Still Happy and Gentle {but no longer vegan}

I have been vegan for over two years. And plant-based vegan... in which I have eaten only whole food plants, and also little-to-no sugar, cooking oil, salt, or soy, since March of this year. March 17, specifically. Numbers like to get stuck in my head like that. {smile}

It has been wonderful in so many ways, being vegan. I *love* animals of all kinds. Any thought or image of animal cruelty makes me cry... I have seen the documentaries. I care about the environment (Creation, as I prefer to say...) and all the world issues benefited by plant-based eating. And I believe the research that touts all of the health benefits, too.

I am not negative about veganism or vegans in any way. In fact, I think it is all rather awesome... and I will always be thankful that I got to experience it for myself.

But... {and I do pray for your kindness and understanding} these are my thoughts today.

I have an eating disorder that I am determined to conquer. Veganism is *not* the cause of that disorder. *I* am the cause of my food issues. But being vegan requires extreme vigilance and diligence about every single bite of food and sip of drink I take.

And after so. many. years. of dealing with food and fitness issues, I am tired. I don't want to scrutinize every label for animal ingredients, calories, or anything else anymore.

I want to eat what my family eats. All of us prefer real food, whole grains, and a reduced amount of sugar and cooking oil in our foods. Eggs from our very own chickens. Game meat, harvested during hunting season by our own family. Real food. Good food. And almost entirely homemade.

But my self-imposed restrictions... some from being vegan, some from the eating disorder... have made meals quite an ordeal for me. It takes a lot of extra cooking and planning for me to be the only vegan in our family of ten (eight of us at home... sometimes nine). It isn't worth it to me anymore.

We will all eat real food, lots of plants, and we will all be part-time vegans, I am sure. I have some *yummy* vegan recipes in my repertoire and many more I want to try. But we will all eat animal products sometimes, too. And maybe even some processed foods upon occasion. And it will be just fine.

Besides, the grocery budget only stretches so far. Being vegan doesn't have to be expensive... but adding so many extra vegan foods to our already tight grocery budget just isn't making sense these days.

Our whole family already eats vegan a good deal of the time. But I am releasing myself from the label and the desire to be perfect at it. I just want to eat food without a worry or a care. Any food I want. Things I make, things other people make. Local or exotic, organic or not. That sounds like freedom to me.

And... {some things truly will never change}

Our animals are safe here on our homestead. We do not raise our animals for food nor do we require them to produce it for us. Our hens lay eggs and we collect the eggs so they don't go to waste... but no hen is ever culled when she stops laying. Some of our chickens have reached the ripe old age of ten years... which is quite old, for a chicken!

Farm-fresh eggs from our very own hens? That is a blessing indeed.

My cow-friend Matilda is the queen of our barnyard. She will only be bred again if a bull pays an unexpected visit to our homestead. Our goats are pets, too. Although I *might* consider milking goats again in the future...

I think I will stop being so all-or-nothing and just go with the flow a little more about decisions like that. (And life in general!)

We are pretty much a farm sanctuary. We hope to add many more critters to our homestead as time goes on. I would love to have another cow and definitely more goats. And chickens. And... whoever needs a loving home and is a good fit for us, I guess!

So yes, I feel quite secure in calling our place a gentle homestead. Even the animals that might be milked or that lay eggs for us live out their natural lives... pampered and loved and well-cared for. But we will consume other animal products that we purchase (or hunt)... that is just the way it is going to be around here.

Still happy and gentle. But no longer vegan.

This is the journey of my simple life. Things change. Sometimes rather quickly and unexpectedly.

When I published My Vegan Story on September 20... exactly two months ago... I would have *never* guessed I would write this post today, or ever change my mind about remaining vegan for good.

Nor would I have thought I would have shared How I Lost 100 Pounds and then lose even more weight, finally realizing that I need to jump off of this merry-go-round of under-eating and over-exercising and recover from my eating disorder once and for all.

And, after a few months in jeans and exploring my style, I have returned to the look I have always loved. A skirt and top... or a casual dress... and a headband (covering).

Simply being myself. And I know it's a good thing. My littlest girl recently left me a love note reminding me that she thinks I am "magnifasint in every way." I was so impressed by her vocabulary choice... magnificent, and her unique spelling. {smile} Oh, the wonderful innocence of childhood.

I am actually rather pleased about all of this and my dear hubby couldn't be happier. I feel kind of brave. And I am not going to edit or remove any of those previous posts I wrote when I was vegan and losing weight and wearing my jeans and coloring my hair. That was then and this is now.

I truly meant all of those words when I wrote them. They are part of my story. That was how I was, and this is how I am now... just before Thanksgiving 2017.

I don't yet know how I will eventually be. And that is okay.

Because I know that if God is causing or allowing something in my life it is for my good and His glory. And even though so many things in my life are changing, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8 (WEB)

Oh yes... and I will still be sharing all kinds of recipes with you as time goes by, Lord willing. Some vegan, some not. Whatever yummy-ness comes out of my simple label-free homestead kitchen.

Kindly and joyfully,

Update: Blog posts published prior to November 20, 2017 reflect the plant-based vegan lifestyle I was practicing at that time. I had a six month hiatus from it and then resumed the plant-based vegan lifestyle in May 2018 until August 1, 2018 when my vegan story came to its final end. I have great respect for the lifestyle, but I am no longer vegan.
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