My Struggle to Be a Perfect Vegan: Am I Good Enough?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post titled What About Eggs? I was eager to write the post because I really wanted to get all my thoughts and feelings down on paper (so to speak) but I was a little nervous about posting it. I was even more nervous about sharing that post with Healthy Vegan Fridays.
Image: ganesha.iris via Flickr
How would people react to it? Would readers get angry and accuse me of misusing the word vegan because I was craving (and considering eating) eggs? Before writing that post I hadn't received any negative comments on my blog. Would that post elicit the first one? How would that make me feel? Would the hosts of Healthy Vegan Fridays tell me that my post wasn't appropriate?
I finally pushed all these thoughts aside and just went for it. I know that I'm not the only one who occasionally struggles with my eating choices and I feel that it's important to address these feelings. It is also incredibly helpful to hear that I'm not alone and just to get other people's perspectives on the issues that I'm dealing with.
I was blown away by all of the amazing comments that I got in the first week of the post being up! No one condemned me for considering eating a fried egg sandwich and a lot of people gave me great alternatives for how to satisfy my craving without giving in to the egg.
I'm glad that I shared this with Healthy Vegan Fridays because it was featured as one of the most popular posts that week. I was also really pleased with what one of the hosts, Gabby from Veggie Nook, had to say about the post:
I was a little hesitant to feature this one, but it’s actually an incredible discussion, especially in the comments. I think it’s important to discuss issues like cravings and the danger of becoming a militant vegan. You’ll all have to let me know what you think.
Later on I received another comment that just further cemented my thoughts on why it's important to discuss things like this.
I found your post on Carrie on Vegan, and I’m so glad I did! I went vegan three weeks ago… and I’m craving cheese like crazy! It’s good to hear from other vegans who struggle with those kinds of choices. Blogs tend to make it seem so easy, when it’s really hard to transition surrounded by burgers and cheese. But you (and you’re great commentors) have given me a lot of perspective, and it’s nice to see I’m not alone!
Of course you're not alone! Making the decision to give up foods that you've eaten your entire life is not easy. It get's easier the longer you're at it, but I don't think it's ever completely easy.
All of these comments plus my own thoughts reminded me of a post that Dreena Burton posted over on her blog recently about being "vegan enough" and "healthy enough." These are thoughts that run through my mind often, especially now that I have this blog. One trait that I think all bloggers share is that we subscribe to and read way too many blogs for our own good. It is so easy to read about other people, to compare yourself to them and think, "I wish I was as disciplined as they are. They're so much healthier than I am. They never slip in their vegan/plant-based ways."
This may be true. However, you have to remember that someone's blog is not actually a window into their life. Bloggers have the option of publishing the good stuff and keeping the ugly stuff to ourselves, and really I don't think there's anything wrong with that most of the time.
I started this blog as an outlet for myself, to have an excuse to cook more and to talk about food and fitness. I also started this blog because I want to help people. I want to motivate and encourage them (YOU!) and provide them with resources to make positive changes in their life. I want people to see that following a healthy plant-based diet can be done and it can be easy! However, I do think it's important to acknowledge that it's not easy 100% of the time. I want it to be okay for us to talk about our struggles with each other and to do so without judgment.
About a month into my journey following a plant-based diet I read the book Veganist by Kathy Freston. The biggest thing I took away from that book was her definition of what a "veganist" is.
Ve•gan•ist (vee guhn ist)
n. 1. Someone who looks closely at all of the implications of their food choices and chooses to lean into a plant-based diet;
2. Progress, not perfection.
That last piece, "progress, not perfection," is something that I still remind myself of on a regular basis.
Those who choose to follow a plant-based or vegan diet all have their own reasons for doing so. Some people fall more to the traditional vegan side and made the choice because of their compassion for and love of animals. Others have learned about the impact that factory farming has on our planet and the environment. Then there are those who understand that eating a diet made of plants is the healthiest choice they can make for their body. None of these reasons is any better than the rest!
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