The new year is a time to celebrate with loved ones, to start fresh, and to make resolutions.
If you’re already a vegan, now is a great time to make a resolution to stay vegan and perhaps add something extra to your vegan journey. Join (or start) a vegan supper club and meet other vegans, raise funds for an animal organization, or maybe step out of your comfort zone and get involved with activism.
If you’re not vegan yet, try it for a month. Veganuary.com is a great place to start. You can also look at Amazon.com for vegan cookbooks (my first was How it all Vegan and I still use it) or go to websites like the Post Punk Kitchen or Engine 2 Diet. A web search will result in a ton of links to vegan recipes. The China Study Cookbook has simple recipes with common ingredients.
You might find being vegan is fun, easier than you thought, and makes you feel good about your health and all the animals your not eating. On a trial run, take the time to read about the plight of animals. Often, the easiest time to learn about what animals endure for our taste buds is when you’re not partaking in them. No guilt. No excuses. Just learn and be the change.
If you’re not ready to dive in, get your toes wet with a transition plan.
On New Year’s Eve, as you’re singing Auld Lang Syne, a song by Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns, think about another poem he wrote. To a Mouse was written after Burns upturned a mouse’s nest in a field. The original poem, in Scottish vernacular, is harder to understand (even though it sounds great), so here’s a link to the original along with a modern translation.
The first two stanzas especially, share a message that we are all in this together:
Small, sleek, cowering, timorous beast,
Oh, what panic is in your breast!
You need not start away so hasty
With a hurrying scamper!
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With a murderous spade!
I’m truly sorry that Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes you startled
At me, your poor, earth-born companion
And fellow mortal!
Burns feels empathy for a tiny creature who is now homeless in the coldest season. He relates to the mouse as a fellow being on the planet. He tells the mouse that they’re alike, because “The best laid plans of mice and men / Go oft awry.”
We can plan, but things change. If you have great plans for the new year and they don’t fall into place, you’re not alone. If you try to be vegan and fail, pick up and keep at it. Be like the mouse who is forward-looking, and not like humans, who often dwell on the past.
The future is vegan! Happy New Year!