All or nothing?

Some people have expressed concern to me that I’m punishing my kids by banning sweets. But the thing is, when I say I’m banning something, it does not mean I’ve literally banned something. I never take anything to extremes. I’m flexible with practically everything I do in my life.

So what does banning sweets mean? My kids still get sweets when they go to birthday parties (if the host provides them) and I still do home baking. I almost always have home-made muffins in the pantry (although not at the moment as we’re between homes right now) and when we eat out they sometimes get dessert. They also get treats from time to time like a slice of cake if we go out to a cafe or if it’s someone’s birthday. But we don’t have orange juice or ice-cream or lollies or chocolate in our house.

I also align myself with veganism but I’m not strict. If I go to someone’s house and they offer me a cup of tea with milk and a piece of cake with egg, then I’ll usually accept it. If someone cooks me dinner and it has cheese, then I’m not going to turn it down. Veganism, to me, is not about being militant about every little thing that passes my lips. It’s more about elevating the status of animals and then making choices, when we have them, that respect the rights of other animals. And I would say that almost all of the time, I get the choice to choose plants over animals.

I’m also a teetotaller but again, I’m not strict. Occasionally I will drink a beer. Or make my vegan ice-cream with cointreau recipe. Or try mead for the first time. I enjoy drinking alcohol but I don’t like the headaches that come with drinking too much and there’s also a strong link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer, even in moderate amounts. On the whole, I think the stuff is best avoided if you’re a woman, but again, I don’t adopt a militant approach to this.

I think having a flexible outlook for all these things and others makes them easier to maintain. I realise it doesn’t work for everyone and some people need to take a hard line or they fail. But I firmly feel that where veganism is concerned, it’s much easier to try your best and not get hung up on the small amounts of animal products that we might unintentionally ingest. I think many people are put off by what seems like an impossible task. But if you take a relaxed approach to it, then it really isn’t impossible at all.