January 11th: Conscious Compassionate Choices

Over these past few days I have debated between buying Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s “30-Day Vegan Challenge” (see link on “about” page) or creating a 30 day challenge for myself. Noting the cost of the challenge (20$ – before Jan.29th, 10$ gift certificate to vegancuts.com) and the colossal amount of information on the internet and books about being a vegan, I decided I needed the support and bought her challenge.With that being said, I reflected back to my notes on my goals and intentions of becoming a vegan and eating locally (check out my “about” page, if you haven’t already) to ensure I was making the right choice. During the next 30 days I will reflect on my journey on becoming a vegan, how I am feeling (mentally and physically – I will doing a pre and post test of my blood work), my thoughts, if it is costly etc. however I will not be putting up specific meal plans or grocery lists as I will be getting them from Colleen’s challenge. I will keep posting research in the Waterloo Region, along with websites, and stores that I find about being a vegan AND eating locally. At the end of this journey, I hope to reflect on the positives and negatives on both eating as a vegan and eating locally during these 30 days, for me. I feel confident in my decision of buying the “30-Day Vegan Challenge” as I am already very impressed so far with the program but will make a full recommendation at the end.I have decided to narrow down my search to the Waterloo Region only, as I was surprised to find the vast amount of stores and restaurants that already exist in the Kitchener-Waterloo area that offer local and vegan food, which would take me much longer than 30 days to explore.With tomorrow being my last day before I officially become a vegan, I wanted to remind myself of the origins and meanings of being a vegan vs. vegetarian vs. local consumer

veganism: As stated by founder of the word vegan, Howard Watson, “..the word “veganism” denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment.”(http://www.vegansociety.com/html/downloads/ArticlesofAssociation.pdf)

vegetarian: A vegetarian is someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs.

lacto-ovo-vegetarian. Eats both dairy products and eggs. This is the most common type of vegetarian diet.

*Many lacto-ovo vegetarians will only eat free-range eggs. This is because of welfare objections to the intensive farming of hens.

lacto-vegetarian: Eats dairy products but not eggs.

ovo-vegetarian: Eats eggs but not dairy products.

(http://www.vegsoc.org/page.aspx?pid=508)

locavore:  a person who eats only locally grown food. (the spirited equivalent of the locavore is the locapour, a person who drinks only locally produced wine or beer.)http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/conservation/locavores-spin-farmers-and-pumpkineersoh-my

After reading over these specific definitions, I started to feel overwhelmed (again) and began to think that I will have to change everything in my life, in the next month, from food to shampoo to clothes etc. However after reflecting on the definition of veganism itself, Watson states “as far as is possible and practical” which solidifies that we are flawed beings and everything that we do doesn’t have to be perfect. Furthermore, a friend reminded me today that there are many other people who I can seek support in as well  – Ellen DeGeneres is a vegan too!! So I checked out here site and found out a lot of cool support and information which I think anyone who is interested in this should check out to: http://www.ellentv.com/categories/going-vegan-with-ellen/I am excited to start shedding old habits and creating new ones, as well as beginning to make conscious compassionate choices in not only everything I do but now also everything I eat… as Watson would say, to the extent “as far as possible and practical“… we’re only human, after all – right?
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