Some people, including a slew of my ex-boyfriends, are total commitment-phobes. They get all jazzed about something—be it a new relationship, an exercise program (hello, p90x) or diet trend—only to find that three weeks in, they can’t commit. This can result in a cupcake binge the booty-calling of a skanky ex girlfriend. Sigh.
With two best-selling pro vegan books out this year, Veganist and Crazy Sexy Diet, the former spurring Oprah’s week-long vegan stint, the spotlight has shining brightly on veganism—and for good reason. How many other lifestyles (I hate the word diet) can improve your mood, amp your libido and help you shed weight all while reducing your carbon footprint and helping to end animal abuse? Not so many. While many people drawn to veganism have the best of intentions, a great deal of them end up having trouble committing.
And for some, committing right away might be a terrible idea! Right after the Oprah episode with Kathy Freston aired, I was shopping at the farmer’s market when I stumbled across a former employer. A smoker and self proclaimed total couch potato, my old boss came rushing over to me, Marlboro Menthol Light hanging out of her mouth, and said “Zoe! I was just thinking about you. Oprah is going to be vegan for a week and so am I! Can you give me some recipes?” I enthusiastically asked her what she like to eat and she responded with “Oh anything. Except vegetables. And none of that tofu crap.”
I explained to her best I could that while it is possible to be vegan without eating “that tofu crap,” maintaining a plant based diet without consuming any plants, even if only for a week, can be very unhealthy. I then gently suggested that if she wanted to make a move in a healthier direction, perhaps she could ditch the whole pack-a-day routine. This suggestion wasn’t well received.
For those who are interested in getting healthier, helping the environment and reducing their carbon footprint but simply aren’t ready to go vegan (arguably the most effective way to do these things), there are other things that can be done.
I recently finished reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, and I was completely blown away. I had no idea that 60 percent of the earth’s greenhouse gases are produced not from cars, lack of recycling, or flushing used condoms down the toilet (what!) but from factory farming!
So, for any non-committal vegans out there: try looking into buying only local family farmed meat and dairy. As it is more expensive and hard to come by, you will automatically consume less animal products than you are used to.
In addition, try adapting a friends-with-benefits style relationship with veganism, similar to the meatless Monday theme. Start off by going vegan a few days a week. Start with one, then move on to two or three. This sends the message “I like you, but not enough to introduce you to my friends or my mother—yet!” Try limiting processed foods and adding more fresh produce and whole grains. And don’t do this mindlessly-listen to your body! Do you find you have more energy on your vegan days? Do you sleep better? Have less stress? A stronger sex drive? These factors just may motivate you to commit and say sayonara to meat and dairy for good!