7 Reasons Why I’m Not Vegan Anymore
Written by: Christine Obee
I love animals. I also love the taste of meat.
Clearly, there’s a real disconnect there.
And then came the day I decided to go vegan…
I’ll never forget being in the middle of my kitchen with tears streaming down my face as I recounted to my roommate the 2 pages I’d just read in Sharon Gannon’s book, Yoga and Vegetarianism (side note, I’ve yet to understand the title as it’s actually about yoga and veganism). Anyways, these 2 pages described the life of dairy cows in one of those large factory operations. Just thinking about the details upsets me.
It was right then and there I decided to try the whole vegan thing. I committed to 2 months, which happened to fall during the Christmas period. That’s right, no turkey, no mashed potatoes with butter and sour cream and, most devastating of all, no shortbread.
The first week or two was hard as I didn’t have a very good idea of how to eat without meat and dairy. I relied heavily on substitutes and tried my best to search out vegan recipes so I’d be eating enough protein. Once I got into the groove, things got easier and I was loving my new way of eating.
Food tasted different. I enjoyed it more and savored it more. My meals felt more mindful and I was able to enjoy the experience, rather than just shoving food down my throat to feel full. I was taking the time to think about the food that was in front of me, how it was grown and who might have been involved in getting it to my plate. I felt lighter and more stable. I learned a new way to feel “full” – not that over-stuffed, lethargic feeling you get after a really big pasta meal or steak dinner.
The biggest difference was the spiritual aspect. I have a pretty solid yoga practice and the whole connection to self and something higher took on a completely new level with my vegan diet.
You’d think that, with all the positive things I experienced, I might have gotten the title of this article wrong. Not so. Even though I saw some really great benefits of being vegan, I also found another side, which ultimately pulled me back and here’s why…
Why Being A Vegan Wasn’t For Me
1. Going out for dinner at a friends place was a nightmare.
Hosting a dinner party can be a lot of work in and of itself. Add in a variety of dietary issues and it becomes almost unmanageable. The reality is, most of my friends don’t know how to cater to a vegan diet and I really didn’t like being “that person.” I fully realize I could just tell them to prepare whatever they’d like and that I’d bring my own stuff, however, that kind of time and organization doesn’t exist in my life currently.
2. Finding the time to prepare proper vegan meals was really hard.
I touched on this in reason number 1. I live in a place where there are actually a lot of vegan eat-out options. The problem with those options is that they are expensive. So that left me with preparing my own food the majority of the time, which felt like a part-time job in and of itself. Being new to the vegan lifestyle, I was learning about new ingredients, where to find them and how to cook them. If I missed a weekend at home where I spent most of my Sunday getting my meals ready for the week, I was eating things like refried beans and peanut butter toast.
3. I almost passed out more than once working out.
After about a month of eating vegan, I started to notice I was really light headed in my yoga practice. I had to get low to the ground more than once to avoid passing out. Although I was enjoying a favorable new level of spiritual engagement in my practice, a decrease in physical strength and energy came along with it.
4. I was losing too much weight.
I don’t have a number to share with you, but I can tell you my clothes were starting to hang and people were commenting on how skinny I was looking and not in a good way.
5. I love the taste of bacon.
No further explanation needed on this one.
6. It’s culturally difficult.
I’m a lover of tradition and in my family traditions includes meat. Hot dogs at the ball field, BBQ’s in the summer, turkey at Christmas dinner. I know there are alternatives, but let’s be honest, it’s not the same. There’s something about the smell of cooking meat that provides comfort and a sense of home. The process of dressing the bird and basting it can’t be replicated by popping a tofurkey in the oven.
7. We’ve biologically been meat eaters for years. Is being vegan natural?
Jury’s still out on this one for me. I had a conversation with someone a while back when I was trying out vegetarianism. He made the argument that, as a species, we’ve been eating meat for years. Also, he pointed out that vegetarians or vegans need to take supplements of some kind in order to get all the nutrients a healthy diet requires – true from the research I’ve done. I’m not sure if I want to be partaking in a diet that requires supplements.
Where I’m At Now
I fully acknowledge that all of the reasons listed above could just as easily be labeled as excuses.
It’s not necessarily a matter of not being “that person,” but being okay with being “that person.”
It’s not necessarily a matter of time, it’s a matter of how I prioritize my time.
It’s not that eating vegan can’t be done in a way that provides me with physical strength, energy and a healthy weight, I just didn’t figure out how to do it this time round.
It’s not that I love the taste of bacon (wait, yes it is. That one’s just going to be a sacrifice).
It’s not necessarily that I’m not willing to challenge and change tradition or our biological past. I do it all the time and see the value in it.
I have a ton of respect for vegans and like to think that one day, I’ll find my way back to that kind of eating with greater knowledge around how to do it properly.
For now though, my reasons (or excuses, depending on how you look at them) for not being vegan stand. And I am perfectly happy with that.
Christine is certified as a Lifestyle Design Coach and Yoga Teacher. Having made the transition from a draining, ‘just paying the bill’s’ job to doing work she loves, Christine now helps others in their own transitions. Through personalized coaching programs that combine practical methods with energetic and spiritual concepts, she moves professionals from a place of being disengaged and unfulfilled to finding clarify, hope and purpose.
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