I started eating this way after reading The China Study, Engine 2 Diet, watching Forks over Knives, Food, Inc. and others. As I age I realize I need to take better care of this body that I have been given. there are still a lot of places I would like to visit, hiking trails I would like to hike, roads I would like to bike down, etc. Besides not contributing to the destruction of animals, I believe this is the answer to better health. I just struggle to stay true to this way of eating. All encouragement is welcome.
Posted by seanubs at 06/04/13 08:42:27Don't beat yourself up, the more you feel guilty the tighter you are going to bind up your guilt. Just accept your mistakes as stepping stones to your goal not as failures. I am the only one as well, but you have to realize people look up to you for doing this and if they don't well they don't see the entirety of things. Even if you attend family gatherings, how awkward they may be, just remember that its the awkwardness that you are feeling that are saving tons of lives and just one person can make that difference.
Posted by trippinvegan at 06/04/13 12:33:53Honestly, I think if you eat a balanced, largely plant-based diet, and only indulge very occasionally eating animal products, you are probably doing very little overall harm to your health. (Similar to limiting consumption of sugar, caffeine, excessive fats, etc., and assuming you have no underlying medical complications that make animal products more harmful to your health than the average population.)
The tricky bit comes when the decision to maintain a vegan diet is predominantly an ethical one, not a health-based one. As an ethical vegan, if I purposefully consume a product I know is not vegan, I have violated my own ethical code.
If a person who is trying to eat a vegan diet predominantly for health reasons consumes a product they know is not vegan, there is no actual ETHICAL dilemma at all. There could potentially be consequences for their health, but again, those consequences would probably not be too dire if animal products were consumed only in careful moderation.
I would suggest that if you are worried primarily about the healthfulness of eating animal products, maybe give yourself a guideline of how often you will allow yourself to indulge a product you generally try to avoid (for example: "I'll let myself have a serving of my mother-in-law’s casserole on Monday, but will actively avoid any other animal products for the rest of the week"). That way you can mostly avoid the ramifications on your health while feeling you can still “indulge” on occasion.
If you should choose veganism as a lifestyle from an ethical perspective, it might be helpful to transition more gradually, as a firmer line is more necessary. So you could say, “Okay, no more meat now. No exceptions.” Then a few weeks later, draw the line on eggs. Then dairy, etc. That way you give yourself and those around you more time to adjust to a more hard-nosed stance. (NOT being firm can be confusing for those around you, and they may be less likely to take your choices seriously.)
Whatever you should decide to do, remember that ANY reduction in the consumption of animal products is better for your health, animals, and the environment, so any effort you are willing to put in is awesome! Good luck!
Posted by DC1346 at 06/05/13 09:42:29If you haven't already done so, watch the 2011 film "Vegucated." It's about a vegan producer who found 3 non-vegans in New York City who were willing to go on a vegan diet for 6 weeks.
One of the participants, Telsa, had the same problem that you're describing.