Exploring Veganism


EDITOR”S NOTE: This post won our “go find readers” contest.  Way to go Michaela!

I’ve made the recent decision to work toward becoming vegan. I’ve been told I’m crazy, naïve, idealistic, and never going to be able to commit to it. People are concerned about my health, mental state, and wallet. But that’s okay! I’m really excited for this new adventure! I’m intelligent, independent, and too stubborn to quit before I figure it all out!

First, let me explain what vegan is. This means that I will not consume any animal products or by-products through food, clothing, personal items, etc. That means I can’t eat hamburgers, grilled cheese, or even honey. (Ah, didn’t think of honey, did you?) Fur coats, leather couches, boxed cake mix – those are all off limits too.

But wait, can’t? I don’t like that word. I’ve never liked that word. I’m smart, strong, and far too stubborn to be okay with that word. This is why I think it is important to strive for an ALMOST vegan lifestyle. This idea that I am either vegan or I’m not implies that a commitment to avoid animal products for an entire month is completely irrelevant after a really long day and a piece of milk chocolate. I don’t believe it needs to be this way. I am not a failure for enjoying a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup on a rainy day. After a “failure” like this, people often go back to their old, mass meat consumption lifestyle. It doesn’t need to be like this.

I tell people that I’m an exploring, almost, mostly, vegan. What does this mean? I started out not eating meat during the week. Now when the weekends come, I usually just forget that I want meat, and avoid it then as well. I’m in the process of cleaning out my cabinets. I still have tomato soup, Girl Scout cookies, and hot cocoa mix that I just haven’t used up yet. My trips to the grocery store are filled with vegan goodies like avocados, sweet potatoes, and Oreos. I’m exploring veganism in the sense that I spend more time than I’d like to admit looking at vegan recipes on Pinterest. I take my time at the grocery store, reading labels and learning about the food I want to eat. This is fun for me! I love food. I’m not shunning it (as my best friend keeps telling me) by avoiding animal products. I’m opening myself up to a whole new genre of ingredients and recipes. I’m trying something new. And I’m lessening my impact on the Earth in the process.

(My argument for veganism and the environment will have to be a blog for another day. But in the meantime, check out these great links!)

So why am I writing this for my Business, Government, Society class? Good question. I asked myself that too.

BalancingScale2

I think too often in business, people view company decisions as “good” and “bad”. Decisions are made in favor of the stakeholder or the shareholder. They consider the good of the community or they don’t. Sure, there are some decisions that will fall into one category or another. There are legal and widely accepted ethical choices that are largely undisputed. But I don’t think everything works like this. Sometimes businesses need to strive for the best. (Like I strive to be vegan.) But we can’t fault the company for slipping up now and then with a piece of milk chocolate. The important point is that these firms continue to work toward being good. Admirable firms educate their executives and employees on best practices. They learn from their mistakes, and the mistakes of others. We see this in the Whole Foods Market case where John Mackey takes time to educate himself on farming practices before he responds to criticism and protests of his firm.

This desire to learn and improve is what makes a great company. It’s also what makes a great exploring vegan.

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20 thoughts on “Exploring Veganism

  1. Go Michaela!

    Since you’re writing this for class and your professor will probably see it, I’ll save the witty comments for later! 😉

    Never knew you were thinking about this. Let me know how it goes, I’d be very interested to know! You can definitely do this.

    Love ya! Xo

    • Thank you Sara!! I will definitely keep you updated on my progress. AND I’m bringing home so many vegan recipes that I’m going to make everyone try during spring break. Hope you’re ready!

  2. Good luck!! I have transitioned to about a 90% plant based diet and feel great 🙂 I have quite a few recipes on my blog if you need some inspiration.

    • Thank you Ani! I am so excited to try out new recipes and expose myself (and others) to new foods. I also really enjoyed checking out your blog and am SO EXCITED to make the cauliflower pizza crust. Thanks!

