Striking a balance: what kind of vegan to be?

lamb

Oddly enough, one of the things I’m struggling with becoming vegan is how to act in my daily life. It is something I’ve been having a tough time with even in terms of writing this blog, thus the reason why I have gone quiet of late. Should I be the dedicated preacher? The informed educator? The impassioned extremist? Quiet and tolerant, doing my own thing? Perhaps none and all of the above…

When I was first smashed over the head with the waves of passion that prompted me to give up meat and stand up against animal cruelty, I went all-in, guns a-blazing, making sure everyone heard what I was doing, all in the vain and naive attempt to get people to “convert” right along with me. My blog was an excellent platform, I told myself, to ensure that people knew not only how I was feeling, but the depths of the atrocities that occur (in full, living, bleeding colour). Surely if I posted enough informative and eye-opening material, if would be a no-brainer to get everyone on-side with this important task of ditching their traditional habits and embrace a new, healthy and compassionate way of living. Right?

Well, I pride myself on being reasonably observant and respectful of where people are at and while I was initially overly gung-ho, I’ve quickly realised that I need to take this much slower. While I am still madly passionate on this topic on the inside, I’ll have to squeeze out my information-sharing in controlled doses, letting my conviction and own experiences try to let others see how where I’m coming from can be doable to them over time if they believe it is right for them as well. Another thing I need to realise is that people are repelled to change by people who are in their face about it, pushing too hard or being “forced” to learn a new perspective, especially with a subject as touchy as food. Finally, being tolerant or where others are at and non-judgemental of their actions even if I don’t believe what they are doing is right, by my standards.

So what kind of vegan do I want to be? I obviously want to be faithful to my reasons for doing it in the first place (compassion for animals, environmental concerns, and personal health); I want people close to me to understand and respect what I am doing but also be willing to be open to listening and learning and changing as well; I’d like to be proud of what I’m doing and therefore promote it in a confident but dignified and democratic way; and I’d like to be someone who goes beyond just eating differently but also volunteers or involves myself directly in the helping of rescued animals or protecting environments where animals are at risk of losing their rights or lives.

This blog will continue to be my voice to show my personal progress on my journey and try to provide information that people I know will hopefully occasionally read/watch and be involved as well.

I’ve struggled a lot with casting judgement on people who refuse to change their habits when they know how much damage those habits are contributing to the issue of high-production animal-based agriculture, but I am learning that traditions and habits are often hard-wired into who we are from an early age. From influential parents, peers, expectations, plus media and advertising, we are told many things that are actually false or have critical information buried from view to make us think things are different than what they are. However, I cannot condemn people who have this hard-wiring anymore than I could be angry with myself as for all my 42 years until now, as I believed the exact same things and was victim to the same propaganda.

The following video that I came across recently is an excellent resource for anyone who has either flirted with the idea of going vegetarian or vegan, is curious about the idea or is starting to feel that there is something seriously wrong with our meat-eating society and wants to learn more. Intended for high school students originally, this brilliant talk eases you into the logic behind “going vegan” without being too aggressive with scary visuals. Basically the ABCs of how we’ve been conned into thinking we want and need meat.

I naturally believe that this sort of video is mandatory viewing for any and everyone, but I suspect a very small number of people will take the plunge. If you are willing to have your eyes opened and allow yourself to engage in a very important message, then you will be very thankful you did….!

I believe that resources like this will help people expand their vision on what being a vegan is all about without them all coming from me. There is a wealth of influential material out there that I hope to share and all I ask that you respect why I am offering it up and have a willingness to give it some consideration.

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