The Fourth Rough and Tumble Week of Being a Vegan

This week I went back to many of my old habits and yet found that I have continued to implement some of my new discoveries from the vegan diet. I avoided meat and eggs for the most part, but satisfied my sushi and salmon cravings. I had yogurt in my granola and ate slices of cheese with wine for the first time in months. I savored every bite and had a whole new appreciation for food without attachment. I’m not addicted to food and it is not on the forefront of my mind for the first time in a long time.

I’m on a quest to experiment with cooking, finding new ways to cook vegetables and whole grains. I made a new curry lentil dish and Thai green curry. I brought the crock-pot out of the cabinet so that I could cook in the summer without using the oven.

This is my path of self-discovery; I am never going to stop experimenting with new foods and new ways to eat. Like taking any path in life, sometimes you come across a bright green patch of grass that you want to lie down and sun bathe in, just to relax and enjoy the view. Meditate for a while on what you have seen so far and what it all means.

It was this week that I discovered that the actual definition of a vegan is: “Vegans do not eat meat of any kind and also do not eat eggs, dairy products, or processed foods containing these or other animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin. Many vegans also refrain from eating foods that are made using animal products that may not contain animal products in the finished process, such as sugar and some wines.”

When I look at this definition, I see that I was not taking on the actual vegan diet. I ate sugar and drank wine. I never checked to see if I was eating gelatin. Some vegans even take the lifestyle so far as to refrain from using any animal products, such as wearing wool, leather or fur. This is something I did not even consider!

My point is that some vegans do not just eat this way to look and feel healthy or even to prove a point that they can survive without processed food. Most do it as a contribution to the planet and out of their awareness and consciousness of the cruelty of modern animal agriculture. We destroy thousands and thousands of acres of rainforest to feed the cattle that we eat and milk. Animals are packed into unlivable, small spaces in factory farms, pumped up with antibiotics and drugs to stay alive. We never think of the suffering and misery that pigs go through, an animal as intelligent as a dog, yet we give Christmas presents to our pet dogs while eating ham for Christmas dinner.

It is also a spiritual experience of feeling more connected with other living things on the planet. I was so concerned with my cravings for sugar and fitting in, forgetting to meditate and feel this connection. Only once did I feel how powerful my body was during martial arts practice and I had completely dismissed my dad’s compliment that I had impressive will-power. There was a mind-body connection that I was not focusing on. I was doing the diet on a surface level, not paying attention to the higher level consciousness that is part of the true vegan lifestyle.

All is well. Perhaps there was a reason I stopped early. It could have been so that I could have the fourth week to meditate on my experience. Perhaps it was because I wasn’t in touch with the higher purpose of this lifestyle.

Does this change my point of view on middle of the road? No, but it gives me a new sense of awareness for me to practice. It allows me to continue cooking vegan at home, but not beating myself up over having sushi or chicken with friends at a special dinner. And most importantly, it helps me have a new appreciation for people who are committed to making this world a cleaner, healthier, and more conscious place.

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