I describe myself as a recovering Catholic, meaning that I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school, and now am sorting out residual issues from that experience. The one tradition that I have held on to is that of lent. Lent is the 40 day period before Easter when all good Catholics give up some kind of a vice. It’s an exercise in self-discipline that is supposed to help us prepare for the symbolical rebirth that is Easter.

As everyone knows, I went vegan for 28 days in January, and only recently added dairy back into my diet. I’ve been eating it for almost 2 weeks now and to tell you the truth, I don’t feel that great. Cheese and ice cream may taste great, but my stomach has been more upset than usual. Also, I’m breaking out all over my face. I can’t help but think that it has something to do with the dairy, which aggravates allergies and the digestive system. So, in the spirit of both lent and good karma, I’m jumping back on the vegan bandwagon. This year, Easter falls on April 4th, which means that I’ll be celebrating a very vegan birthday. It also means that I hope to lose 8 more pounds before my 40 days is up. I firmly believe that I can accomplish this, as long as my vegan diet stays high in the right things like fruits and vegetables and low in the wrong things, like sugars and fats (because even plant-based fats aren’t going to help anyone lose any weight).

It’s a tough world out there for a vegan, temptations and hidden animal products lie waiting in every corner. Being a vegan makes it harder to do things like go out with non-vegan friends. It makes dating more difficult, especially when one doesn’t want to be misinterpreted as a militant hippie tree-hugger. It isn’t fun to cook for non-vegans, because there is always the pressure to put together something that trumps any close-mindedness they might have about plant-based alternatives. I will apologize in advance for any inconveniences I might be creating for the people in my life.

  • I will not apologize for my choices.
  • I will not entertain any challenges to my lifestyle.
  • I will happily answer any questions, as long as they are rooted in general curiosity, not a way for misinformed people to berate me about my life.
  • I will make an effort to spend more time in the sun, so that when I get pale I do not automatically blame it on my diet.
  • I will politely turn down non-vegan food, even at the risk of offending the preparer. Just as I will happily accept it when my offers are politely turned down.
  • I will become more active in the vegan community, searching out more like-minded people to support me in my quest.
  • I will try new recipes and cooking ideas, so that my diet stays healthy, fresh, varied, and interesting.
  • I will make it a point to take a daily multivitamin so that I my required amount of B12. 
  • I will not buy leather, and I will make a genuine effort to only buy vegan beauty products.
  • I will minimize non-vegan and non-organic alcohol, even if it means sticking to water.
  • I will not avoid social situations because I am afraid they might introduce temptations. Instead, I will stay strong in my convictions.

So, there we have it. I’m putting it all out there and making a public declaration of my vegan intent. I will be kicking off my vegan experience with a fast in honor of Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of lent.