Introduction post, I suppose

AvocadoTrees

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Hello everyone,

I'm an aspiring vegan...I haven't truly made the transition yet, though. I first wanted to be vegetarian in childhood, after learning that animals are killed for meat. Later in life, when I found about the cruelty involved in the dairy and egg industries as well...that educated me on the existence of veganism. Sounds like a pretty easy-peasy transition, right? My morals are there, my drive is there, so just do it, right?

Well...I've been hitting hurdle after hurdle, for decades. I'm 32 now, and I'm STILL not vegan. I have tried to transition so many times, and here's what I believe is holding me back:

1. I have an eating disorder. OSFED (more commonly known as EDNOS). I'm in therapy for it along with my other mental health issues, but it's proving a huge hurdle. I'm having a hard time eating as much as I should, especially with higher calorie things. The craving for fats and calories causes me to bee-line to cheese, since it's readily available (I will detail in point 3).

2. Perfectionism goes along with my eating disorder and other mental illnesses, particularly my anxiety. I feel like I have to be not only a vegan, but a "perfect" vegan (whatever that means!). I know this is entirely unrealistic, because no one causes absolutely zero harm to other people, animals, or the planet in SOME way. I know I can only do the best that I realistically can...so how to get over that mental block of "imperfection = failure"? I tend to feel like I'm not making a difference with my efforts.

3. I am surrounded by omnivores, and on top of it, they are omnivores that don't take care of themselves. Their diets are terrible, and they have so many health problems including obesity, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, and high cholesterol. Now, I know 100% that I'm hypocritical here due to my own eating disorder, since I am not healthy either...but I'm really trying, and it's SO HARD to see these omnivores - my loved ones, including my partner - just...not care. They don't care about themselves or the factory farming and damage to the planet. It drives me crazy to see them all not care, and continue on a destructive path while I'm trying desperately to get out of mine. That frustration overwhelms me, and I get into a mindset of "why bother". This, along with the cravings for calories, fats, and the fact that cheese is readily available + animal products give one a "high"...it's hard to fight off.

4. Aside from the dietary portion, I never have an idea of what to do with non-vegan items. I already avoid fur, and look for "not tested on animals" or "vegan" in my hygiene products, and I donate things I come across that are non-vegan when I can...but other things, I'm stuck on. Currently in my possession, for example, is a genuine leather wallet (which I thought was faux leather, but no). I don't have another one yet. I plan on getting another when I can, but in the meantime I still need a wallet. What do you do with accidentally non-vegan items?

I'm sickened by contributing to animal cruelty and the destruction of Earth more than is unavoidable, and I just want to go vegan and STAY vegan. I don't want to keep backsliding. It's been too long. Has anyone else struggled in similar ways? Would you have any advice?
 

Poppy

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I just wanted to say 'Welcome" and I hope the online company of other vegans will give you the support you're looking for! It has sure helped me over the years.

My only advice would be to give yourself a break from worrying about what others are eating and focus on yourself. It's very common for new vegans to want to change the whole world, and very few have done so. So just do you. For now. Besides, its a much more effective advocacy over the long run to live life as a healthy, long-term vegan than to talk people blue in the face about a subject they really don't want to hear about. Your friends and loved ones will be more interested/appreciative/accommodating about your veganism when they see how much fun you're having trying new dishes, new products and meeting all those fascinating and brilliant new friends on internet. :up:

As far as your wallet goes, keep it, use it and wear it out or change it when you can. Same with shoes, belts, bags, etc. You may find that you have sentimental attachment to certain items or you may find that you want them out of your life asap. It doesn't really matter today. Over time, you'll gravitate to all things vegan and that'll be that. It gets a lot easier with time!

As for the desire to be "perfect", I can tell you from the experience of many years of being vegan, that you can indeed be perfect - most of the time. But once in a while something will happen - a mistake, a misunderstanding, a misread ingredient list - whatever - and you'll realize you've somehow consumed an animal product. It's very disappointing, and can be very upsetting. But remember that a mistake does not undo all the good you've done or will do. Keep going! It's a wonderful feeling to live your values!
 
