I’ve been vegetarian for 10 years. It started with reading Fast Food Nation freshman year of high school. I had sat in a class for a charter school where they were reading it. Though I didn’t end up going to that school I bought the book at read it. It took about a year after reading the book for me to fully commit to vegetarianism. After slowly cutting down on this and that, figuring out foods I liked I announced to everyone on some July evening at a BBQ that I was vegetarian. Then I handed the host some veggie burgers I bought. My parents said it was a phase. My boyfriend rolled his eyes. My friends didn’t take it seriously. It took almost five years for my family to come to terms with the fact I was vegetarian. They thought I was starving myself or delusional. But now it’s an integral part of my identity.
In college, I had been thinking about becoming vegan. Many of my friends were already vegan. Then one day, I was working in the book section of Hastings and stumbled across The PETA College Cookbook. After I bought it, PETA showed up at my campus. They had their yearly screening of animal slaughter videos. It just seemed like a sign that veganism was supposed to happen.
So I was vegan for 7 months. Then I started eating cheese because I was dating this guy. We’d go places and I didn’t want to be complicated. He was a carnivore so finding a medium was difficult. Also I moved in with my parents to save for my move to Spain and cheese was everywhere. My dad keeps like 3-5 different kinds of cheese in the fridge.
Eventually I faltered and just started having eggs and cheese again. I didn’t feel motivated enough to go back to veganism because Spain is all about cheese and eggs too. If I was going to live in Spain, veganism would mean I could never ever eat out. Realistically, that would give me no social life and that was not something I could do in a new country where I had few friends. Also, vegan products are either overpriced or difficult to get in Spain.
Now I still cook a lot of vegan stuff but veganism is hard. All these bloggers say it’s easy but often the choice is to avoid eating out with friends or feeling free to be social. While I love animals and of course I represent the vegetarian lifestyle, I’m not going to sit here and say there aren’t real sacrifices.
I think I will eventually try to be vegan again. Los Angeles seems like it would be the best place to do that. I’ll also be in a better place emotionally to focus on my health. There’s so much happening in my life that once I can move to into a more permanent location, for the first time in two and a half years, I can get into a healthy, regular routine.
Let me know what you think about the difference between vegetarianism and veganism!