Keeping the Vegan Faith
By Linden Mackey, Guest Contributor
[fusion_dropcap color=”” boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”1px” class=”” id=””]A[/fusion_dropcap]t the risk of eye-rolling, brow-raising dismissal as a fringe dweller, the practice of veganism occasionally calls to my mind the single-mindedness of an ardent religious (a small factoid about me known only to a few very old friends is that I once longed to become a cloistered nun) – pursuing a level of compassion capable of transforming daily life to reflect a divine essence.
But high purpose in life doesn’t even begin to make us noble or infallible. It’s sheer hubris to imagine that no matter how great the passion it will be easy to follow every day, traveling on little more than a worn, crooked dirt path amid the towering, choking rain forest of agribusiness of the worst abuse, buttressed by cultural traditions and snare trapped by the loving offering of Grandma’s chicken and dumplings.
And some days I just get tired of belonging to a tiny minority, even if it is for a righteous purpose.
I get tired of going to grocery stores where the vast majority of goods sold are not ones I will eat. I get tired of going to three or four stores every week to obtain the various vegan products that I can and do like to eat.
I get tired of going to restaurants where I can’t eat anything on the menu except salad or French fries. Just like carnists, vegans enjoy opening a menu to a plethora of dishes all sounding delectable and pleasantly agonizing over choice.
I get tired of explaining to my office manager that I can’t eat the vegetarian entrée served on the buffet at the employee recognition luncheon because it’s pasta in cream sauce and I don’t eat any animal-generated products.
I get tired of trying to figure out how to transform my extensive and sentimental pre-vegan sheave of recipes into reasonable animal-free facsimiles – although I have found dozens of delicious vegan recipes I never before would have prepared.
I get tired of worrying about the pairs of Dansko clogs I still wear because my pre-vegan self bought them in an attempt to quell my debilitating Morton’s Neuroma and these were the only shoes I could effectively walk in… should I learn to walk with pain in each step as a sort of corporal mortification?
I get tired of worrying about using sugar because it is refined with bone char; drinking wine, which I only recently learned more often than not uses animal products in the filtering process (isinglass/fish bladder; gelatin; egg whites); keeping meat in the house for my husband’s and boys’ consumption.
But – the gift of sleeping each night knowing that to the best of my ability I have not harmed any living creature – that is the higher calling I strive to fulfill each day.
So I rise again, renewed at the many surprising and uplifting rewards discovered along the way:
Photo Credit: David Gallagher