Love this post from The Vegan Strategist on Ezra Klein discussing diet and identity. Klein struggled with a commitment to an animal-product free diet because of an “all or nothing” approach that set him up for wild swings in terms of what he put on his plate. He says that this is because when he identified as a vegetarian and then “failed” for a meal, his identity crashed and burned and he went back to full-on omnivorism.
What he discovered is that if he built exceptions into his eating plan, he could successfully manage to be a mostly vegan person:
And now, I’m mostly vegan. I eat vegan at home, except when I travel I’m vegetarian. And, there are a couple of points in the year, like I’ve been having sushi with my best friend’s mother since I was a kid, and it is important to me that I am able to continue that tradition. And so, as opposed to having sushi there twice a year and then collapsing out of all my other eating habits because of it, this is now built into it. And so, I actually find that personally very helpful to not be so strict on myself (…).
He notes that these built-in exceptions help because when he eats the occasional sushi, it doesn’t “offend my identity”. No impulse to throw in the towel – mostly vegan means just that.
If you’re struggling with the idea of veganism, just drop it. Try being a “lessetarian”. Eat less meat. Eat fewer animal products. Start rebuilding your pantry and recipe file. Keep it simple. As you reduce your animal intake, stay healthy. Be educated on B12 and other potential deficiencies to watch out for.
For the animals, for the planet, for the future, we can all do our part. It’s a joyful journey.