Now into my fifth year as a vegan, listening to Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet, I realized if someone were to ask me my spiritual affiliation I would answer vegan but to fully embody the practice I have to demonstrate as much compassion for human beings as the animals I choose not to eat or exploit. And that is harder said than done. We live imperfectly and I have known since embracing a purely plant-based diet that the palm oil in my Earth Balance though supposedly responsibly sourced, may not always be and the white sugar I used to sweeten my coffee at my cousin’s house was probably filtered through bone char. and regrettably, my consumption contains far more than traces of exploited labor though I try to be mindful. But what really struck me is the Dalai Lama’s line about his religion is kindness so if veganism is a manifestation of compassion I have to practice compassion to all, even those who scare me. I can still hold folks accountable and object to violence and oppression in all its forms but I cannot jump on the mean bus. So suddenly, being vegan is a lot more challenging than finding something to eat at a mainstream restaurant. And still, I embrace the practice as wholeheartedly as I can.