WIAW: I’ve Got Some Explaining To Do

Ok, I don’t know how long or short this post will be, but I am going address a few topics on my radar that are close to my heart. I’ve both been asked and pondered this question the past month or so and it’s time to explain what happened, come clean and then introduce what’s happening now.

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Here we go.

About a month or so ago, I stopped being vegan. People close to me noticed after a few weeks, so it’s not like I denounced it and began pounding steak. I just simply began eating leftover food that was not guaranteed vegan. Some of my readers noticed when I eliminated my vegan page, changed my about me and did not say “daiya cheese” or “toffuitti” and said “cheese” or “cream cheese” when writing WIAW or recipes.

That is the confession. Here we go with reasoning:

The biggest reason was the waste. Due to the nature of my job, we have a lot of food that gets thrown away. For a couple months now, it started to really bug me that I would be able to eat these things if it were not for the cheese or dressing that they had. Same was true for desserts we threw away. If only there weren’t butter or something in them, I would be able to consume them. It was just so much food. When others have so little and I am fortunate to have a job with abundance, I felt ashamed and guilty for throwing many things away. I stopped thinking about the bigger issue and focused on something closer to home.

The second reason is something I addressed in an earlier post (not at huge length about it) when another vegan I respected threw my views and religion under the bus. He is a member of my SHVP team and I had asked him for running help before. I was caught off guard by his comments about people of faith. He essentially called me dumb for believing in God. This was not directed at me, but as a general response to the hashtag #PrayForParis. Not only did this happen, but many other people on my SHVP team agreed and furthered the bullying of faith based people and believers. I felt sick and really at odds with these people who I believe to be good. How could some one who cares so much for animals has so little respect for their fellow man? I was so disappointed not only in them, but in the vegan community. I saw them as hypocrites and just angry people I did not want to be associated with. Again, I stopped thinking about the bigger issue and MY vegan journey apart from others.

The third reason was activist burn out. I felt tired of always being on alert. I was done with trying to change people or even responding to the question “How can you not eat cheese?!” I just didn’t want to answer these things anymore, especially after the aforementioned episode. I just wanted to not feel like I had to explain my lunch choice to people who say they love bacon. I was over it.

Now, thinking rationally, I was tired yes, but being a vegan does not mean I have to be a vegan activist. Or at least, an active vegan activist. My choices are enough to be aligned with my ethics and morals. If I choose not to defend my food/clothing, that’s fine and I am no less a vegan for doing so.

Also, this one vegan (or, these few vegans) are not a representative sample of the population at large. One person who obviously has a lot of baggage to deal with and has not thought about the people who he offends has made hurtful statements, but that does not reflect veganism at all. In fact, it is the exact opposite. The lack of compassion is so not what vegans are about. Veganism include all beings in it’s realm of care. If this person had been living his morals I doubt he would have made the claims he did.

I think I wanted to rebel against that in a sense. I wanted to choose God over veganism (even thoughΒ I believe they can be one in the same) and basically say SCREW YOU to this person and anyone who shared this view. It was immature, yes I know, but as I am human I make mistakes. The tiredness from the burn out and the ease at which I could do this looked very inviting.

Ok, now the waste. This past month, I began to partake in some of the items that had dairy on them. I still did not consume eggs or meat. I could never do that, but considering dairy is in everything, it’s easier to not think about the harm. The animals live, it’s just a piece of cheese or dressing. Move on.

The results however was that I still wasted just as much. I don’t have a big enough stomach to eat everything that must be thrown away. Even if I just ate the vegan stuff, I still threw some of that away! It’s just too much and made no difference at all! So, I’m still trying to come up with something to do about it, but eating non-vegan food didn’t really have any effect.

Where am I now? Well, I’m going back to veganism.

3

I began to think about the animals. Whether it mattered that I ate a bit of dairy or cheese that would get thrown away anyway. I talked to a wise lady who gave me some perspective. She essentially helped free myself from being the perfect vegan. I don’t need to be an activist, but live my truth. It matters that I don’t consume animal products. It matters that I try to be ethical even if I don’t shout it from the rooftops or “educate” people when they ask why I don’t eat cheese.

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I just should live my truth, and that truth is veganism.

So, I am going back to being vegan. I am allowing myself to throw things away and freeing myself from responsibility. It’s sad, but it’s not my sadness. I believe it is used in some way even if it is unclear to me. I am looking at veganism through my lens, the Ellie lens and what that means to me. I do not want to cause harm if I can help it. I am not perfect, but I do want to minimize the damage. Doing so includes being an example and trying to do the best I can. I will not be a militant vegan or talk about it unless I am at a good place and am asked. With the responsibility I have in my life (2 jobs, running etc) I don’t have the capacity or want that stress right now.

I will just live my truth and do the best I can.

Alrighty that was LONG and necessary. Thanks for sticking with me because I now have pictures of my eats πŸ™‚ Thanks to Jenn for the WIAW link-up! No judgements, just yummy eats.

