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Hello all,<br><br>
I'm about to call it a night because I am physically and mentally exhausted after (1) a busy Christmas and (2) a lot of thought/worry about my veganism. I've been vegan since November 3rd, and for a while it was going really well. But for the last few weeks it's been causing me so much stress, and I'm now thinking it's not the right time for me to be completely animal-free. Certainly I enjoy the healthy lifestyle that goes along with the ideal vegan diet, but my primary motivation was to embrace veganism for the sake of animal rights. I don't believe animals should be property, I think there is an incredible amount of cruelty in the meat, dairy and egg industries, and I want to stand against these things.<br><br>
Although I will always abstain from meat, leather, and other products derived from dead animals, and while I want to continue buying and cooking with animal-free groceries as much as I possibly can, the difficulties of being a healthy and happy vegan where I live are really, really stressing me out. Last weekend I actually ended up in tears when my fiance's family wanted to go out for coffee/food after their church's Christmas program, and it was a Sunday night, so lots of places in that part of town were closed. They are so incredibly supportive and accommodating when it comes to my dietary preferences, but all of the ideas being thrown around were restaurants (a) that were closed, or (b)where I knew vegan food would be scarce. Some of us had left, and some of us were still at the church, so there were a million phone calls going around for my benefit. They were trying so hard to make sure I would be comfortable wherever we'd be eating, and that plus the lack of options sent me over the edge and I couldn't hold back tears anymore. We eventually ended up finding something that worked, but the entire ordeal made me feel so stressed and embarrassed.<br><br>
I am so afraid of feeling like a hypocrite because a huge part of me feels that only a vegan diet can be compatible with a pro-animal rights stance, but for the sake of my sanity, I am seriously considering a transition back to a lacto-ovo veg diet. To those of you who are lacto-, ovo-, or lacto-ovo vegetarians for ethical reasons: I could really use some support.
 

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Hi SadieP,<br><br>
To a degree it might be possible to be a not too unethical lacto-octo at home; Like if you could keep cows as the Hare Krishna temple Earthling works at or chickens and bees in the manners discussed in some of the topics here, f'rinstance.<br><br>
Chance of ethicaly sourced egg and dairy products at restaurants/whatever that don't even have a vegan option on the menu is incredibly unlikely though.<br><br>
Mebbe a good trick for the sort of problem you had over Christmas might be this; Work out a few meals that any place with standard ingredients should be able to rustle up for you.<br><br>
Just simple stuff like veganising a risotto or a vegetable stir fry perhaps?<br><br><br>
Anyways, just in case it makes you smile ...<br><br>
HH and myself were thinking the other day that it would be amusing to turn up at a restaurant with all of our own ingredients for a vegan meal. Just like kinda ask if they had this or that for us and, when they say "no" just pull the whatever it was out of a bag and tell them "now you have".<br><br>
We was just being silly at the time. But, thinking about it, carrying a few bits (small bag of cashews for that stir fry, couple of vegetablre stock cubes for a risotto?) that allow a vegan freindly meal to be easily prepared wherever we are may not actualy be a bad idea.<br><br>
Chin up. Illegitimi non carborundum, etc, etc, etc ..
 

