The “Perfect” Vegan (Day 24)

I’ve sabotaged myself for YEARS and I hope other would-be and new vegans don’t make this same mistake.

When I went vegetarian, I went vegetarian overnight and it was shockingly easy. It’s pretty easy to spot rotting flesh posing as food. It has a look, a taste, a smell, etc. One doesn’t have to read labels or get science-y about it. I’m also reasonably sure it won’t show up as a hidden ingredient. It’s not so much a lifestyle change as a recognition that corpses aren’t a viable food source.

When meat has appeared amidst my food accidentally, I usually tasted it and (discreetly) spat it back out. I’ll even admit to trying small bites once or twice in my 15 years as a vegetarian. This was out of concern that I might eventually lose the ability to eat meat and this would decrease my survival chances in, I don’t know, the zombie apocalypse or something. I’m not saying it was a rational choice.

The point is, when accidents or momentary lapses in sanity did take place, I didn’t relinquish my identity as a vegetarian. I was a vegetarian because I believed that eating meat was wrong.

The funny thing is, in recent years, I’ve attempted to go vegan over and over again. I wasn’t convinced that veganism was wrong when I stopped calling myself or acting vegan, but I did find the logistics strikingly harder than going vegetarian and lapsing as a vegan was easy to do.

When Perfectionism Gets in the Way

I have an unhealthy tendency toward perfectionism. And if I made a mistake in my veganism or had a lapse in judgment, I would start again at “Day 1 – Vegan”. This treatment was like an unsuccessful diet regime that always restarts “tomorrow.”

I need to get over myself and my stupid perfectionism. I’m a vegan like I was a vegetarian. I am convinced by the philosophical underpinnings, I just need to work a little harder on the logistics. If I forget myself in the moment and eat a slice of cheese and then remember that I don’t want to contribute to the dairy industry, then I made a mistake. It does not negate anything.

It gets easier with time and experience. I will get to a point where my vegan decisions are on auto-pilot, but until I’m there, I just need to keep trying. Keep training the habit. Don’t give up so easily. Don’t beat myself up over accidents, but work to avoid them in the future.

Until next time, keep that talk walking!

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