Sunday, November 15, 2009

Step 1: The Resolution

I cannot be a vegetarian anymore. I realized this a couple of weeks ago as the result of a collision of circumstances over a few days. It started with a brief discussion with friends about a book. Though none of us had read it, its topic forced a little introspection and self examination. The collision culminated with a request from a close friend.

You know a book has some weight and power behind it when you haven’t read it, the people around you haven’t read it, you’ve never heard of the author or read any of his work, and yet a brief discussion about what is supposed to be found in its contents inspires you to consider a life-change of some significance. In this case, the book is Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. As I type this, I now own the book and have read about a third of it. My initial thoughts regarding its power and weight stand for now.

Among the most potent catalysts for change in my personal life is inspiration from the examples of others; particularly those I respect, care for, love, or simply like. So, when my brother-in-law asked my wife and me for advice on removing meat from his diet, I was inspired and re-invigorated to examine my own reasons for being a vegetarian and consider whether I was doing the right thing in the right way. Incidentally, I later learned that my brother-in-law’s decision to alter his eating habits was based, at least in part, upon listening to an interview with the author of Eating Animals. This dashed my delusions of grandeur, as I had assumed that he had been watching me for years and finally decided that it was time to follow in the footsteps of a great man…anyway.

What I have learned over the last couple of weeks about myself doesn’t really surprise me. The fact is, something has to change. I’m going vegan.

The details of and reasons for this pursuit will be worked out over the next several weeks. My wife is supportive and is going to join me. I’m giving us a full year to do it. At first I figured it would be easy, as I have already been a vegetarian for over five years and my wife has not eaten meat in over ten. We're not vegan, but we we rub elbows with the concept pretty regularly. However, the tightrope upon which I have gingerly placed the ball of my right foot seems to get a little higher every time I glance at the danger below.


  1. I commend you. I suspect I found my way to your blog via your BIL's blog.....which I came to via Foer's forum.

    I've been a vegetarian for a very long time. But dairy has remained my comfort, almost my fetish.

    I picked up the book at a client's house and opened its cover thinking I would gain nothing more than support for decisions I'd already made and thoughts I'd already processed and recycled a hundred times.

    Not so much.

    Like you, what was left of my denial was there for me to either finally uncover and expose to the harsh light of truth, or to turn away from yet again. I almost did the latter.

    I just read Nicolette Niman's article and am tempted to seek out the sources for dairy that she recommends. After all, I DO believe in dairy....I just don't believe in torture and cruelty as a means of acquiring it. I dunno. I think I'll give this vegan thing more of a try for a while longer though. I want to be sure....absolutely positively sure...that none of the things I saw in video of a Vermont slaughterhouse have been done for any of the dairy that ends up on a plate in front of me. And that's going to take a lot more than a few day's worth of research to insure.

    Until then....its no animal products for me.

    But boy....this is a LOT harder than when I went veggie. That was clear cut. No meat. This involves almost everything else there is to eat, as far as my old habits go.

    But, as has been said before, it almost feels like a relief of a weight has been lifted.

  2. Thanks, Tara. I've really enjoyed writing this blog...mostly for myself, but it is nice to know that someone is reading it and interested enough to comment.

    As you can probably tell from most of my posts, I definitely am struggling a little with the concept of veganism, but not really with the goal. In other words, it's not the the not using animal products part of it that is difficult for me, it is all of the other baggage that gets a little tough at times.

    I haven't read the Nicollette Niman article, but may check into it, though I don't feel that compelled to figure out a way to keep eating dairy. What I'd rather do, is figure out a way to always eat vegan without it having to be a big production. I think that I would then REALLY feel like a weight was lifted.

    Keep it up. Start writing about it...I'll read it.