I’m being very strict within the rules I’ve set for myself:
- No meat
- No dairy
- No eggs
- Seafood is meat
- Unknown foods can be eaten, but known quantities are preferable
- Trace amounts of egg and dairy are permissible when “pure” alternatives are not at hand, but not desirable
I’m not nearly as strict as a lot of vegans, but I don’t live in a very vegan friendly area, and I’m downright radical by Mississippi standards.
Generally, I try to follow the advice I found on PETA’s website: try to make this look easy and attractive to the people around you.
If you’re obsessive about every “may contain traces of” label to the point of holding up everyone around you, you’re making vegetarianism, veganism, etc. look really bad, and you’re being rude to boot.
But, within my own parameters, I’ve been strict. I don’t have vacation days when I eat meat or cheese. I’ve had a few crap meals at restaurants because the only things there that weren’t meat our chess were fried dill pickles and rubbish iceberg lettuce salads.
It hasn’t really been a big sacrifice; more of an annoyance.
But the consistency has kept me on the path. This is not going to be just another one of my fads.
In the past, I’d start something strong, and then an event would come up, and I’d make an exception. Then another event would come up, and I’d make another exception. And another. And another.
Until pretty soon, my whole life was an exception. I don’t want to feel that sense of failure and weakness again, not when there are so many good moral and physical reasons to be a herbivore.
So I’m digging my heels in, politely, as cheerfully as I can.
Sometimes there is a virtue in inflexibility.