The Flaming Vegan

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Living By Example
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Living By Example

I know that sometimes we vegans can feel like we're living in a vacuum. Most of our friends and family members think we're some kind of radical nut-cases, but I know that with every conversation or meal I share with a non-vegan, I have planted a seed that might one day take root.

I'm a case in point. I raised my daughter as a vegetarian for the first three years of her life. When she went on a tofu/nut/bean strike, I had to seriously re-asses our menus. So, I leapt from my vegetarian lifestyle and began eating meat with her almost every day of the week. Sure, it was organic, and in those days no one knew about free-range or grass fed anything. I thought I was following her instincts. And without the wealth of knowledge out there today, I was hard-pressed to stick to my guns.

Fast forward to 2009 when same daughter visits and works on a biodynamic, organic dairy farm and decides then and there to be a vegetarian. She still hadn't made any connections to the dairy-veal industry, so was satisfied with vegetarianism. I, of course, supported that 16 year old and began being a part time vegetarian again, myself. Over the course of four years, she shifted to being a vegan, and because of her, so have I. We both watched endless documentaries and videos to solidify our choices, and now spend hours sharing recipes and having long conversations about being a vegan.

Now, I'm remarried to a very vegan supportive man. I wasn't vegan when we met. I became one after we married, and yet he's done everything (besides watching videos about animal factory farming) to shift his own eating habits. Eating meat is a habit. Carnists don't have to think about it, nor make any connections to the realities on their plates. But he's trying. To date, he's given up milk, ice cream, pork and eats vegan meals with me five out of seven days a week. He will even research recipes with me and we cook together. He supports me at restaurants and tells me how much he respects my choice. This is a man who LOVED meat and dairy. So, it's possible.

In-laws are a totally different breed and this weekend I was reminded about how my actions simply plant seeds. Both my SIL and BIL were defensive about MY diet. While I went out of my way to support their need to be on Weight Watchers by stocking the house with lots of veggies, fruits and lo-cal snacks, they spent the weekend coming up with umpteen examples of why eating meat was better, including checking the fat content of my nuts and seeds. Yet, they were the ones having to count points for having gained over 200 pounds between them on their meat-eating diets. So, I quietly ate my lovely vegan meals and kept my mouth shut. But I know one thing, they've been exposed to it through me. They will come across articles on veganism and will probably gain all their weight back, and then maybe they will think about their vegan SIL who happily maintains an average weight while getting to eat an abundance of healthy, delicious food...without having to count a damn thing.

By being living examples, we have influence over more people than we think we do. In the meantime, bon appétit and rest well, knowing that the way you have chosen to eat and live is making a difference not only for you but for the animals and ultimately, the planet.

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  1. Veganara
    Veganara
    Vote no 3. Great blog. Yes, I always think that as well, that just by being vegan I am planting seeds and leading by example. It all helps and makes a difference, I am convinced of that!
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  2. aliceb
    aliceb
    Having a husband or partner who eats vegan with you is the most beautiful thing. I can't believe how great an impact it has made in my own life.
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  3. BobbieSue
    BobbieSue
    I am in a Southern state, in a small town and even my Pastor pokes fun at me for being Veg; but this past weekend at a Youth Camp, we had a break through. He loved my Veggie Chips and ate more of the bag than I did...while making the comment that he just might have to convert for those chips. lol. I know that ultimately he just liked the chips, but like you said...seed planted.
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  4. Teresa
    Teresa
    Excellent post. Vote #8. I need to be setting examples for my sons in so many areas of m own life in order for them to notice the difference that it is making in my life and pray, that it makes a difference in theirs.
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  5. oooowow
    Good blog...If mea eaters thought of the animal as the middle man, so to speak, in their quest for all the right nutrients, it might make more sense...they eat animals to get from the animals what the animals get from plants..why not just eat the plants???
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    1. Tatterhood
      Tatterhood
      I had a conversation with my husband last night who is only a part-time vegetarian. He admitted that he has a psychological/emotional need to eat meat...that he doesn't "feel" like he's had a real meal unless it had meat in it. I had the same response...that animals with amazing energy and vitality bound about the wilderness and we, who have every luxury "feel" we have to eat meat? And I told him, on the other hand, that I have an emotional response to knowing what farm animals are subjected to, and that that knowledge has superceeded any other kind of craving or habit.
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      1. Veganara
        Veganara
        That is an excellent response Tatterhood! It is the same with me. The thing is, there are a lot of brilliant meat substitutes around these days anyway, so people can eat those if they have meat cravings, and they should deliver the same emotional hit! I quite often eat vegan sausages or meals made with soya mince when I feel I need something "meaty", since, whilst I adore vegetables and grains, sometimes you do feel you need something a little more substantial. I think it's a kind of primal, atavistic urge. Have you managed to get your husband to try some of the meat subs? If you could, it might really help him give up meat.
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        1. Tatterhood
          Tatterhood
          Veganara: I haven't yet gotten the meat subs because I typically don't eat them, but it's worth a try. Getting him off of cow milk was huge. He started using my soy milk and is less bloated and gassy now...so he felt a positive change. He can tend to be very fussy about what he eats. He's also afraid he's going to lose too much weight. He's a very slender man who has to make a point of eating just to maintain his weight. He can eat anything he wants and doesn't gain weight. But I will make him some dishes with the meat subs and see what he thinks. Thanks.
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  6. Kelita kellman
    Love it! I've been through a similar experience so I totally identify.
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