"Try this," she said as she fanned the chili-laden fork in my face.
"What is it?" I inquired as I snatched the fork without hesitation, immediately following the directions of my colleague. As she attempted to tell me that it was vegan chili, I quickly interceded with my heartfelt "thanks" for allowing my taste buds to dance for that brief moment. Prior to this moment, I had never considered vegan. I was pretty complacent in eating well and incorporating animals and their by products into my diet. I did not see a need to eliminate either for the purposes of health. That moment, however, caused me to shift my thinking. "How might I challenge myself and go a little further with this wellness lifestyle by not eating meat?"
Let's see . . . where do I start?
Love for vegetables? Check. Love for fruit? Check. No need to drink cow's milk? Check. This, in addition to my desire for whole grains and minimally processed foods seems like a good starter kit for going vegan. . . Right? Oh, not to mention the part about how I don't really need to eat meat with every meal. I'm good and ready to go!
...or so I thought. "Try it out," I told myself. In going forth with trying it out, I decided I would begin composing my list of "whys" for becoming a vegan throughout the process. Once I actually began to embark upon the journey, I realized the only substantial reason I had was that it would give me an opportunity to get more creative with my recipes and not rely solely on meat and other animal by products. Once I started, I realized, I really did not miss chicken or other meats. The only food items that had a tight grasp on my taste buds were cheese and eggs. This prompted me to, further, consider why I wanted to carry the title vegan. Did I simply want to be part of the trend or was there some deeper reason? This second check-in provoked me to dig a bit deeper for a second reason: hormones.
Fortunately, I have had multiple opportunities to experience life outside of America the Great. In my travels, I am always reminded of how distinctly different poultry looks and tastes abroad. I am also reminded of the cause: mass production. As a New York native, there are not many opportunities for us to grow organic and while we are allowed to purchase “organic,” are we really? We do not know what is truly being marketed to us. In addition, meat is pumped with hormones, fattening it and making it so that more people can be fed. This was my new “why.” I wanted to have a bit more control of what I was depositing into my body.
I continued to swim with these two “whys,” yet, were finding more and more that they were not enough for me. Ultimately, all of the things we eat are junk. The only true way we can be sure that we are eating well is by growing our own foods. [Yes, even our fruits and vegetables are sprayed with pesticides, chemicals that are to the detriment of our health.]
...and just as quickly as I had gulped the idea of myself going vegan is just as quickly as I had regurgitated it. The title is too confining. Healthy/ health conscious has been and always will be the ultimate goal. I do not think anything is wrong with veganism. I have just found that it is not for me and that is ok. Everything is not for me.