16 September, 2007
Posted by Unknown
Or, alternatively titled, "Isn't it hard to go vegan?"
This question, I think, is right up there in the frequently asked column. Like every single day frequent. It comes in all shapes and sizes: 'I don't have the will-power', 'I could ... except for the cheese', 'vegetarian maybe, but definitely not vegan' etc. However, unlike some questions (think along the lines of Plants Have Feelings), this one is genuinely valid. To some, and I guess all at some point, it's a looming transformation. Gotcha; understood.
It can probably be attributed to two things: 1) an honest (or not so honest) skepticism about what it is exactly that vegans eat, or 2) the traditional disconnect between the consumption of food and our behaviour towards other animals.
As almost everyone who even considers veganism in passing wonders this, the first reason makes some sense. Veganism is strongly associated with a dietry category, and therefore, a viable solution to the 'If not meat or dairy, what else?' idea must be accounted for. We are nothing without a practical solution to this ... erh ... crisis. Culinary King (or Queen ;) ), Dino, already has this covered so I won't rehash it.
On the second point, I think ethics come into play. Yep, I said it - that dreaded word: ethics. On the outset, veganism comes off as a pretty radical change. And, I'm not going to lie to you, in many ways it is. For most vegans that I know, this change is more of a change in outlook rather than anything else of significance. Put simply, it opens new doors and avenues previously unexplored instead of closing them.
More to the point (and less of my rambling), I don't think this perceived superhuman will-power even comes into the equation. Once your truly sold on the idea of compassion for all animals and stopping horrific exploitation, there is no need to somehow measure your courage, and wonder if you can muster the strength to climb that ledge. You just do it. You match behaviour to ethics, and you feel all the more joyous for it. This is not to say that it must be an overnight, cold-tofu approach, but you create stepping-stones in that direction if that is what will work best for you.
For me personally, veganism can be likened to a reward - I have sacrificed nothing and gained absolutely everything. Yes, I know - it sounds cliche. However, it also happens to be completely true.
So, in a belated answer to the original question, no it's not too hard.