I became a vegan last fall when I began yoga teacher training. It was something I'd wanted to try for a long time, and teacher training seemed like a good time to do it. My weekends were about to be taken up with all things yoga, and the temptation of happy hour pizzas and cheese plates would soon be in the past.
I was a strict vegan as far as food goes for a solid seven months. Then I hit a wall. I honestly couldn't explain to anyone — including myself — WHY I was following a vegan diet.
Don’t get me wrong. I know how good for your health most vegan diets are. I realize the positive impact it has on the environment. I’ve watched all the jaw-dropping documentaries, and I’m aware of how poorly animals are treated before they show up on my plate.
What I was having trouble with, though, was figuring out the positive impact it was having on ME.
See, I have a couple of fairly serious pet peeves in life. The first one is going to the grocery store. And the second is, well, cooking. Both stress me out far more than the average person should have to endure. When I say I burned a grilled cheese sandwich last night, I am not remotely exaggerating. When I go into a grocery store, I feel like I’m a mouse in a maze looking for a piece of cheese. It’s a miracle if I can find the cheese I’m looking for! And when you’re on a diet as strict as veganism, hatred for grocery shopping and turning on the stove is a serious problem.
Because I'm useless in the kitchen, it occurred to me I was sometimes consuming crap that’s probably genetically modified and just as bad as anything non-vegan. Tofu, for example. Sometimes, in my fear of the grocery store, I would swing through some place easy (I won’t name names) and grab the tofu they sell. And their veggies. And other things. Sometimes I would get potato chips out of the vending machine at work. And, probably worst of all, is sometimes I would buy something “vegan” that had so many ingredients I could barely pronounce, I wondered how this was considered a better option for me than a lovely piece of fish.
Veganism is certainly not for everyone. I try my best to be responsible with what I buy and consume. I have always eaten a mostly vegetarian diet, and still do, mostly because of the hive-inducing situation in my kitchen. At the end of the day, I have the utmost respect for vegans. It’s not easy. And non-vegans are sometimes judge-y. Big time. I hope you won’t judge me for deciding to listen to my body and do what feels best for ME.