's face it, veganism isn't the desire of everyone. But having animals free of infections, pumped full of hormones and not being cramped into tiny spaces is probably a greater desire and a goal that's realistic.

4. Being vegan is who I am. It's a huge part of me. For 6 years now I have followed this lifestyle and it's a part of my whole life. When I decided to follow a vegan lifestyle I made that choice seeing how it felt for me. I didn't plan long term because I'm not good at sticking to goals. 6 years later here I am, saying it's a part of me and that I wouldn't swap that. Why should I? It works and makes sense for me. I feel more at home with myself, more at peace. Why would I take that security away?

5. My family is vegan. And with that, there is a massive support. Before I married, it was just me. At the start of my veganism I felt I had something to prove but the truth is that I don't have anything to prove, I can be an example just by the way I live my life, I don't need to shout my beliefs from the rooftop. 

With my family being vegan I would find it selfish to suddenly change the dynamics of that - sure, if I wanted to, I could eat meat. But I don't want to and I don't see the point of everyone eating three separate meals. What a waste of money, time and energy we can spend together rather than cooking, cleaning and preparing just so we can eat. Being vegan means less time is spent in the kitchen and more time enjoying, tasting and appreciating our mostly made from scratch meals. I notice a huge difference in the taste of most food if it's cooked from a packet versus cooked from fresh, tasty and wholesome ingredients.

Of course, every family can have that, you do not need to be vegan, but this is what works for us. I just know if one of us was to suddenly start eating meat and dairy that it would spell disaster because we've only ever lived as two, and now three, vegans under one roof. And I've lived in mixed meat eating and vegan households. It's definitely easier to live as a group, in unity and harmony than to divert from what works.

In short, being vegan is more than what I eat. It's about every part of my lifestyle, it has an effect on nearly every part of my life because I am conscious of the effects and how different things would be without this lifestyle. I was always a deep thinker and a little girl who asked a lot of questions.

I grew into an adult who thought so hard and deep about her food choices. I grew into an adult who was not comfortable about eating meat and then became increasingly disturbed by the dairy industry and it's processes. And now my choices fit perfectly into my life.

I am careful but not religious about finding vegan make-up and other cosmetics, but it's not always practical or financially possible. I plan on changing that in 2012 and working a bit harder on that part of my life as it's something I can only try, just as I tried to become vegan in 2006 and was successful. 

As for clothes and other things I have around my home: I am always careful to choose vegan clothes. After all, these materials are going against my skin and I'd rather not feel the hide of a cow or sheep up against my skin. 

If I'm choosing not to eat meat, I need to choose not to wear dead animals against my skin and it's something I haven't struggled with as clothes aren't ridiculously priced - if you're going to shop on vegan designer websites then yes, they may well be expensive, but I just as easily buy from the shops I bought from before. I don't buy Uggs and it's no loss to me. 

Tune in next time for a totally different Vegan Series.

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