Conscious Consumption Pt. 1
In high school, my sister became vegetarian. The whole concept boggled my mind - why would anyone choose to restrict themselves like that? With their whole life ahead of them - years of deprivation! And even if you wanted to, how could you do it?
I've been vegetarian for almost 3 years now. I entered the veg world with health as my main priority, but over time the environmental and animal welfare benefits started to make more sense to me. These benefits only reinforced my decision to be vegetarian.
Though I've dabbled with veganism in the past, I never felt fully committed. While I understood the positive impacts and knew it was something I wanted to work towards, I never quite felt ready for it. It just felt so daunting! I mean, no more cheese? Ever?! No CHOCOLATE??!
Over the past few months, I've made slow, inconsistent changes, and I'm truly happy with where I am. I used to put so much pressure on myself, thinking that if I wasn't going all-in, I was failing. I don't want to give up chocolate, but I try to opt for dark (milk chocolate unleashes my cravings and always ends in a wild headache). I choose not to eat cheese (but I will taste a nacho off your plate if it looks really good!). I left ice cream behind a couple years ago (my very favorite treat!), but I make my own simple, tasty substitute and I honestly don't miss the dairy. When people ask, it's easier for me to say that I'm vegan, but it's not true. I'm "plant-based," with the goal of health improvement and harm reduction.
This world isn't perfect, and none of us living in it are perfect either. We all have to start somewhere, and aiming for perfection typically sets us up for perceived failure. We can aim for one simple, healthier meal a week, or one sustainable article of clothing (aka: second hand). I don't want to tell you to be vegan - that would be hypocritical. Overall, I think we can all just try to be more aware of the things we're buying and consuming -- what they're made of and where they come from.