I would be lying if I could say that there is nothing hard about being Vegan, because truthfully there are many struggles. Diet, temptations, relationships, society, media. These are only some of the struggles that I deal with on a daily basis. For example: Right now, I am living abroad in Europe continuing my studies to get my undergrad so I can go to law school. Although there are many alternatives for Vegans it isn’t always the easiest thing to find, especially when you are dancing the night away with your friends till 7:00 a.m. I always have to prepare ahead of time on a night out to know that I have some snacks laying around for when I get home. We have gone to many restaurants and it always seems to be the same case. You can have a salad, bread, veggie burgers or sandwiches at most places, but usually only one or two options. Considering I have been living in Vienna for almost 4 months now, I am starting to adapt to what my diet consists of, where I can shop, and my favourite meals and treats. Another struggle for me is that everything is in German. I have spent countless hours using google translate for most ingredients, but so far, the most helpful thing has been to look for the “V” symbol which symbolizes Vegan.
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The next struggle has been relationships. Whether it is a relationship between a family, a friend or a lover. Individuals who have never been Vegan and aren’t Vegan can’t always seem to grasp the idea of why? “It’s natural… animals were put on the earth so that we could survive… it’s our nature.” These are only some of the countless excuses I have heard from not only strangers but people I love. I am a multi-mixed individual, coming from a half Chilean, half French and born and raised Canadian family. Meat and dairy truly is the bread and butter of my heritages. No one in my family is Vegan, although my mother did try for a while and although she has gone back she has cut down significantly and regardless has made me proud. My sister also has cut down quite a bit and my dad (being my best friend and all) will eat anything I make him and has watched countless documentaries about the factory farming industry and has grown a respect and understanding of my choices. My friends on the other hand, well there is only a handful if maybe that are Vegan (these are my close friends). There has been on occasion a lot of teasing, questioning and well just everything with them. But at the end of the day, I always stand up for what I believe in and after a decade of animal activism I am starting to see the growing support within my friends group towards animals. And now the best part, lovers.
Well… if you ask any of us Vegans you will understand that finding a Vegan lover is like finding a needle in a haystack. Love, in general, takes compatibility, time, patience and progress. Like any relationship, it has to start with that special click! That spark that makes you believe that regardless of the circumstances this could work. That isn’t always an easy thing. I can’t say I haven’t met a lot of Vegan men because I have and I have now met quite a few after joining all these Vegan communities. The thing is things just have to happen organically. And there have been rare occasions I have been pretty fortunate to meet someone pretty fantastic. My whole life I have always dated someone who wasn’t Vegan or Vegetarian. It’s been a difficult struggle. There can be countless arguments, struggles with planning meals, different values and lots of frustration especially considering when you are dating someone you aren’t just dating them, but their friends and family. In my opinion, being Vegan doesn’t mean you have to date a Vegan. This is definitely a myth, but I do have to say it sure makes it easier and more valuable. You can cook together, you understand your values and you can grow to have a strong and life changing relationship knowing that you stand for the rights of animal lives everywhere. One person can make a change, but two can make a difference.
Last, but not least, society. Ten years ago, I would have said that this was an extremely frustrating struggle, but today it’s completely different. People are changing, life is changing and issues that we might not have worried about or cared for then are BIG issues now. Of course, you are always going to be approached by the random troll that just loves to get you going and sadly I am human and because my values and beliefs towards Veganism is so strong I get a little heated. Nevertheless, the community and support that is available now is absolutely incredible. Regulations are changing, rules are being implemented, zoos and circus are no longer using animals or better yet, shutting down. And this “lack of protein and nutrition” is non-existent. Today there are SO many alternatives and choices that aren’t only a good substitute for protein in meat, but are better for you! I am happy to say that society/media is not only less of a struggle it has more of an impact on the change and understanding of Veganism.
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