Now, one thing to make clear, I am not going to make this into a Vegan diatribe of how you should eat. I am merely ranting here about that tired question I get asked all too frequently. (And I know others get asked much more insensitive questions regarding a number of things from race to sexuality to marital status, but this is my bug bear for today.)
“Are you still vegan. Are you still on that diet?” I get asked this frequently. I haven’t asked the askers if they are still whatever they happen to identify themselves as. One acquaintance made a religious conversion for purposes of marriage. Are you still a (fill in the blank, the mind boggles).
Just as my sexuality is not a whim, yes I am still gay, nor is my way of eating. It is not a diet. I am not depriving myself of anything. I am not on a diet. Veganism is not a diet. You can gain, lose, win, die or thrive as a vegan.
I am a vegan by choice. I made my choice ethically in order to step away from a system that convinces us we need to exploit animal products to survive and makes us dependent on them. I am so happy to be outside of that system. Now there are so many other systems that bind us: money lending, self medicating, media that is and is not social. But stepping out of this one system has been liberating. No one can make me eat what I don’t want!
And I am vegan by ethical choice (though the health benefits are far reaching), and since you can access any number of animals being treated inhumanely on the internet, I won’t spoil your appetite by showing them here.
For my money, it seems to take far too much work and strain on the planet let alone the animal I am supposed to consume, for one bad meal of rubbery chicken or stringy beef at a second rate restaurant. All that suffering so I could spit my chewed meat into a napkin and think about what I want for dessert.
I am also asked if I cheat or have cheated on my “diet”. To which I may answer “have you cheated on your principals recently?” Shoplifted, just a little? Killed someone? Lied? So, no. I don’t see the upside of abandoning my principles. It makes no sense.
So yes, I am still vegan and it is no discipline or struggle, there is a huge amount of fresh whole food to satisfy my needs and cravings. I can even have the vegan version of a Big Mac or a hotdog or ice cream if I want. Just as a carnivore wouldn’t live off of these foods and expect to feel 100%, nor would I, to those of you who think that vegans are busy gobbling up beyond meat burgers 24/7. There is processed vegan food, as there is processed animal based food. You have to do your homework in either case.
There, I hope that answers the question. I am vegan for ethical reasons, which may make you squirm as you examine your own reasons for eating what you eat. It’s easy to pretend we don’t know where our food comes from. I know my answer can be misleading since I am about health and wellness, but can’t that extend beyond my own private celestial body into the wellness and well being of the planet?