“When you make a commitment, there is no decision.”
I stumbled upon this quote last week while endlessly searching the internet for resources, articles and generally everything pertaining to juice cleansing (more on that later). It’s a saying that helped one woman gain the strength to complete a juice cleanse- and while it certainly helped me do the same- these simple words have since been on repeat in my head ever since.
Why? I suppose this quote relates to my current relationship with my vegan lifestyle. Long ago, I made a commitment to living a compassionate, cruelty-free lifestyle, free of meat, dairy and all other animal by-products due to various personal, ethical and health related concerns. While it did take me a few years to initially ease into a strictly vegan lifestyle, for the last seven years I have been consistently making choices in line with this commitment. While some people are in awe of vegans for their “will power” and “strength” or scoff at our “restrictive” and “protein deficient” diet, I don’t think my ability to live this lifestyle has anything to do with my will power – and I certainly do not feel restricted! Rather, I feel free from the unhealthy confines of the Standard American Diet, which is typically full of, to put it bluntly, dead animals, sugar, refined carbohydrates and other processed crap- not to mention antibiotics, pesticides, artificial food dyes and other strange chemicals I am wary of, to say the least. I also feel free from the guilt I once felt for supporting companies that mistreat and slaughter hundreds of thousands of animals a day, contribute to the degradation of the Earth’s resources and place profit over health. I feel free to eat the foods that came from the Earth that I am confident will fuel and nourish my body, providing me with the nutrition I need to feel my best, all the while reducing my risk of various diseases and illnesses.
To me, the commitment to the vegan lifestyle captivates the essence of the quote mentioned above – for me, there is no longer a decision involved in many aspects of my life. I don’t feel “tempted” to eat foods that are not in line with my health guidelines, morals and ethics. Rather, I simply check the ingredients of an item- or, if at a restaurant, ask questions- and if there is an item I am not comfortable consuming, I do not eat it. For me, “cheating” is no longer an option- because who am I truly cheating out of good health, both mentally and physically? Myself. And that’s just not something I am okay with doing.
That being said, I don’t want to come across as a militant, condescending better-than vegan enthusiast. I actually do not support that type of mentality- for me, that attitude goes against one of the very notions my veganism is based upon – compassion! I do my very best each and everyday to extend this compassion to humans. I am also not someone that thinks everyone will have the same experience transitioning into this lifestyle that I have had. Change is not something that happens overnight- sometimes it is quickly, other times it is slowly. However, I do encourage individuals to learn more about veganism and take a particular look at industrialized agriculture, the dairy industry, and the effects that animal by-products have on human, animal and environmental health. I truly believe that this is information that needs to be sought out, because chances are, it might not make the headline news and yet it significantly impacts humans in so many ways. That old saying “knowledge is power” rings true in this context – knowledge provides one with the power to make educated decisions in line with personal, moral and ethical beliefs. While I do feel that once provided with the knowledge of the basis of the vegan lifestyle, it should be the everyone’s first choice, I ultimately know from my own experience, this is not necessarily the case. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and enabled with the power to make their own choices. All that I can do is make the commitment to live the life that lives up to my own personal beliefs, and help to educate those seeking more knowledge.
That being said, I wonder what other people think about the above mentioned quote. Do other people experience commitment in the same way that I do – a black and white line in which decision is revoked in order to fulfill the commitment? Or am I just an extremely black and white, all or nothing type of person? I would be interested in hearing what other people think, whether it is in relation to veganism or in regards to other areas of life.