Are you the type to dive right in or do you prefer to get into the water one inch at a time? I'm definitely an incher in life, when it comes to swimming and everything else. I need time, sometimes lots of it, to get used to new ideas. Sometimes I take so long that the ideas aren't even new anymore by the time I am immersed. It took me seven years to get engaged, another two to get married, and four after that to have a kid. I've even had this very blog entry in the works for several weeks. Come on already!!!
I became "vegetarian" for the first time in the early 1980's because I loved animals. Being a vegetarian simply means not eating meat, right? That's what I thought. That first foray into vegetarianism lasted a few weeks. A few years later, I did exactly the same thing. The third try didn't last much longer, but I was sure proud to order my egg McMuffin sans Canadian bacon. Woo hoo! This is my fourth and, without a shadow of a doubt, final time. This time I know vegetarianism is so much more than not eating meat. I know that it means giving up candy corn, rice krispie treats (though Sara's Sweets makes a great vegan marshmallow), and conversation hearts. They all have gelatin. Who would have thought? It bothers me to no end that I need to decode ingredients like gelatin and rennet . . . an innocuous-sounding ingredient in cheese. I now read all ingredient lists. Cheese, most of it, is not vegetarian (see It's Not Me, It's You, posted by Tomato Tartlet). Though my ultimate goal is to give up all dairy, for the time being I am only eating animal rennet-free cheese, and not much of it, either. If you have trouble finding vegetarian cheese in your grocery store, check out Artisan Pantry. I just ordered vegetarian Parmesan today (some of which will be used to make Butternut Squash and Hazelnut Lasagna), but they have several other varieties from cheddars to mozzarella to Mascarpone. Even though I'm eating vegetarian cheese, my guilt still overwhelms me at times, because although little calves don't lose their lives for this cheese, their mothers ultimately will, and years before their time! A cow can live up to twenty years, but a dairy cow's average life span is four years. FOUR YEARS. She is worked to exhaustion and an early death, and ends up in fast food burgers.
I digress. That's another thing I do, in addition to inching along. However you choose to tread the path to a healthier, more environmentally friendly and more compassionate way of eating is your choice. Inch along, making slow and steady changes, or plunge right in! Just do it.