Vegetarian vs. Vegan … The Struggle

I’ve really been struggling lately with that area between vegetarianism & veganism … While I’d love to say it’s a gray area that’s hard to navigate, it just isn’t. It’s very black and white. I’m either using/consuming animal products, or I’m not.

While I find eating meat (or killing any animal as food) pretty repulsive, I don’t have the same feelings about animal products (like eggs, and cheese) … I love cheese. It’s amazing … but that’s just it. Cheese, for me, is a craving.

I’ve looked at my diet/food options as a spectrum. I life anywhere between vegetarian & vegan, always trying to stay closer to the top.

I find myself making excuses more than anything else about why I am so attached to dairy … Here are the biggest:

A partner with a different diet: Since day 1, Jimmy has said I’m welcome to be a vegetarian, but he will never be. So, while he does support me, and my own choice in not eating meat, it’s been a constant topic of conversation/contention. He’s also mentioned that there’s no way he could be married to a vegan. I cook most of the meals at home, and we do eat vegan often, but he doesn’t like the idea of the house being all vegan, all the time. This is probably the hardest part …

Raising veggie children: Yes, we are going to raise our children vegetarian. I am super passionate about the topic, and after seeing several friends/family who have done the same, I know it’s more than possible. My fear with converting to being a vegan is that I’m not sure I want to raise a vegan baby … I mean, I would love it, I just wonder if it’s fair (and my inner hippie wants to say that it’s totally fair … as a vegan child learns about respect for food/animals from the beginning).

It’s hard: Even though it is very black & white, being a vegan limits your food options while traveling or eating outside of the home. But, maybe that’s the best part … you’re forced to eat at home more often, which I love to do. There are things like honey, for instance, that don’t immediately alarm the vegan bell for me. I am sure it’s just a learning process, and there would be mistakes along the way … it’s the thought that counts, right?

So, with those excuses, there are many more reasons why I’d consider converting to a vegan diet!!

I know it’s possible: Some of our best friends are vegan. We’ve shared many meals with them that were filling, delicious, tasty, etc., and I never missed the dairy/eggs … not even a little.

It’s healthier: Save all of the, “but you need protein” … I am assuring you, unless you have a medical condition, you can (and do) get enough protein/iron/other vitamins & minerals from a plant based diet. I’ve been struggling with my weight for some time (I’ve gained weight since I quit eating meat), and I think it’s because I eat to satisfy cravings versus hunger. A friend once said, “You’re hungry? If you’re not willing to eat a vegetable or fruit, you’re not hungry, you’re craving!” – So true! I’ve been trying to grab a handful of vegan friendly foods when I’m feeling hungry during the day.

It’s nice: I love animals … I really, really hate the idea that eating cheese is probably the result of a baby cow who was taken from it’s mother so she could be pumped full of hormones to create an abundance of milk. So sad. Don’t even get my started on the state of the egg industry. It’s disgusting. The biggest pull towards veganism for me is the ethical part … I don’t believe another being should suffer just so I can enjoy a cheese pizza. It’s just not right. Being a vegan would settle that inner-conflict I often have.

With all of that said, I know I’ve mentioned several times that it’s super easy to be a vegetarian. BUT, I think sometimes I have to remind myself that I’ve worked really hard to eat a mostly plant based diet. It’s not always easy … it takes conscious thought before  consumption, and really, that’s all I ever hoped for. I care a lot more about where my food comes from, and it’s starting to be more about the process of cooking & enjoying time with people than it is about the actual food. Does that make sense?

For now, I just know that being a vegetarian has worked for me for 5 years, but now I’m itching to do more … and the debate starts all over!

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2 responses to “Vegetarian vs. Vegan … The Struggle

  1. Don’t stress or struggle… eat meat. Lean, tasty, locally-grown meat of course. Yummy, succulent, protein-packed morsels of goodness. And cheese on it. :-)

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