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AvocadoTrees

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I just wanted to say 'Welcome" and I hope the online company of other vegans will give you the support you're looking for! It has sure helped me over the years.

My only advice would be to give yourself a break from worrying about what others are eating and focus on yourself. It's very common for new vegans to want to change the whole world, and very few have done so. So just do you. For now. Besides, its a much more effective advocacy over the long run to live life as a healthy, long-term vegan than to talk people blue in the face about a subject they really don't want to hear about. Your friends and loved ones will be more interested/appreciative/accommodating about your veganism when they see how much fun you're having trying new dishes, new products and meeting all those fascinating and brilliant new friends on internet. :up:

As far as your wallet goes, keep it, use it and wear it out or change it when you can. Same with shoes, belts, bags, etc. You may find that you have sentimental attachment to certain items or you may find that you want them out of your life asap. It doesn't really matter today. Over time, you'll gravitate to all things vegan and that'll be that. It gets a lot easier with time!

Thank you, Poppy. I appreciate your response. I hope that being among like minded people can help me get over my hurdles and stick to it. I have the drive, I just need the success.
 

PTree15

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Hi and welcome to VF! I agree with Poppy. Just worry about you. It's amazing what I've gotten my family to try with nary a word about animal cruelty (though they know that's why I went vegan).
 

Lou

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Holy **** Batman, That is a lot of info for a first post.

First off. Welcome to the Vegan Forum

Your words in Blue. My words in Black

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when I found about the cruelty involved in the dairy and egg industries as well...that educated me on the existence of veganism.


that is exactly what I did. But I didn't put it together till I was 40. And then it took me 10 years to transition. So just think of how far ahead of me you are. Good job. Keep going.

I'm having a hard time eating as much as I should,


For an entirely different reason, I have that problem too. Now my brain is wired to be very analytical. and in some ways organized and goal-oriented. (not in everything but in many things). I have been using a web-based program called Cronometer for years but only the past month or so I have been using it every day. It has sort of become a routine and a habit and I expect to keep using it every day from now on. It tracks nutrients. And the more you use it the easier it becomes. Not only do you figure it out better, it learns about you as you go. Like Google or a text messenger it can learn commonly used words and even finish words for you. it even learns quantities. I enter foods pretty much as I eat them (it has an app too), and then i can see if I have met all my nutritional goals for the day. And if i haven't I can go ahead and eat something else. After a while you might find you don't need it anymore - some good eating habits can become ingrained. I get a kick out of checking my goals - its almost like a game to me.

That all being said, you might want to discuss using Cronometer with your therapist. Something so detailed might enable your ED. Or make you worry about stuff that you shouldn't

2. Perfectionism ....

Here at the VF we don't all agree on perfectionism. I'm in the school of "There is no such thing as a perfect vegan". but I do understand the arguement that perfectionism is an ideal that can be obtained. I also believe that a lot (if not all) of veganism is about intent. And if your intent is to be perfect and it is all about intent - then you are a perfect vegan. But philosophically I believe that we need to be judged by consequences.

Anyway, there is a saying that on a poster hanging over my desk - and it is something I live by. You can google it and read more about it. I think whole books have been devoted to it.

Don't let perfection be the enemy of good.
There is also a whole vegan thought process about this. It's called Personal Purity. According to some notable vegans (vegans who have written books) Personal Purity is a trap that some vegans fall into. They think it can cause more harm than good. You can google "personal purity". There is a lot that has been written on the subject.

3. I am surrounded by omnivores .....and they have so many health problems including obesity, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, and high cholesterol. ...but I'm really trying....

Not an usual problem. I think everyone here has that issue. I certainly do. I'm not sure what the solution is. Maybe there isn't one. but you can only control what you can control. You just have to keep trying. It is difficult to change people's minds. But if you care - you jsut have to keep trying - but again you can only do so much.

Almost every health concious individual has this issue. People who struggle with weight loss are affected by it too. This may be another subject your therapist should be able to help you with.

