Ruth

Ruth is from Wales and has lived abroad for nearly 10 years, she enjoys her vegan lifestyle, loves animals and hopes to inspire others along the way. Her new blog is up and running at http://ruthculbreth.wordpress.com

PART II: SURVEY Q2 & Q3.
[Click here for PART I]

 
What is the best and worst parts of your vegan lifestyle?

Lifestyle by definition is the interests, opinions, behaviours and behavioural orientations of an individual, group, or culture.

Is Veganism a lifestyle?

It is certainly my interest, my opinion and my behaviour. Everything I do in my life is styled around Veganism, but I have been told in one of the survey answers that I shouldn’t coin veganism as a lifestyle and I am not sure why, but I could guess that maybe lifestyle undermines the very importance of veganism?

I would definitely never desire to take away anything from the importance of veganism. So to clarify, I should have asked: What is the best and worst aspects of being a vegan?

Personally, the best thing is discovering the truth about everything. Veganism could be metaphorically described as climbing up a ladder, each rung is a new piece of knowledge, a new ‘aha’ moment.

I was a vegetarian for 11 years purposely oblivious to the cruel dairy industry and the negative effects that dairy was having on my health.

When I knew/let myself know I could no longer ignore that cows were suffering and I became a vegan, along with my husband, in 2012. I felt that I had advanced a step, I knew more and better and I had acted on it.

Later I became more knowledgeable about the actual ingredients in my products and then I made the conscious decision to make ethical choices (ingredients and company wise) when buying anything and everything from clothes to toothpaste.

What other vegans have said in regards the best parts of being vegan, ranges from simply being healthier, to the excitement of finding new vegan food, to feeling complete inner peace. A sense of balance in mind and body. Before becoming a vegan most know that it is the right thing to do, especially if they have already stopped eating meat, but so many obstacles are thrown up in terms of socialising and accessibility.

However, once you commit yourself then you are on the road less travelled, the right side of justice, no longer complicit in the heinous industrial animal complex.

As Gene Baur, owner of The Farm Sanctuary in America, said on The Daily Show last week: “there is not much we control in our lives, but what we eat is one of the things we can.”

‘Veganism frees me from a basic fear.’

The worst part for me about being a vegan is what I also said in the positive part, I cannot buy many things without putting a lot of thought and effort into it. I am not perfect, and as I have said before veganism is actually not about being perfect, it is about facing the reality that no one is. Still it hurts when I can’t get things right. I am much more sensitive to what I consume and purchase and I feel I always have eyes on me.

People who are not vegan find it very difficult to understand the concept and there is much hostility towards those who are.

I have had people attack me for buying a smart phone, even though I am pretty sure they had one, because they believe I care for animals more than people.

The fact is I care for both, if the world transitioned to a plant-based diet less people would die of starvation because the crops used to feed livestock could be used for human consumption.

I do not buy from certain companies such as Nike or Primark because I know they are notorious for their human rights issues, but that doesn’t matter, I am vegan and if I step out of line it is noted.

I have been judged a lot for my diet by those I know as well as strangers. I have been goaded and unfairly attacked usually when I am trying to peacefully eat a meal. It has caused awkwardness and heartache and it has taken a long time for me to be strong and to stand by who I am.

Plus knowing the facts about what animals go through on a second-to-second basis is not easy, ‘ignorance is certainly bliss.’

Others have said that veganism can prove to be a lonely journey, especially if you haven’t found any active vegan groups or friends to talk with. Buying products can often prove to be a headache and requires much time and energy, and researching and eating out can also be difficult or disappointing. Spending time eating with friends and family has become such a huge part of human society that we often feel that we are missing out on these moments, however, as Jonathan Safron Froer quoted in ‘Eating Animals’: “How much do I value creating a socially comfortable situation, and how much do I value acting socially responsible?”

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