When I started this blog, I wanted to document my experience transitioning to veganism. I envisioned it as a place of sincerity, where I could inspire others to live a life free of cruelty towards animals. Back then, I made two promises to myself: the first was never eating animal products again. The other was being honest and letting you know about any failures. Unfortunately, I have failed both. I abandoned my vegan diet and chose to run away from the criticism.
But I’ll stop myself before I get into any more self-loathing. Now, it’s time to remind myself why I tried to go vegan in the first place. If I want to succeed now, I need to learn the reasons why I failed to stick with the changes in my lifestyle. Perhaps this will provide valuable insights to myself and other transitioning fellows.
Likely reasons why I failed
Back in April, I used to worry too much about what I couldn’t eat, drink or do. I knew I wasn’t supposed to eat meat in family gatherings, and that I would never eat regular pizza again. But forgot to focus on the possibilities of fresh greens, fruits and to explore all the novelty a vegan diet could offer.
Lesson 1: Going vegan is not about removing options from your menu. It’s about making smarter choices.
Being too harsh on myself
I have a tendency to be too unforgiving to myself. If I fail something, I just give it up altogether because I feel “I won’t make it, anyway!” And then this new endeavor adds up to this growing list of things I gave up on – okay, I don’t really keep a list, but you get it.
It all started when I decided to eat a Brazilian cheese bread, which is very traditional here. It really was what I missed the most from my omnivore diet. Well, the guilt came right after I finished it and one thing led to another. I believe that if I had already expected an occasional slip up here and there, in the beginning, I wouldn’t self-sabotage like this.
Lesson 2: Make room for mistakes. We’re all humans. As long as we keep on trying, everything will be okay.
One reason may not be enough
This confession will most likely make me look like a jerk. But I believe many of those who failed to transition, failed for the same reason as I did.
In April, the main reason I decided to stay away from meat and animal products was to not cause suffering to any other living being. This is a noble motivation, but for me, it wasn’t enough. I went back to eating dead animals anyways because it’s just too easy to rationalize it. There are plenty excuses to pick from and we all know that.
The slaughtering happens too far away from most people. When all we see is a beautifully packaged product, it may be easy to forget its gruesome path to our plate.
There was, however, another reason to go (and stay) vegan.
As you can guess from the name of this blog, I’m a dad. One of my biggest concerns ever since I became a father, was being able to stick around for as long as I can. I want to be fully present in my son’s life. At the age of 29, I already had alarming levels of cholesterol showing on my blood tests. That worried me quite a lot. This was before I tried going vegan for the first time, though.
After trying a vegan diet, I had the chance to have my blood tested again. The difference was astonishing: 40 days without animal products made my cholesterol levels drop from the high-risk zone to that of a healthy 10-year-old boy.
Is this a selfish reason to stay away from meat, dairy, and other animal products? Yes, it may be. But doing the right thing for a less noble reason doesn’t make it less right. You can still benefit animals while caring for your health.
Lesson 3: Any reason is fine when it inspires you to do the right thing.
Getting back on the vegan bandwagon
So, after quite a few months eating the standard American diet, I’m switching back to a plant-based diet again. I was cutting down on meat last week and have been 100% plant-based since yesterday. Will this be any easier than before? Most likely not, but at least I am aware of the mistakes I made during my first attempt. I will plan my meals better and work on making things more interesting for me. I hope you will join me on this journey to a cruelty-free diet.
Don’t forget to subscribe and stay tuned for the next updates. I will post more about my new strategies for a smoother shift.