  3. You’re so awesome! I love that you’re challenging yourself to something new. If you need help with those girl scout cookies, you know where to find me..

  4. Michaela,
    I’m so excited for you because you are most definitely entering into new and exciting territory. I love your view of the challenge and your refusal to not allow yourself to fall into the mindset that ” any set back into an old familiar way is a failure”. It is a lifestyle change and with all life style changes there are lessons! You are very right that it is a new world with lots of fun (delicious) ingredients. You will make some discoveries that will change how you look at food on this planet! Here are some things I suggest you try of you haven’t already that I have discovered and love!!

    Nutritional yeast
    Hemp seeds
    Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
    Bragg’a Apple Cider Vinegar
    Brad’s Raw Chips
    Daiya vegan cheese
    Veganaise
    Lightlife products ( “smoked ham” is my favorite, also the “hot dogs”)

    I’m sure you will have fun with this! Goodluck 🙂

    • Thank you so much Bridgeen! I am really happy to see that you understood the point I was trying to get across. While I can try to make an argument for veganism and why it is a great thing to do, that was not my goal here. I was really hoping to convey the message that anything you do in life or in business is a learning experience. We face challenges every day and even if we fall behind sometimes, it’s that journey that counts.
      Thanks so much for the advice! Some of those things sound intimidating but I’m definitely going to try them out.
      Thanks!!

  5. Michaela,
    I think it’s really great that you’re so driven to do this. Like you said, if you eat one piece of chocolate, it’s not the end of the world. You’ve still lessened your impact by not eating large quantities of meat or other animal products during the week. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone else trying to go about becoming vegan the way you’re doing it, but I think it makes a lot of sense. Good luck!

  6. Yeah girl, this is exciting! I love that you’re optimistic and open about it. You’re not setting yourself up for failure, either which is important. Even if you decide later not to follow through, at least you’re more educated and conscious than you were before. I can really relate. Kind of how I see myself with organic foods. I’m never going to be able to only eat 100% certified healthy, natural, organic foods because that’s just not realistic. But you’re doing what you know you can do, and there’s no harm in aiming for a realistic and attainable goal! Keep it up and keep us posted.

  7. I loved reading your blog and I definitely didn’t think of honey as a food vegans can’t eat-crazy! As your roommate I have found your exploration very iteresting and I love reaping the benefits of your research- the new recipes, new kitchen supplies, and the food documentaries. The one bad thing about this exploration is the amount of space in the fridge that your food takes up!! I can’t find anything behind all the fruits and vegetables! I am interested to see where this takes you and I am always here to learn more about it. Have fun!

  8. Michaela, as you can probably tell from my own post, your blog post inspired me this week. As a person that absolutely LOVES food, I respect your efforts to venture into the vegan lifestyle. Some of the best meals I have ever had have been made from incredibly simple ingredients (alright, probably none of them have been up to vegan standards, but it doesn’t mean they couldn’t be). I think your metaphor of exploring the world works well when applied to businesses as well. Businesses face so many decisions on a daily basis that it is impossible to always know the right choice to make, but there is something to be said for trying.

  9. Michaela,
    I really like how you incorporated decision-making into your vegan article. You not only discussed what a vegan lifestyle entails, but also the choices that you’ve had to make and the consequences they have resulted in. I think it’s genius how you label yourself as a person exploring “veganism.” Unfortunately, people in modern-day society are too often criticized for their methodology in carrying out decisions that have already been made. I wish you all the best with your new lifestyle choice and I hope you continue to write inspirational posts!

  10. I tried to convince a vegetarian friend, veggie for very strong ethical reasons, that if I only eat meat every now and then, then I was a half-etarian. As in half- vegetarian. She wasn’t buying it. 🙂

    It is amusing the strong reactions food choices or diets can illicit. People think you are avoiding food? You are engaging with food! DO they think veganism is like a gateway drug to eating disorders?

    Why do you think the discourse out there is so strident about being a “pure” vegan or not? Sounds like religious discourse doesn’t it? Are you a true believer?

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