Being vegan—the journey so far

I didn’t think being vegan was going to be particularly hard, writes Miyuki McGuffie. In mid-June she decided to shun animal products for a four-week trial period. With that month well and truly over, she shares her impressions of the diet—and finds that rather than providing a solution, it has raised even more questions …

In mid-June blogger Miyuki McGuffie decided to shun animal products for a four-week trial period. With that month well and truly over, she shares her impressions of the diet

Friends, not food? Photo by Miyuki McGuffie at Flat Hills Tourist Park in Waiouru, central North Island

I didn’t think being vegan was going to be particularly hard, considering that I’d already given up meat and limited my intake of dairy and eggs to food that would have been waste otherwise. I decided to go vegan as an act of taking real responsibility for my food choices. Although I’m still developing my stance on farming (not just the factory kind, which I abhor), I felt that it was time to bite the bullet, put my money where my mouth was, and so on.

Breakfast is easy: I normally have toasted homemade bread or porridge cooked with water, accompanied by a few different fruits. Help from an obliging chef at work, who is happy to cater for me as creatively as she can, means I don’t have to think about dinner unless she asks me what I feel like or isn’t working a particular night (in which case I’m on my own, and usually just end up eating a bowl of plain veggies).

Snacks can be a tough one. I love fruit and eat lots of it, but sometimes I feel like something more filling. I have been having dried fruits and nuts, but I’ve felt a little restricted in my choices. Funnily enough, I don’t really feel like snacking as much as I used to. Perhaps it’s a time factor or maybe my body knows there isn’t much to choose from and therefore craves nothing.

Another toughie is finding something to fill the gap left by work’s leftover muffins in my semi-daily post-gym, pre-work time slot. I need something portable, more filling than fruit and that doesn’t require heating. So far I haven’t found anything appropriate. Sandwiches are not an option because I don’t buy bread (the bags) and the bread I make is nowhere near soft enough to be eaten without toasting. Cold leftovers don’t particularly appeal either.

Even though I was always more ‘herbi’ than ‘omni’, I find myself thinking about meat and dairy a lot. I guess it’s that old thing about wanting what you can’t have, but it also might be due to my nearing the end of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, where Michael Pollan considers the morality of eating meat and the arguments for and against.  When talking about his conflicting emotions about having hunted and shot a wild pig, he says:

“There is a part of me that envies the moral clarity of the vegetarian, the blamelessness of the tofu eater. Yet part of me pities him, too. Dreams of innocence are just that; they usually depend on a denial of reality that can be its own form of hubris.”

This quote really resonated with me and made me go 🙁

The whole back section of the book (which I am very slowly getting through) has made me re-think what my intentions are with regards to my diet, and whether I can live my life without ever consuming an animal product again.

My boyfriend asked me if I would eat meat from an animal that we raised ourselves. I don’t think I came up with a definitive answer but it’s a good question, that leads to other good questions like: Why shouldn’t I eat meat? What are the motivations behind my food choices? Is a strict eating regime like veganism the way to go, or is it enough for me to do my best while satisfying my taste for ice cream or chicken (organic and free-range of course) now and then, because every little bit counts?

In my next post I will explore these questions a little more and consider what the vegan philosophy means to me, while attempting to come to some conclusions about my food choices.

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