I became vegan for what I believe are the right reasons: non-harm and compassion for the pain and suffering of animal agriculture.
I became vegan for what I believe are the right reasons, primarily, non-harm and compassion for the pain and suffering animal agriculture inflicts on what many see as food. I just don’t believe we need to consume animal products and it pains me to think about the pain and misery inflicted on billions of animals every day.
I had always sold myself, as many meat eaters do, on the fact that farm animals are raised in human and caring environments and then killed quickly. Additionally, I believed these animals are not as smart as us and we need their protein. So at first, when I became vegan, it was about not participating in the physical harm. But, now what has me far more engaged in the vegan cause, is the lack of compassion for all the emotional hurt we humans inflict on these animals. Aside from the fact that they don’t share the same intelligence as us, they are the same emotionally, equal in fact, as us. They love, they feel sadness and loneliness, and of course, they feel pain, the pain humans inflict. All this to satisfy the needs of humans, needs that could be served without harm.
...it pains me to think about the pain and misery inflicted on billions of animals every day.
But I'm a bad vegan. Last year I bought a new car and I didn’t even think about the leather seats. I bought wool socks recently because it’s a brand I’ve always purchased. Sometimes when I travel, I’m forced, or rather look the other way when making a meal choice that has egg or dairy in it. On a recent trip to Jordan, I obliged my host when I ate a dish that had yogurt and feta in it. I feel horrible, I feel ashamed, and I beat myself up. I know this way of thinking is not productive, I know I’m 99% in line with veganism, but being 1% off on this is different than being 1% off on other types of diets or lifestyles. Right?
I feel like an alcoholic sneaking a drink or a gambling addict buying lottery tickets.
I try to justify my 1% by telling myself it’s so minimal in comparison to the 99% impact I am having. The power this 1% has over me is incredible. It’s a fight inside my head, with the devil on one shoulder and a vegan angel on the other. How can I justify eating something with cheese in it when a cow has suffered? A non-vegan might find this comical, I find it incredibly challenging.
My mind tells me to relax. My heart tells me to do better, or maybe it’s the reverse with my heart trying to soften.
How can I be a good vegan if I cheat sometimes?
Do you cheat? How do you deal with it?
Let us know in the comments.