It’s World Vegan Day today. This got me thinking about a day just about eleven years ago now, Thanksliving at Woodstock Farm Animal sanctuary in 2009.
I’d been vegan for only a few years. The lifestyle was still new, and my eating disorder and recovery were recent. It was difficult for me to sort through my motivations for being vegan. I liked what I’d read about the environmental benefits of eating plant-based, and vegetarianism had always spoken to my heart. But I’d plunged into the lifestyle with lots of health expectations. And in spite of being on the road to recovery, I was still clinging to food fears and judgments.
That weekend opened my eyes to what veganism could be. Not only an eating style, but an opportunity to exercise more compassion for animals and the planet. An ongoing, sustained effort to live a little more kindly. By the time I made my way back home to New York City, I knew in my heart that I’d always be vegan.
If I’d remained vegan primarily out of a sense of curiosity about how healthy I could be, my dedication to the lifestyle would have wavered over time. I say this because veganism hasn’t granted me the kind of optimal health that I was seeking back then, and anyway, my expectations of health and diet have changed with time.
Veganism has given me things that I didn’t ask for: greater awareness of how my choices impact the world around me, a deeper sense of respect for animals, community, and a career that I love. So much more than I expected.
I’ve made choices that I regret and choices that I’m glad for, but which have been difficult. Becoming vegan isn’t either of those. It has given me a lot and cost me very little. The times in which it’s been inconvenient or troublesome seem small and unimportant when I consider how much it has enriched my life.
The fact that I’m vegan doesn’t make me a perfect or especially enlightened consumer. It doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot of work to do when it comes to being conscious, kind, and responsible. The way I eat is just one area of my life in which I’ve been able to find some alignment between my actions and values. Having enough to eat, let alone the ability to be selective about how I eat, is a tremendous privilege.
I never forget this, and I’m especially conscious of it as we enter the home stretch of a year that has given me a whole new understanding of how much I have to be grateful for. There was a time when I felt proud of myself for being vegan, as if it were an accomplishment. Now I just feel fortunate that I can be vegan, grateful for how generous the lifestyle has been to me.
That Thanksliving weekend in 2009 was the beginning of this shift. More than ten years later, I’m thankful that I was was there, that things came together the way that they did.
Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.
These dark chocolate marshmallow muffins look so gooey and tasty. Also a good opportunity for me to practice making a vegan Italian meringue!
Never sorry to have another recipe for vegan ranch dressing.
I love the looks of this plant-based creamy white sauce—and the simple pasta meal that accompanies it.
It’s rainy, cool, and dreary today. A perfect day for making this creamy chickpea soup.
I’m already starting to think about Thanksgiving dessert recipes, and this butternut squash pie looks fantastic.
1. So much respect to all of the performing artists who are finding ways to create in these unprecedented times. I was touched to read about how the New York City Ballet is handling Covid-19. You can check out “Thank you, New York” on the company website.
2. Some hopeful medical news: the New York Times reports on cases of healing from severe Covid lung damage.
3. I felt both inspired and apprehensive as I read this article on what it will take to systematically vaccinate against Covid.
4. I’m always surprised and saddened by all of the small, unforeseen impacts of climate change. Who would guess that a type of wood that’s essential to rock n’ roll as we know it might be impacted?
5. I enjoyed this Up First podcast on Frederick Douglass, his dream of an America where all people could vote, and the way he fought to make that dream a reality.
It’s now been a week since I cast my ballot. But I haven’t stopped thinking about everything that’s at stake this week. I wish progress, change, and a bright future for all of us.
I’ll be checking in soon with a delicious vegan pizza recipe that I’ve been meaning to share. Till then,
A couple months ago, I needed to ask for an extension on a big project. The person who gave me more time said the most compassionate thing. “You can only do what you can do,” she told me. I’ve thought a lot about these words since. It was a relief to hear them, and I’m trying to say them to myself now and then. So in that spirit—a weekend pause! I’ll be back in the groove next Sunday. And some food is coming…
This week in my Strategies for Nutrition Education class, we spent a little time discussing Self Determination Theory. It’s a behavioral theory that posits three essential conditions of a person’s motivation, engagement, persistence, and creativity: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Autonomy refers to feelings of freedom and self-governance, competence to feelings of mastery, and relatedness to feeling connected and engaged with others. The more these conditions are evoked, the theory goes, the better the chances an individual will have of successfully implementing and maintaining…
My yoga teacher surprised us yesterday by announcing that we wouldn’t be doing our traditional, Saturday morning primary series. Instead, we’d be doing 108 sun salutations. Here’s a quick explanation of some of the reasons that some yoga communities do 108 salutations at different points in the year. I’ve done it once before, when I was living in DC. I was twenty-nine at the time, a less experienced yogi but definitely in better shape than I am now. As soon as my teacher…
You know how sometimes somebody says something to you at precisely the moment you need to hear it? I’m guessing that the real reason for this is that we create meaning from our experience. If something is already on our minds, we’re probably likely to hear what other people say and find some relevance in their comments. We hear and listen because we’re ready to hear and listen. Even so, there’s a part of me that really believes in serendipity. I’ve been surprised…