As I was getting ready to write this, I just so happen to read my blog mentor's ( Lindsay Wolf, Kiss Me I'm Vegan ) interview on Marissa Miller Wolfson of Kind Green Planet . What awesome timing. You have to check it out - it's awesome! She mentions the "go-vegan-or-die" mentality that alienates some from and in the vegan lifestyle. It totally relieves the pressure. Lindsay and Marissa are beautiful examples of compassionate vegan women.
As for this blog contribution....
When I first read the definition of "vegan" I thought it was a race I had to win. At first I thought I had to rush everything and "be there" already. Now, I see it as many little goals that are highly possible to attain. As I'm pacing this beautiful process, at a pace just right for me, I'm learning wonderful things, meeting the most awesome people, and finding resources that I never knew existed! It's just like that saying "stop and smell the roses". Gradual, slowly, and at an enjoyable pace. Every one's pace will be different based on health, lifestyle, finances, ability, and so on.
Webster's dictionary describes vegan as: A strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food or dairy products; also: one who abstains from using animal products (as leather). Wikipedia defines vegan as : Veganism is a philosophy and lifestyle whose adherents seek to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose...(see more at site).
I had already made the necessary diet changes when I happen to stumble upon a quote defining veganism. I thought, "I better hurry up!" But, it was truly financially impossible to do it all at once. Now I know that the definition isn't rushing me, but instead encouraging me to make the changes as I can. Life is much more fun and exciting when you have something to look forward to.
In all the books and articles I read and even the whole foods counseling I received, taking it slow is a constant. It seems our bodies need time to adjust to the changes we make and when it's made gradually, we allow our bodies to adapt in a way that's most beneficial for our health and well-being :D Even Shadow had to be switched switched out slowly. We could tell when it was too quick because he wouldn't feel well and then we'd just pull back and slow it down. He is well on his way to being fully vegan and looking quite handsome too :D
In my case, I had severe digestive issues, and so I had to drop everything that triggered it all at once. I'm now able to make new changes slowly. For instance, when adding a new food or drink to my menu, I add one a week allowing my digestion to adapt. I also keep a food journal - Time I ate/drank/snacked, Food or drink, any outcome - did I get tired soon afterward, how my stomach felt, any runny nose, etc. It's so helpful for me.
Other gradual changes are external. We've been slowly switching out our cleaning products for ones that are earth-friendly (almost done). As far as clothing and footwear - those are even more gradual changes because we also want to be wise with our finances. There's also grooming products that we took time to switch out. We made sure to try out body washes and shampoos to find ones that worked for each of us. The first changes we made were our food storage containers and even that took time - once again, to spend wisely and not put ourselves in debt. With every change we're able to make, we celebrate. It feels so good to give back to our planet, to help others, but more than anything...it feels amazing to change at the "Taira" pace. It's so peaceful and very fulfilling. It also gives us more compassion toward others making any type of change in their lives.
My prayer is that we are encouraged to do what we can, when we can and enjoy what we find in the process...that we all keep reading, researching, and sharing what we learn. Asking a lot of questions helps us find the answers somehow, someway. Side note: Did you know that when you share what you learn you're practicing activism? Yup! I always thought an activist was a crazed lunatic...LOL. Well, I am an activist and I know I'm not crazed, just passionate to share the truth :D I'm living out loud...Yeah!!!
God Bless You all. We appreciate you and hope we let you know that all the time.