BREAKFAST

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Banana bread bowl and apple. Topped with SALTED CARAMEL peanut butter. Be still my heart!

LUNCH

4

Edamame succotash with melted Daiya cheese and a pear. All my coworkers thought this smelled great. I’d have to agree, our bakery and culinary department does a fabulous job with their bean salads.

DINNER

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Another banana bread bowl (I have a lot of browning bananas and after breakfast I just wanted another one!) Side of broccoli and snaps with dip.

SNACK

3

Walnut Butter Cornflake Cookie Pie. I made this up with the help of Chocolate Covered Katie. Maybe a recipe sometime next week, but it’s honestly so much like the butterfinger one there’s almost no point.

Ok, I’ve talked a lot. I’d love to hear your thoughts on anything and everything πŸ™‚

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35 comments

  1. There were six years in my youth that I refused to eat deserts, oil and fried foods in general, and especially, chocolate (from 12 years old to 18). I thought that was the healthy way to go. I got a lot of resistance for that from my siblings. Why won’t you eat some? Why won’t you eat some? What is wrong with you? my siblings would razz. They razzed me about my running, too, that I did from the time I was 9, every day. I don’t always run, anymore, and I don’t always follow a strict diet of any kind, anymore. For a week or so, I was trying with my wife to replace meet with soy proteins. She was complaining constantly. I guess the flavor was not there had been there, anyway. I served an LDS mission for the LDS church, and when I came back I saw very clearly the things being taught in meetings that contradicted scripture. I spoke and spoke, but it always turned into fights. I thought God didn’t want me fighting, so I felt justified in leaving. That lasted 6 or 7 seven years, but I went back. I finally figured out I just didn’t fit in there when I walked out of a terrible meeting and got physically assaulted for it. We all have judgment calls to make about what to face and for how long. The apartment complex where I live started a walking program for walking hallways from 12 noon to 5 pm. Nevertheless, there has always been resistance to the program, and yesterday it came to a fore when one neighbor rammed me with his shoulder as I was walking past. Not only that, but he followed me down the hallway as though he wasn’t finished yet. I called the cops, but it turns out he had called the cops also. Figures. He had called the cops on me back in November claiming I had a snake in my house. Anyway, we always get flack for standing up for what is right, but, again, in this case I’m just considering backing down and doing my walking and exercise elsewhere. Life.

  2. Thank you for being so open and honest with this Ellie. I applaud you for giving yourself the grace to move away from veganism when it seemed right. And you’re just as justified in going back to it! We all have the right to experiment with our diet and lifestyle choices, and I think it’s really great that you were able to do so in such a free way without judging yourself! Good for you girl!

  3. Ellie, you rock. Way to do what YOU think is right and not what others think. I totally get you about the “mean to other people but not animals” vegans, as well as the preachy and judgmental vegans. I actively try not to be one of those, and it makes me sad that they give a bad reputation to veganism. One of my favorite phrases from your whole post is:
    “I don’t need to be an activist, but live my truth. It matters that I don’t consume animal products. It matters that I try to be ethical even if I don’t shout it from the rooftops or ‘educate’ people when they ask why I don’t eat cheese.” Preach the GOOD things, lady!
    I’m happy you switched back to veganism, but I’m especially happy that you’re doing it more for yourself so it fits with your lifestyle.
    About the food waste… could you give the leftover food to a food bank? Or if you can’t give it away, could you compost it and turn it into soil that you could then later use for a community (or work) garden? Then your work could use the garden harvest for their food! Just some ideas for you.
    Your meals look delicious- especially the banana bread bowl with peanut butter on it. YUM!
    Love this post! xx

  4. You are both gracious and honest Ellie! I completely respect you for your decision on both sides. I LOVE that you are SO honest, and that you aren’t letting your decisions be driven by wavering opinions of other people. It’s tough but rewarding to keep seeking the Lord in everything that we do.

  5. I love your honesty in this post. So many people can be critical of others without any real insight into that persons life, even those within communities to which they belong. I really admire your courage in stepping back and taking a look at your own lifestyle and proving that it’s okay to try something out without making any permanent changes. I really enjoyed reading this post, you do you!

    • Thank you so much! It means so much to me that you took the time to respond. The support I feel from you is amazing ❀ I also love the name "clusterforked" πŸ™‚

  6. You are so awesome Ellie. I love how open and honest you are in this post. Sometimes it’s scary to talk about things like this since we feel like we’re “letting someone down” or not fitting a mold we think that we are “supposed” to fit into. Being able to put all of that aside and speak honestly is amazing.
    Now, who ever spoke to you like that – I hope you’ve cut them from your life. Jerks like that do not deserve a second of your time. People who intentionally try to hurt others or speak in an insensitive way are gross.
    I can relate to a lot of this on a different level – I was a vegetarian for 7 or so years. It started as my form of “rebellion” when my parents got divorced and I stuck with it. I started experimenting with adding in meat when I met my husband for a bunch of different reasons, and although I felt a guilt, I felt so much better physically that it outweighed my conscience. It sparked starting my active lifestyle and a 50 pound weight loss. But I digress. It was what was right FOR ME. And that is all that matters. That’s what’s important – if being a vegan or not being a vegan is what makes you feel your healthiest and your best physically, mentally, and emotionally then DO IT. Who cares what others think? Anyone who cannot accept that does not deserve your time, emotions, or energy.
    PHEW that was long.