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Oh, I get it...you don't even wanna hear from the vegans at all. Sounds like you've already made up your mind and don't even wanna try any more. That's really too bad for more than one reason...one of them being you're gonna get my opinion whether you want it or not.<br><br>
Don't worry. It's not harsh. It makes a lot of sense really, to me anyway. What I feel like saying is that there's too many labels and too much pressure for "perfection" in the vegan community overall. People forget what the overall ethical goal of veganism is supposed to be. Every time any person any where eats a meal free of animal products, or even with fewer animal products than he or she typically would consume, it's a good thing. It's a shift in the right direction. Being vegan 95% of the time is better than not even trying to be vegan at all. If you feel you can't strictly adhere to veganism when eating out or at a church party or something, why not just be vegetarian if necessary, and go back to being vegan at home? Simple.<br><br>
All the progress made by vegans in the last ten year so isn't going to scatter to the four winds if you at some point or another consume a bagel at a pasta shop that has lactose enzymes in it, either by accident or by choice. If you really, really care about the things veganism stands for and want to offset any damage you think you may be doing by not being a "perfect vegan", why not donate to a group that helps animals? For instance I donate a bit of my paycheck each month to Vegan Outreach. While I'm really only about 98% vegan according to "the vegan police", I offset that many times over. Every time someone receives a booklet printed with the money I donated and goes vegetarian on the spot, the positive benefits of my own veg*nism instantly <b>double</b> in the world. That's how we're really gonna do the <b>most</b> good. Not through personal perfection but by growing the change. Think about that one, please.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Josh James xVx</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3067568"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
What I feel like saying is that there's too many labels and too much pressure for "perfection" in the vegan community overall. People forget what the overall ethical goal of veganism is supposed to be. Every time any person any where eats a meal free of animal products, or even with fewer animal products than he or she typically would consume, it's a good thing. It's a shift in the right direction. Being vegan 95% of the time is better than not even trying to be vegan at all. If you feel you can't strictly adhere to veganism when eating out or at a church party or something, why not just be vegetarian if necessary, and go back to being vegan at home?</div>
</div>
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Very well-written and I agree wholeheartedly. This is also one of the few points that I agree with PETA on. While I respect the time and effort many folks put into striving for absolute purity in their diet and lifestyle, ultimately I feel that it is unnecessary and may even at times do more harm than good. Personally I'd rather see a thousand people eat vegan 50% of the time than ten people who eat vegan 100% of the time. If we truly care about animals, I feel that we have to look at the larger picture. Of course there are those who simply cannot and will not eat animal products of any kind regardless, and like I said I have much respect for their commitment, but people like the OP need and deserve our support as well.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":hug:"><br><br>
I was vegan for the best part of a year then I had to move back home so to make life easier for everybody I went back to being lacto-ovo.<br><br>
Here's how I view what I do:<br>
1. I'm in a completely **** up situation which is my own fault. My family have been amazing with letting me come back home and they are very accommodating with my vegetarianism. If I insisted on staying vegan it would have added a whole lot more stress and agro to the situation. Also, I'm not exactly in a great place with my issues and I need to minimise the stress in my life and I have plenty of it already without adding veganism to the mix. (Not to mention stress for my family. )<br><br>
2. It's not like I've gone back to being a fully fledged meat eater. I point blank refuse to eat anything with dead animal in it. I just won't do it. I also try to slightly influence the family shopping as much as I can (without being rude or pushy) so we get better welfare dairy and eggs (for example, instead of just getting free range eggs we now get free range woodland eggs which mean that the hens can roam outside in woodland). It's not enough but at least it is something.<br><br><br>
It does upset me that I can't be vegan but I don't view it like I'm never going to be able to be vegan again. I know that once I'm on my feet and have left home (hopefully within the next 2 years) I will be able to go back to being vegan. I also still won't buy or use leather, wool, silk etc products and I also make sure that all my toiletries and cosmetics that I buy are animal free and aren't tested on animals. (Gifts that my family give me are another matter. They do buy me BAUV certified stuff but I haven't bothered them about the no animal products part. )<br>
I also haven't gone back to chowing down on dairy and eggs like there's no tomorrow. If I'm cooking for myself I will cook vegan. If I need to grab food when I'm out I will try to get vegan things (luckily it quite easy where I live) and then if I can't I'll grab something vegetarian. If I'm cooking for my family about 70% of the time what I make will be vegan. Probably around 85% of my diet is still animal free, I've just had to made sacrifices and I am still doing something to help.<br>
This probably is relevant for you but when I was vegan I generally had to make all my own food while I was at home. With the situation now the vast majority of the time my family actually eats vegetarian. So it was 1 vegan and then meat-every-meal eaters but now it's 1 vegetarian and people who eat vegetarian around 75% of the time.<br><br>
Instead of beating yourself up about not being vegan, congratulate yourself for being vegetarian. You are still making a massive difference with what you are doing. Also, maybe don't think of it as a permanent change. You've only been vegan for a few months, how long were you a vegetarian before that? When I went vegan I had a few years of planning behind me (I went vegan after I left home a couple of years ago but I'd been planning since 2008 to go vegan. ) It meant that I already knew where to find things that I could eat and what was suitable for vegans and what wasn't because I'd already found that out. So maybe what you can do is just view it as a change back to lacto-ovo while you do more research etc and then maybe one day in the future, if you can, you might go back to being vegan. What I'm trying to say is see it as a temporary change, not a permanent one even if you do never go back to being vegan.<br><br>
I hope this helps. Also, you can PM me if you just want to vent about how you feel. I know our situations are not the same but if you do start feeling guilty about going back to lacto-ovo please feel free to PM me and I'll give you lots of lovely encouragement and I will try to make you feel better. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":hug:"><br><br>
I know how you feel, when I first gave up meat I went full vegan. I thought that I had to, because I felt so awful about eating animal products for the 15 years before giving them up, and I thought that I had to make it up to the animals that had been killed for me to eat. But whenever I faced difficulties with the diet and lifestyle and wanted to give it up, then I had created this mindset that I either had to be vegan or be a full omnivore.<br><br><br>
I realize now that I was wrong, and it's okay that I am just lacto-ovo now. Vegetarianism, which includes veganism, all has motivation for helping animals. I thought that being vegan meant that I cared more about animals, but I realize now that it doesn't. I care about animals just as much, I'm just not ready to eat vegan 100% of the time. I don't know that I ever will be, but no matter what, I still have the same love of animals that I developed when I went vegan, and just being lacto-ovo vegetarian is better than nothing, it's still reducing death and pain and it doesn't mean that you care for animals any less.
 

