Here's a portion of a comment by my dear friend Angie who is (among other wonderful things!) an Ironman:
When you don't eat meat or any animal products and people know this, it's as though you are being watched and if you decide you want fish or ice cream...yes, I am close friends with Ben and Jerry, a huge feeling of guilt would consume me. I am learning to get over it. Ninety percent of my diet is raw veggies and I (we) work so hard to eat healthy and KIND...should I beat myself up if I want a little yummy? Some will say, "but you run so much, you can afford to eat that"...but that isn't even what it's about.
She echoes the same feelings I have had many times. Foregoing eating animals should not be a life full of guilty feelings or constant stress. It is a joyful life that helps to set your heart at ease and place it in line with your mind. Step by step, meal by meal, choice by choice - it's a life spent moving toward your best.
It's a good life but it's a fight - no doubt. Most days I am David staring up at the big ol' Goliath of the food industry. It's a battle against focus groups and scientists who are devising 1000 ways to make you fall in love with their genetically modified, fortified, hydrolyzed, hydrogenated and sugar infused foods.
Is it always easy? No.
Am I perfect? No.
Will I ever be perfect? That's an absolute NO.
Instead, I am perfectly imperfect. I eat free range organic eggs every other morning which knocks me out of the Vegan running. I have seen the chickens on this farm and I feel comfortable enough to eat the eggs. It does NOT mean that I forgot that male chicks are culled (electrocuted, gassed or drowned). I know I will give these up too but for now, I am consciously making an imperfect choice.
I don't eat any mammals or fowl but about once every month I might eat fresh fish from the sea down the hill from my house. I don't eat any dairy products - which I consider an accomplishment of epic proportion. Cheese? I loved cheese! But there IS life after cheese and opening my mind to the reality of dairy has made it easy to wave bye-bye! Giving up something I thought I LOVED (cheese!) means more to me that eating a bit of fresh fish if I get stuck. None of this is perfect - it's all about compromise.
Admitting it will never be perfect is the best first step you can take. Just pick something...anything. Cows or pigs, chickens, milk, cheese - and make a commitment to let that animal be. Better yet, sponsor that type of farm animal at a rescue site like Farm Sanctuary or The Gentle Barn. If you love pigs but want to keep eating chickens, you can still help pigs and feel good about it. Everything you do matters. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. It can just be something. It doesn't make you a hypocrite and you have no one to answer to.
If I'm completely honest, this blog has helped to keep me accountable during the rough patches. Some days it would just be easier to head out for dinner with my husband and not have to wonder what they'll have on the menu. Accepting a dinner invitation to a new friend's house wouldn't require a phone call to let them know I'm vegetarian. But as with almost everything, easier does not equate to better.
|No English necessary - they communicate just beautifully!|