4. I never have an idea of what to do with non-vegan items.....What do you do with accidentally non-vegan items?

This is one of those gray areas and different vegans have different feelings/solutions. I've met and talked to many vegans who literally the day after they became vegan threw out everything nonvegan in their homes. To me, this is incredibly wasteful. Who or what are you helping by doing that. I'm from the other end of the spectrum. I will use or eat nonvegan things that I bought by accident. I will just use non-vegan products till they are used up and then replace them with vegan ones. And i still have leather wallets, shoes, belts and jackets that I bought over 20 years ago. I will replace them when they are worn out. Gifts are a really tricky thing. I would rather accept a non vegan gift than to hurt someone's feelings. but this can be a tricky situation to navigate. Anyway, I don't think there is a real good answer to this. Just do what you think is right.

I'm sickened by contributing to animal cruelty and the destruction of Earth more than is unavoidable....


Don't make your self crazy(ier). Just do what you can. Really no one expects more of you (except for yourself)
 
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Welcome to the forum. Great to have you here.

I suggest to abandon the unrealistic idea of perfection and set some step by step goals.

Can you give up meat and eggs and cheese Monday to Thursday, and then try that for 1 or 2 weeks, then extend.
Or immediately give up some products 100%, then give up others later.
Or eat vegan at home, but leave the vegan at other's houses until later.

I would not worry about the leather wallet at all. Most vegans even consider it acceptable to call yourself vegan while still having a leather wallet (assuming you had it since before you were vegan). I would focus on the food first, when you can have the greatest amount of positive impact.

For vegan toiletries, the key is advance planning before going to the shop, or purchasing online. Start with the toiletries you use regularly and get those cruelty free. Other things, like using shampoo at a hotel or toothpaste at the house of another person, I would worry about later on. Take it step by step, at a pace you're comfortable with.

Good luck.
 

Sax

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Welcome!

If perfection is the standard then none of us are vegans. Just do your honest best. Exactly what that looks like will vary by person and over time. There comes a point where being "more perfect" results in real hardship or unreasonable expense without any real effect on animal well being, and where you draw that line is up to you.

One of the hardest parts of being vegan IMO is how everyone else seems to not get it or not care. I think we all feel that way. But you can't force an epiphany on anyone...just be a happy healthy vegan and everyone around you will be that much more likely to make the moral connection on their own.

I didn't replace my leather wallet until just a few months ago. I had it for over half my life and it was literally falling apart. Get as much use as you can out of non-vegan items, or if you'd prefer give them to friends or donation. Just don't throw it out if it's still usable.

If cheese is the part you're struggling with then just stop buying meat, eggs, and any dairy besides cheese. Deal with the easy stuff first. Tell friends or family you're going vegan - that will provide a little extra accountability and motivation. Nothing renews my commitment to veganism like watching undercover footage from factory farms and slaughterhouses. If that's too hard for you to watch try reading about it instead.

If you backslide again don't think of it as failure...that's just temporary success. Keep trying and it will become permanent.
 

shyvas

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Hello & :welcome:

Don't forget that nobody is perfect and there is really no need to strive to be so.

You have received some useful advise on here. Perhaps I could add a couple of things. If you are craving high calorie fat foods, is may be that your diet is lacking in fat. As you're suffering with an eating disorder perhaps it would be a good idea to seek advise from a a dietician or doctor.

Eating a healthy balanced diet is important for one's health and well being.

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Emma JC

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hello and welcome

So much great advice and most of us have been on a journey to get here, most did not stick the first few times we tried and there are as many reasons why as there are people. So give yourself a pat on the back for even trying and do the best you can when you can.

Emma JC
 

StrangeOtter

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Merry meet.
Everyone has already given good advice.

Replacing something you bought or got before you started your transitioning, isn't necessary. You can do so, if that's important to you, but it isn't a must.
I'm concerned about animals, but also about environment, so I will not replace anything until that item is completely worn out and beyond repair. Still, I am undoubtedly vegan, since I won't buy anything made from animals or their secretions, and because I eat only vegan foods.

And I eat now only vegan foods, but transitioning period can take years and years. And it's okay. Reducing consumption of animal based products is a turn to better. Take your time. You'll get there.
 
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