It is officially over a year since I started living a vegan lifestyle. I hope you have followed my journey in my Going Vegan series. Even after one year of eating vegan, I can still say that I am only halfway to living a "completely vegan" lifestyle. (I will get back to that statement.)
As I have always said, for me being vegan is an on-going process and not one that I take lightly. I was very honest about the fact that I would be taking progressive steps toward living the most vegan lifestyle I possibly can, but was not aiming for perfection. I am thankful for the wonderful advice from many experienced vegans and am truly grateful to have several I can turn to for tips and encouragement.
The most popular question people ask me is what do I miss the most. Occasionally I miss omelets or french toast. Mainly I just miss the ability to go anywhere and be able to eat. But there are far more foods that I thought I would miss and don't - like cheese. Remember how I thought I wouldn't be able to live without cheese?! Regardless, I always go back to why I became vegan, because in the end it isn't about who is more vegan than me, it is about making the choices that will help me sleep at night.
The second most popular question I get asked is how I feel (physically) being vegan. I feel fantastic. I have had zero side effects and I am slowly learning to eat healthier, but I will be the first to admit that being vegan didn't necessarily make me a health nut! I hope to improve on that this year.
I think I pretty much have the food thing down, but I have to tell you that in order to fit my active lifestyle I do not worry about possible cross-contamination when it comes to dining out. And, while I have made the move to vegan / cruelty-free products for about 75% of my personal non-food products, I still have quite a way to go in that area.
I am always amazed at how some non-vegans will criticize me because I am not 100% vegan overall (meaning, things outside of food.) I am even MORE amazed at how many vegans will criticize me for the same thing.
When I started out on this journey to live a LESS CRUEL lifestyle, I was very clear that my goal was not to be perfect. In fact, few of us could live a "completely vegan" lifestyle. That would mean every thing we eat, wear, and use would have zero animal by-products AND use zero animal testing AND have zero impact on animal habitats. Materials such as medications, adhesives, plastics, fertilizers, and pet food - to name just a fraction of products - are all made from animal parts.
Therefore, the real question remains.....is it worth eating/buying vegan for the most part if there are still so many other non-vegan items that are currently still difficult to avoid? For me the obvious answer is YES!
I think the lesson I learned most during the first year of being vegan is that there are too many people not willing to make ANY changes because they can't see themselves giving up everything so why bother. WHY BOTHER? Because in my very humble opinion, I think even the smallest steps towards a less cruel world are HUGE steps toward a better humanity.
Read more of my Going Vegan series.