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Monday, February 7, 2011

I Am Excited

I met my brother this evening on his way to an appointment to pick up a prescription my grandma was nice enough to pick up near her house. I got a really awesome surprise! My mom sent me I Am Grateful: Recipes & Lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude. I admit it. I squealed with excitement! Since eating there in early December, I've gotten close to their almond toast and Caesar salad on my own, but I've really wanted to try more of their dishes. Now I get to! YAY!

I Am Not Judgmental

Alright. Sometimes I am judgmental, but I try to keep an open mind and look at things from different perspectives.

This last weekend, I had the good fortune of meeting one of Lance's track teammates from college. We discussed a lot of topics and I pretty quickly determined he was pretty cool guy. He had suggestions for sustainable materials to use in our house. I hate our carpeting, and he highly recommended cork as a sustainable material that actually minimizes bacteria. He is using a wool product as insulation in his house. He explained that 90% of the wool collected was put in a landfill until now, and this product uses that waste. The wool is sterilized and becomes a naturally flame retardant, insulating material. It's not a product I will be using because I don't want to support the wool industry, but on several levels I can see its benefits (eliminating the chemicals in standard insulation is a BIG one).

Lance's friend's wife has recently become vegan and he was debating doing the same. He said he feels ill and tired when he's on a vegan only diet and admitted to not wanting to put in the effort to avoid processed/packaged foods entirely. He felt some guilt from his reading, but also worried that his wife was judging him (he didn't say she did - I had a feeling it was more of an underlying concern). I stopped and thought, "Woah. Does my husband feel that way?"

Lance and I on our honeymoon in Kauai after a 3 mile hike into Waimea Canyon

When I first told close friends and family I had made the leap from a plant-based diet to being vegan, I got very mixed reviews. Actually, there was a little bit of fear mixed in those reactions. They were afraid I would become angry and start yelling at them for not also being vegan. They didn't want to feel like I thought I was better than them or watch me be self-righteous. I understood what they meant. Anyone who has been on the receiving end of a religious or lifestyle tirade knows that feeling. But - I also see why many vegans are willing to get in your face. Day after day, we are judged and the lifestyle is mocked. Sometimes people are genuinely curious. It's hard to watch people eat and wear things that had a horrible sad existence before their life was taken. It's a fine line...I feel the need to express my views, but don't want to alienate anyone.

Living peacefully in a shared household is not without its difficulties. Lance has his own sections of the fridge, and some pans and cutting boards are off limits. I have done a lot of reading and research, and it's really hard not to go on tirades. I discovered early on that I know how I feel about factory farming, the fur industry, and several other topics and reading about them just fuels the outrage I feel. I stopped reading many of the books and can't watch the movies anymore. Personally, I believe in doing the least amount of harm possible. Going forward, making conscientious clothing, food, and personal care purchases make me feel good about what I am doing. I value my relationships, and I will let others decide what they want to do.

I love my husband and my family. I will make some comments, but try to keep them to a minimum unless an open discussion is on the table. In order to have happy relationships, I've decided that I need to respect their personal lifestyle choices as much as they respect mine. Despite very meat and potatoes, traditional childhoods, I became vegan and my husband defends my decision and is confident I do the research and make the effort necessary to develop a healthy diet for myself. I feel lucky. Not only is he supportive of my diet/lifestyle, he has been absolutely wonderful - we have faced my lupus health issues together.


  1. I find it hard to not tell the information I know to my loved ones. It's because I know way too much info about health and I worry about them. I do know lots of people who are vegan and have a nonvegan partner and they make it work.

    I have to take long breaks from the videos and books too, but I do have to check in from time to time to remind myself why I do what I do.

  2. That's a good point.

    I still read the health articles. People don't seem to question the logical/empirical aspect of my choice. Ethics can bring out hostility, so I don't tend to bring it up unless an opportunity presents itself. I'm finding the less forceful I am, the more receptive people seem to be.

    I don't like being too preachy unless it's about how the fast food industry and the convenience wave after WWII really screwed over our health - Then I really can't help myself ;)

  3. It's really hard to balance activism and respect, isn't it? I often take a live and let live attitude, and wait until I'm asked about the potentially touchy issues surrounding my food and lifestyle choices. I think I've influenced a number of people to eat better just by quiet example. Sometimes it's really hard to watch friends and loved ones ignoring what seems to me to be common knowledge about health (and animal suffering), but it's so complicated. It makes me think about the religious people who come to my door and try to convert me to their beliefs with books and pamphlets — they believe so strongly that they are right.

    I'm grateful there are outspoken vegan activists who are more willing be speak out than I am.