  7. Hi Ellie
    I just wanted to tell you how much I respect your honesty and understand the place you are coming from. As a vegan myself I know what the community can be like!
    I have been through a lot of the same as you have, and returned to/ remained in veganism.
    For myself, for the animals and for the environment.
    Just stand your ground whatever you choose, be confident in the choices that feels right TO YOU and don’t mind what others say/think ! πŸ™‚
    One (or a few) jerks is not a general picture of vegans, they are just often the loudest ones, unfortunately πŸ˜‰

  8. This —> “I don’t need to be an activist, but live my truth.” And this —> “It’s sad, but it’s not my sadness.” These are words to live by (you really are wonderful with words, m’lady).
    I highly commend you for not only going through this back and forth experimentation, and letting yourself take the journey to find what your truth is…but for then sharing it with us. Everything you said is so human. We, of course, get swayed by other peoples’ opinions and comments – even if we think we aren’t – and it can make our minds a confusing place to try and sort out what our own beliefs and opinions are. But you did exactly what you needed to – you tried different things – and now you’ve come to a place where you feel more certain and know that you do not need the validation from others. You just need to know why you are doing it – for yourself.
    Sorry. That was wordy. This was just a really great post.
    Also. Salted caramel peanut butter!? Where do I find this…

    • Can we be best friends please? πŸ™‚ This means so much to me Cora, you’re the best ❀ Also, the salted caramel PB is by Jiff

  9. Love the days worth of eats and your openness about your story. I think it is really sad that some vegans are so hateful and angry towards others. I have learned that people that are interested in veganism will come to me with questions. I don’t need to push my views on anyone, because that won’t get anywhere. You don’t have to justify or explain your diet choices to anyone, but the way you have explained it here is very eloquent and well spoken!

  10. I think you made a great point about food waste. Perhaps you can convince your store to donate some.
    I find what you said about your vegan running friends to be reflective in a lot of educated groups. I just don’t understand how the same people who can be compassionate towards animals and fight for social justice issues can be so demeaning towards people of faith. It’s like it is okay to be open-minded unless it’s Christianity.
    I totally respect the way you came to your own conclusion. I think what is important is that you have a “vegan heart”, meaning you truly care for the animals. If you happen to eat a little animal product here and there, no stress, because you know what your beliefs are! ❀

    • Thanks Kate πŸ™‚ I know you understand how frustrating it is when people make our beliefs unimportant. It breaks my heart because these people need Jesus. I feel encouraged by people like you who are changing the hearts and minds of youth. We can be confident in the future with these teens.

  11. I’m proud of you Ellie for doing what is best for you! I totally respect your decision and every point you had on this post made complete sense. You did exactly what you needed to do for you, and that’s all that counts! xoxo

  12. Oh my, I love this! I have never been big on the activist part of veganism. Instead I let my actions and decisions influence others in my life and encourage those around me to be open to the idea. I have been experimenting with my diet lately because of stupid health drama, and perhaps I’ll talk about it on the blog, but for now I’m just trying to figure out what is working for me and what isn’t. Mentally though, I do best when eating fully vegan, it’s just a matter of getting my insides on par with my mind. HA.

    As for the waste, the amount of food we toss at Starbucks is just atrocious. I have to accept this in all areas too because I used to often overeat things simply to prevent waste. This is obviously not a healthy approach, so waste is sadly inevitable and I’ve learned to just let it be. You gave it a try…it didn’t work, and that’s all that you can do!

    • Oh yea I worked at Starbucks for a month or so and they wouldn’t let us eat anything! Everything got tossed because they could get sued if we got sick 😦 Totally sucks!
      Thanks for your encouragement Britt ❀ I know you get me on the vegan stuff πŸ™‚

  13. Ellie YES, live your truth!

    (Youtube – Enigma _ The Cross of Changes)

    …there’s a universal justice, and the eyes of truth are always watching you’

  14. Love your honesty!! Also yay for veganism hehe. Would you be able to take some of the food from your work to a homeless shelter or something along those lines?? At one of my old jobs at the end of the night a charity would come pick up all the leftover food product. It made me so happy.

    • I’m working out these details but I do try to give it to the homeless people sitting across the road (I just have to do it when my boss doesn’t see it)

  15. Salted caramel peanut butter! That sounds amazing. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend who was disrespectful of your faith. I myself identify as agnostic, but I’ve always had the utmost respect for people of faith, and it’s never okay to put someone down for something so personal and central to their identity. Good for you for sticking to your guns–and by ‘guns,’ I mean your loving, vegan runner strength!

    • Thank you Joyce! I have prayed for and forgiven the person. That took a lot of effort, but it’s pointless to hold grudges or base my actions on those of others.

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