Thursday, July 13, 2006

Can I be vegan?

It's not a question to me of whether I have the desire to be vegan, or even the willpower. I much prefer plant-based foods. My only holdback is, Will I ever be able to have a vegan business lunch? Will I ever be able to visit my parents without fasting? What about retreats? What about those times when you're just in a pinch and need to grab a bite to eat, and nothing seems to suit? I read about the daily adventures of so many vegans, but most of them involved home-cooked food. I love to cook, but the reality of my life right now is that I cannot cook every meal for myself. What about all you on-the-go vegans? You wacky-schedule vegans? You accountant vegans whose managers and clients take you out to lunch weekly to restaurants that feature nothing but eighteen different cuts of beef?

It was not in anticipation of this summer that I chose to become pescovegetarian rather than true vegetarian or vegan, although it has been a difficult feat just to stick to such a diet. The office has been very willing to work with me, but not always very considerate about my diet. I don't blame them at all; I am sure that vegetarianism is very far from most of them, and they don't realize how someone can be so committed to that kind of lifestyle. I have found that, in any given group that I am a part of, it takes one or two times of not eating anything when I'm with them because there's nothing suitable for me to eat, before they realize that I am very serious. But had I cut fish out of my diet before this summer, let alone animal products altogether, there would have been several occasions when I was just entirely up the creek. How do you take two very different lifestlyes and fuse them, and live it well and happily, and not stick out in a very bad way to everyone around you?

I love explaining to people why I have chosen to be vegetarian. In fact, tonight I was able to tell someone the reasons why I want to become vegan. It means a lot to me when people actually ask my reasons, and don't just sit back and think, Okay, whatever... It challenges me to remember my own convictions, and I always hope that it strikes a chord with my audience.

Of course, the main reason Bob and I made our decision was because we felt like the Lord wanted that for us--not necessarily for everyone, but certainly for the two of us. And that is something a lot of people don't understand, making it difficult to share that aspect of our reasoning. When you tell someone you have made a particular decision "because the Lord told us to," the first assumption is often that you are about to start preaching some lifestyle that you believe to be the absolute truth. Of course, I believe Jesus is the absolute Truth, though I don't go around preaching Him without some sort of opening. But veg*nism? No, I don't think everyone is called to that. I don't think there's anything morally wrong with eating meat until it becomes a personal conviction. In fact, most of the people who closely share my spiritual beliefs do not understand the moral and ethical aspects of abstaining from animal-based foods. It's been a great decision for us, but not one that very many people around us, in any circle, understand or are sympathetic to. When your family scoffs at your choice and takes the attitude of You can come visit but if you get hungry you're on your own; when your friends think that the Lord calling you to become vegetarian is something straight out of the book of Ezekiel; when all the world around you is built for something entirely different from you, and it's just you and your husband standing in the middle of it all, it makes it hard to stand up for what you believe in. Not because you waver in your conviction, but because no one gives you the chance to stand up and say the things that are on your heart. Everywhere people think I'm something I'm not, and they don't give me the opportunity to answer to their assumptions about me. What do I do?

Just keep living, and understand that my choice is a good choice, and no one but God has to think so.

1 comment:

Beata said...

You know the nice (or not so nice) thing? I don't think they take you out to eat all that much when you actually work full-time, unless you're the one doing the taking out of the interns. Anyhow - glad that you're making it work. Sean and I are considering being pescovegeterians (sp?) also, but certainly not before the summer ends. Anyhow, we should go out on another double-date sometime. Last time was fun!