Thoughts. Experiences. Inspiration.

Gone vegan

June 9, 2011 0

(Taken with my iPhone)

Gone fishing? Gone vegan.

One week ago, I announced on Facebook that I was going vegan for a week. I had little idea of what that really meant until I started doing research – no animal products or by-products whatsoever, including sugar, honey, leather, gelatine, etc.

So how has the week gone for me?

For me to answer that effectively, I have to give this post a little context. Only then will you see that if I can do it, you can too.

Four years ago, I was an unashamedly committed carnivore. Anything that moved, moved straight into my mouth. I lived, breathed and ate a foodie’s life, soaking up all I could about the best knives, about timing, about methods of preparation and presentation, about chemical reactions, about seasonality, about nutrition…if it had to do with food, I wanted to taste it, and I wanted to know the A to Z of it.

I dreamed of food – where to get the best this, that and the other, who made the best of a particular dish, what flavours complemented one another…I was a person obsessed. I charted my day by my meals, planning what I’d have for lunch whilst I was eating my breakfast, what I was having for dinner as I tucked into my bacon sarnie for lunch…

Ah, the bacon sarnie. For most vegetarians or vegans, they say it was the last thing they gave up. Four years ago, oddly enough for me, it was the thing that tipped me over the edge into quitting land-based animals – I was frying up some cheap Iceland bacon when it occurred to me that in doing so, I might as well have bitten into the side of the pig. I ditched that bacon sharpish and that was the end of chicken, fish, pork, lamb, etc. for me.

Then between seven to eight months ago, after rescuing this dog, I dumped seafood too, after a quick chat with Rinpoche when he reversed psychology-ed me into it. As an avowed seafood lover whose bedside reading consisted of the 608-page delight pictured above, leaving behind my fish and crustacean-consuming days turned out to be a lot easier than I thought it was going to be, and I thank Rinpoche for his skilful means in clearing my conscience.

So fast forward to one week ago, when I had all of those thoughts about the other animal products I consume or utilise. I thought about the way in which I was judiciously, imperiously, unjustifiably and unqualifiedly stamping value onto different sentient beings’ lives…how could I talk about their equality, when I was withholding their right to not being treated as property?

So I decided to stop, and it’s been one week since I’ve made the stop. How have I found it?

Well, first things first, it’s incredible how greatly programmed we are to use animal products. I’ve had three slip ups – once, ordering hot honey lemon (an automatic reaction to “what would you like to drink?”) and a second time, drinking root beer before realising it contained sugar. The third wasn’t really a slip up, but more a potential limitation – it was my inability to move past Tropicana, water or Chinese tea as my drink of choice.

Aside from that, have I been full? Yes.

Have I been satisfied with my meals? Yes.

Have I felt deprived? No.

Have I been ostracised by friends, and had to miss out on social gatherings as a result of my dietary choice? No.

Have I been teased? Aside from some minor ribbing, no.

Have I had any cravings? I’ve always had cravings for meat and seafood, but it’s only the thought or concept that appeals to me – when faced with the actual dish, I feel sick.

Conclusion? I’m going to keep this up. I can’t make the decision now to return to killing other animals – what kind of Dharma choice is that, to go back to harming others? So what non-vegan things I have left, I will use up and when they’re used, I’ll swap to the vegan alternative.

My final realisation is this – all of the mind games I played before with myself, were just an excuse for me to delay the inevitable. If I was ever going to remove one more ounce of hypocrisy in my practice, I was going to end up vegan.

From a Buddhist perspective, from an ethical perspective, I’m happy I made this decision. (And that’s just what it is, my decision so before you think badly or highly of me, consider this – how do my dietary choices affect your life?) For every life I do not harm, I dedicate to the long life of my lama, Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, for his unending kindness in always pushing us to become better versions of ourselves.

, , , , Animal Welfare, Personal, Reflections and Teachings, Vegetarianism

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