If I want it, I'll make it

Being vegan does have it's advantages, especially during the holidays-to-New Year diet transition. First, you don't necessarily need to go on a diet because you're already eating good food - tons of veggies, grains, complex carbs. No need to spend money on meal plans, master cleanses (as it should happen naturally...) or liquid fixes. Unlike other diets, veganism is definitely a commitment. It's more than just abstaining from animal products. Built into adopting such a lifestyle choice is a conscious awareness and subconscious evaluation of ways to reduce harm on plants, animals and humans. I've been "reducing harm" for nearly five years now, but there are still ways I can improve.

If I do buy something from the store, I always choose items that have the least amount of packaging, come in glass containers or plastics that I know can be recycled, or prefer getting products that I use all the time from the bulk section. Since I'm a tea drinker, I opt for loose tea over individually wrapped bags, and create my own blends. So, how can I further reduce my impact? By a simple credo: If I want it, I'll make it.

This mostly goes for baked goods - Liz Lovely Chocolate Fudge Cookies. I die. - or prepared foods at health food stores. I am a bit impulsive, especially if I go into a store hungry, and, usually go one of two ways: restrain myself or splurge (because I justify that it's vegan and good for me.) And, for those who buy vegan treats, they're not cheap either. This year, if I see something, I make a mental note, look for a recipe or try to create my own, and make it at home if I feel motivated. Hopefully, I'll not only minimize or eliminate packaging, but save money and maybe a little bit of weight in the process.

(*Even before this new resolution, I made these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies last fall, using fresh pumpkin and spelt flour; it made a huge batch and was able to freeze a bunch.)

If people are looking for a renewed outlook on life, encouraged by the new sense of optimism that accompanies a new year, try going vegan. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made.