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Don't give up on a vegan diet. The holidays offer temptation and difficulties for everybody. No reason you can't dust yourself off and start fresh for the New Year.<br><br>
I've dealt with tons of temptation these past few weeks. Chocolates, Tootsie Rolls, brownies. Shamefully, I gave it all to my son <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"> Luckily at work, my co-workers hooked me up, getting me veggie calzones when we got pizza, salad and green beans to go with the steak and salmon, etc... I've eaten lots of junk and drunk lots of beer these past few weeks, but my vegan diet is still going strong.<br><br>
Anyway, if you gotta go back to ovo-lac-vegetarian for now, that's better than eating meat, but personally I'd be embarrassed to take a step back at this piont in front of everybody who knows what I've accomplished. Best wishes, either way <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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I think up until pretty recently, a lot of the animal rights activists were lacto-ovo vegetarian. I think it's perfectly valid to eat lacto-ovo vegetarian and still take a stand for the animals. Now, I wouldn't say it makes sense to extoll the ethical virtues of eating dairy and eggs, but I think compromise is reasonable. Even <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Singer#Vegetarianism_and_ethics_of_food_consumption" target="_blank">Peter Singer is not 100% vegan</a>. Many here on VB eat lacto-ovo when eating at restaurants or parties but vegan at home. I think it's all good. Unfortunately, we don't live in a vegan-friendly world just yet.<br><br>
Even if someone eats a perfect vegan diet, that doesn't mean they are living a completely cruelty free life or doing all that they can for the animals. Find other ways to help animals and don't feel bad for making some compromises in the diet portion of your life.
 

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Sorry, hope you feel better and continue the vegan path. It will only get better <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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My thoughts, if you're interested, in no particular order:<br><br>
- It's important to find a path that is sustainable for you. If your goal is animal rights and you want to spare as many animals lifetimes of suffering as you can, then remind yourself of your goal and find a path that makes sense for you and your goal. If that means vegan most of the time but lacto-ovo vegetarian a couple times a year, then maybe that makes sense. Or maybe it means you're vegan but you lapsed a few times during your transition. Or maybe it means being a vegan at home and lacto-ovo when you're out to eat. Just find something that works for you.<br><br>
- Going vegan is a major life change and like all major changes there's a time of uncomfortable transition. It's <i>temporary</i>. It does get better. It gets easier everyday. There are more options everyday and you get better at finding them everyday.<br><br>
- It's always good to plan ahead. For example, try to always have a vegan energy bar or bag of nuts in your purse or backpack so you can literally eat anywhere and will never "starve to death."<br><br>
- Personally, I don't worry about trace ingredients when I eat at restaurants. I just don't worry about it at all because I don't think it's important. My goal is not to avoid anything that might be remotely associated with animal suffering because that would be an impossible goal. My goal is to eat as practically vegan as I can at the moment and strive to better myself in the future as well as to do as much animal activism as I can reasonably accomplish given my limited time, money, and other resources.<br><br>
- Most of us who consider ourselves vegan had times where we lapsed. My story is that I went vegetarian for many years. Then I went vegan for a full year but gave it up when I decided it was "too hard" and so I went back to lacto-ovo. I stayed that way for decades! I avoided animal rights to some extent and just found my "comfortable place" and stayed there. Meanwhile, I influenced countless people to go vegetarian or vegan or reduce their meat consumption without even trying. I was just being a lacto-ovo vegetarian. Then I went vegan again. The second time I took it slower and went vegan at home first, then ate more and more vegan meals when at restaurants, then finally vegan all the time. Then moved and felt being vegan was hard again, so I re-evaluated and found ways to make it work (by ignoring trace ingredients for example). And now I actively encourage people to go vegetarian or vegan and I'm much more effective now, but part of that comes from the experience of knowing that there are lots of ways of helping animals.
 

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I really agree with the number one point in the post above me. If you try to strictly adhere to something that isn't sustainable to you, it seems to me that you're putting yourself in a position from which you're much more likely to totally fall down from and possibly take quite a few step backwards. You know you want to cause less animal suffering. Choose your meals accordingly, and what seems acceptable to you is probably what is best in the realistic sense. This way, you're contributing the least possible amount that <i>you</i> can to animal suffering, and you're in a position that is more likely to remain constant than have you struggling up and down all the time.<br><br>
Striving to achieve something is a noble cause but sometimes life is more difficult than that, IMO. You could take the idea to the extreme and cause yourself so much stress wondering what's in your food all the time that you couldn't possibly be happy, ever.
 

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i like what everyone here said. i would also add that i believe it will get easier with time simply because you will be more used to it know where to go what places can acommodate you etc. the beginner time is always the worst one since we and the ones around us aren't used to it yet and there is more effort put into it. i understand that you feel bad about everyone puting an effort in finding the right place for you but i would take it as a good thing that so many people were willing to help and didnt have a problem. if you feel guilty i would maybe just give them a little apprecfiation gift
 
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