9 January 2017

Our Veganuary Journey.

I am really enjoying a group on Facebook, called Veganuary, it is the official Facebook Group for Veganuary itself. There are conversations, recipes and inspirations. In fact this blog post is taken, with just a few tweaks from an original post that I was inspired to write on that group, to try and help others on their journey understand that they don't have to be so harsh with themselves and they don't have to fall out with their friends and family over what they are doing. 

I admire Vegan people but didn't think I could ever be one but Veganuary has given me the opportunity to have a go with no pressure, just one meal at a time. I decided to write about my decision on my blog and whilst I was writing inadvertently ate some milk chocolate coins, without thinking about it, so I just started again.

I actually thought I would find it hard but I am finding it delightful and interesting. I am in a situation where my partner is a 100% meat eater, one of our sons is the same and our other son has chosen to be pescatarian.

We run a family business, which is a coffee and health food shop. Right from the beginning we decided that our business would be 100% vegetarian, as we wanted to embrace all members of our community and not let religious dietary laws get in the way of socialising and feeling comfortable, we also knew that this would be a greener option, less damaging to our environment.

We have some very special customers who are vegan and very non-judgemental. They are inspiring, rather than challenging and we have a very special relationship with them. They have had us over for supper and we have even had a film evening in our shop showing Cowspiracy, with them bringing in amazing Vegan food. I respect them and their life decision so much and somehow or other they manage to respect us, despite our eating habits. They are away at the moment, so I am not even sure if they know that I am doing Veganuary. I call them 'My Vegan Family' and I am sure if they knew that I was doing this they would feel proud and be very supportive.

I feel the need to let you know what my story is because everyone doing Veganuary is at different stages and I know some of us are struggling with negative comments from family and friends, some of us have a meat eating partner, some of us have a whole vegan family, some choose to eat locally produced honey, some of us are wearing leather shoes maybe but as we are all trying.

In my story there are major areas of conflict, I am in a coffee shop pouring out cow's milk, buying cows milk but all our cakes are vegan, most of the products on our shelves are vegan. My partner eats meat, I don't (I am pescatarian normally). How does this fit together? How is this logical? Well it isn't logical and it isn't perfect but I am doing the best I can in these circumstances. If I were to reprimand myself for every imperfection, I wouldn't get very far but if I am kind and gentle to myself and look at all the positives, the chances are that I will get there in the end. My vegan friends haven't preached to me and they haven't been aggressive with their views, they are as kind and as delightful to me as they are to all animals and that is why I look up to them so much and find them so inspirational.

What I am trying to say is that if you find that your partner doesn't support you, if your friends challenge you, if you are judging yourself harshly, please don't get grumpy and argumentative. Build bridges, not walls. Be patient, be kind, be understanding and remember your choice may make other people feel uncomfortable with themselves. You do NOT have to justify yourself, or have intellectual debates, just as you will not ask others to justify themselves and their choices. Please don't let others upset you. I know it is hard, just remember this is about having a peaceful and kind existence, not about getting ourselves all emotionally upset and arguing with our nearest and dearest. 

Sending love and goodluck to you, no matter where you are in your journey. Xxxx
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