A year ago I was enjoying alone time after a week of family visiting. Somehow, I found myself alone for a few hours at home and ended up watching the documentary Vegucated. That night, I made one of the best decisions of my life. That night, I decided to go vegan.
Six months ago, I was thrilled I had made it that far into my journey. Not because it was necessarily hard to be vegan, but because I felt like I had achieved something I previously never thought that I could. In fact, it wasn’t hard for me to be vegan! I had navigated sensitive situations such as deciding not to cook food that wasn’t vegan, even for my non-vegan husband(then-fiancé). I travelled to Italy for my wedding and honeymoon and was able to resist the “temptation” of cheese – everywhere! I overcame self-doubt about how I should look and act in order to “be vegan” or to feel like I was representing veganism in the best possible way. These experiences were not necessarily easy, but I would like to think that the lessons I’ve learned have enabled me to grow into a stronger, kinder and more open person. And for that, I am grateful.
Some people might still wonder why I would say that going vegan is one of the best decisions of my life. The simple answer is that going vegan has been an essential step toward recognizing an idea, paradigm, lifestyle that I want to manifest. That idea is to choose love.
Over the past year I have come to realize that this simple phrase weaves throughout the entire framework of my existence. My goals, in every aspect of my life, can be distilled down to this one tiny, yet powerful, idea of choosing love.
In terms of everyday interactions with friends, family and coworkers, choosing love would be the act of truly listening, trying to understand things from another’s viewpoint, giving people the benefit of the doubt. In terms of my own personal and emotional experience, choosing love is to know myself better so I take better care of my mind and body. Choosing love helps me get through times of insecurity and fear. My new motto has become, “when in doubt, choose love!”
In terms of living a vegan lifestyle, choosing love takes so many forms, the most obvious of which is choosing not to kill another living being for food. But we are also choosing to love ourselves by taking a step toward better health. Once we begin to dig a little deeper, we find the effects of a vegan lifestyle includes lower rates of disease and reducing environmental destruction. By choosing a vegan lifestyle we are also choosing love for our bodies and our planet, along with all of her inhabitants.
So it only makes sense that going vegan would be my next step in a progression of choosing love.
Something changed when I decided to go vegan. Something more than the fact that I stopped eating cheese. I was scared at first, but that feeling was overpowered by my desire to do what I felt was right. And by following this feeling, I felt my heart swell. I literally felt like the grinch when his heart grew three sizes. It was as if there were parts of my heart that I had never felt before. This has been a constant feeling over the past year. Every once in a while I stop to think about what it means to be vegan and I feel this rush of happiness that I decided to take the leap.
Because to me, being vegan means choosing love. And sometimes that is scary. But as the magnet on my fridge reminds me daily, “everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
Exactly a year later, I sit here pondering making another huge change in my life and I can’t help but notice the parallels. The fears starting to creep in. The “what ifs?” And as I write about all I have learned from my experience of going vegan, I am still realizing the power of choosing love.
Are you interested in trying a vegan diet? Check out my vegan resources page for some for some of the books, movies, podcasts, etc that helped me during my transition. And please feel free to connect!