Hazel, I did find a love of goat cheese about 6 months before becoming vegan! But, still it was not difficult to give up. My transition was mostly ethics based, but much like you after finding out what it does to my body I can not go back. Also, after researching a lot of stuff I came to the conclusion that we were designed to be herbivores. It just makes sense. If you are supposed to eat something, it should not make you sick and lead to disease. When we go to parties where there are non-vegan desserts or not much for us to eat, people say "oh, I feel so bad that you are vegan and have nothing to eat here." And I tell them that I don't feel bad or deprived because I would never want to eat that stuff anyway. The desire is just not there.
Do whatever is best for you. While I wish everyone could have an easy time being vegan, some people just don't. Myself included. I had two unsucessful attempts at veganism before it finally stuck, felt right, and wasn't a struggle. Now it is second-nature and I rarely have cravings and when I do I can deal with them pretty easily. If you are having a hard time, vegetarianism may be what is right for you at this time. That's not to say that you can't be inspired to become a vegan in the future!
I was a vegetarian for eight years, and while I do think that veganism is the best choice for me now, I don't regret a single day of vegetarianism.
Do what makes you feel best. I found after a year of being vegan, and having my gall bladder out, that I felt best when adding fish and eggs back to my diet, but I still eat tons of "vegan" meals all the time, and my favorite restaurants are all vegan.
Every BODY is different, and it is important we are kind to ourselves first, so we can be kind to others. I don't think you should feel guilt or shame. We all have to find a healthy balance for ourselves.
I just want to throw in my two cents here, as a person who has been vegan for about 8 months now and recently gave in to a cheese craving. I was craving cheese pizza like craaazy for days and I thought, sheesh, it's not going away, maybe my body really NEEDS something from it that I am not getting. So both my husband and I (also vegan for the same period of time) ate two slices and immediately felt sick...like a rock was sitting in our stomachs. It only got worse and for almost an entire day I had cramps and severe stomach pains, as did my husband.
Guess what? I NEVER want to eat that again because no matter how much I was craving it, it was SO not worth it, physically and mentally (I of course felt "weak" and like I "cheated" somehow). I learned that after a certain period of not eating dairy (a few months, I think) your body actually stops producing the enzyme to digest it and you will likely become lactose intolerant.
So what I'm saying is, though your head may miss certain things from your diet in the past, you may find that your body will have none of it! :) Also, I found that I was actually missing the social aspects of being able to order a cheese pizza when out with friends or the fun routine of ordering a pizza and watching a movie with my hubby. Perhaps this is also the case with you? We just had to make new traditions, and I've actually come to love cheeseless pizza. :)
Whatever you decide, good luck and stay true to yourself.
May I suggest reading "Woman, Food and God". It will help you understand why you eat and what you are expressing about yourself through your food choices and eating. You may find that cheese represents something to you besides just "cheese". Best of luck to you!
I'm getting close to the 6-month marker of veganism and lately I've been wanting cheese too. Sometimes I dream that I'm eating pizza and it's the most delicious thing I've ever tasted (in the dream I actually say that!). That's a subconscious way to satisfy my cravings and desires for what --as straycat points out -- those things mean to me: comfort, convenience. Last night I dreamt about scrambled eggs. Does anyone else do that too? When I'm awake and I think I want to cave in and try some of my husband's stuff, I just tell myself it's not food and that it won't nourish me as well as other things will.
Esperanza, I think you are being too hard on yourself. It's hard to give up the things that you grew up with. So congratulate yourself for being vegan for as long as you have been (think of how many animals you spared) and if you feel like going back to being vegetarian, go ahead. Or maybe do what the author of Skinny Bitch said on Oprah, "Be vegan-ish." She said her husband is vegan-ish and that's fine with her. Good luck with everything!
Going vegetarian was much more difficult for me than going vegan. I was pescatarian for about 8 years, then vegetarian 1 year and have been vegan for almost a year. I mentally associate all the same suffering of animals with eating eggs and dairy as I do with eating animals. I also mentally associate all the harmful chemicals with eating eggs and dairy as much as with meat. So being vegan has been extra work physically, but easy mentally. My husband on the other hand is vegetarian and just can't seem to give up cheese. That is of course his choice. He had no problem going vegetarian, but I had to make several attempts before finally succeeding. So every one is different. Anything you do is better than nothing..
I am really glad to see this thread. After 2+ years of vegetarianism due to a general horror of factory farming practices, I made the jump to vegan less than a month ago. I have been miserable ever since. Foods that I always loved (kale, broccoli, yams, fruit) now taste like paper to me. I find that I barely eat anything, which of course means I feel dizzy and sick all the time.
I should point out that the reason for the change was that I did some research into the Humane label put on certain dairy and egg products (which of course I purchased regularly, wanting to support such practices.) It turns out that the label doesn't neccesarily prevent things that I won't repeat here. But I can't get these images out of my head. And now I feel as though there are NO safe foods. It seems like everything will make you sick, or causes animal cruelty, etc. Please, my new anonymous internet peers, please PLEASE don't reply to this with suggestions of things to eat. I know what I can and can't eat. But I also am at work until 8PM every day, and don't want to spend what is often my one night a week off cooking meals for the whole week. Neither do I want to spend my life carting my own food everywhere I go.
I guess I am just frustrated. I am so disappointed that this feels like a constant battle against an entire economy set against my principles. Sharing food is such an emotional experience. Do I lose that now? Do I call ahead whenever attending a dinner party, or never eat cake and my nephews birthday, or eat dinner rolls and dry salad at events? I am just miserable with this. I want to get to a point where I don't dread being hungry, or feel nauseous at the grocery store. I want to stop seeing food as the enemy.