Ok, ok…I left you hanging. I left you wanting to know where the journey goes and what comes next. I hope I left you with enough time to search in both your soul and the internet 🙂 for where your journey is taking you. Mine lead me down a road where I was a lone vegan in a society of omnivores. I was different. I was odd. People didn’t understand. It is something you learn to accept…the being different. However, it is, also, something that pushes want to be vegans right back to the other side! I never realized I was lacking a sense of community until a friend brought it to my attention. She used those exact words…”It’s sad. You do not have a community.” I didn’t understand it at the time. I thought it over. She was right. Where was the vegan community? Why was I a lone activist? Activism, you see, is something very different to each person. I was the lone vegan conducting acts of quiet activism by posting FB posts about animals, enlightening friends on what I “could” eat (PS: I “can” eat anything…I just “choose” not to.), allowing chefs to create experimental dishes for me at restaurants and placing stickers on my car. There are strong vegan communities where the activism is much louder. I wasn’t part of that because it didn’t exist here. I was fine with my quiet activism. I was fine with being different. I still am. When I’m asked, I give my opinion. I tell people it is my choice. I do not force my opinions on anyone…not even my family. I have one vegetarian child and two omnivores. (Yes…I love them equally!) 🙂 If I had been vegan when they were born, they would definitely be vegan, however, I began my journey late in life and could only educate them on what was going on with their food, I couldn’t force them to make the switch! I know you have questions. Everyone does. Why do people become vegan? People usually become vegan for one of three reasons. 1) For the animals–an ethical vegan 2) For health 3) For the environment. In the end, though, we usually end up becoming the trifecta and associating with all three. What do you eat? Well…anything you do only “veganized” as I like to call it. Where do you go out with friends? I tell my friends to choose the restaurant and I will find something. I know…there are strong vegan activists cringing at this statement. I actually got yelled at by a vegan for drinking an unsweetened iced tea from a well-known cafe that serves non-vegan food. My response to him….”Well, plain tea is vegan!” I did know what he meant. Some vegans will not even shop/eat/support an establishment that isn’t totally vegan. I tend to disagree. We need to give people the opportunity to learn about our “culture”. How will they do that if we do not go into their restaurants/shops and “veganize” things? The teachings about what is involved in a vegan diet and lifestyle are forms of activism that can be done politely and almost invisibly. More questions? Sure…go for it! What is the difference between a vegan diet and a vegan lifestyle? Well…good question! 🙂 A vegan diet means the person doesn’t eat any products from an animal including honey, eggs, milk, butter, meat, fish, etc. A vegan lifestyle means we do not eat, wear or use animal products or byproducts. No leather, suede, silk, wool, etc. Our clothing is vegan, our beauty products are cruelty-free (check my Vegan Teacher FB page for some great ones) and our food is compassionate.
Did I need the community? No….I didn’t…I thought. However, somewhere along the journey I find it and realize that the community is such a wonderful thing. It means like-minded people. It means the ability to be you no matter where you go without question. It means they understand. We do need community no matter what our journeys are. I will fill you in on how and where I found my community next time.
In the meantime…take a moment to sit quietly with yourself…see what resonates within you. Where will your journey take you?