Is saying I’m ‘mostly vegan’ a copout? / poem 72

Since the 1970’s I’ve been ‘mostly vegetarian.’ We’re talking thirty years here. So, just in case you think I’m trendy, I’m not. I have a history with food — and the politics of it.

Early last spring I participated in an eight week juicing and vegan diet regimen with my yoga teacher and several of her friends [see posting on The Detox Club dated April 13th]. For some time I had thought veganism was the next logical (and ethical) step. I guess I’d just been too lazy and didn’t want to attempt it alone without supportive people around me. Since then I have largely maintained a vegan diet, with organic food as much as possible. I say ‘largely’ because I am not rigid about occasionally having an ice cream cone from Graeter’s or Putz’s. Every now and then I have a craving for pizza, especially gourmet pizza from Dewey’s. And the third craving has to do with cookies. I usually buy the healthiest ones I can from Trader Joe’s but sometimes not. I know mostly they are made with eggs. So, let’s see here: we’re talking slip ups with dairy, cheese, and eggs. Strangely, I haven’t missed cheese, yogurt, or eggs too much.

So I have shared that I am ‘mostly vegan.’ Saying this seems honest. It means I’m not surreptitiously sneaking an ice cream cone, hoping someone who knows won’t see me. It means I don’t have to suffer guilt (I hate guilt). I told an acquaintance I didn’t want to get ‘Nazi’ about it. What I meant by this was rigidity to the point of insufferability. Rigid is definitely a more neutral term. But what the other extremely loaded word denotes is Being Right, Making Others Feel You Know The Way, and Forcing Them to Cooperate.

Being vegan means I value animals almost as much as human beings. Besides the obvious cruelty involved in eating cows, pigs, chickens, etc., it is unnecessary and unhealthy as well. There is plenty of literature out there to support this. For me, it works. For me, it feels right. But my believing strongly in veganism doesn’t mean I won’t be friends with you if you eat meat. Honestly, I’d rather you didn’t but it is your choice. I have been known to occasionally frequent steak houses with my father; they are his favorite restaurants. I make sure these visits are rare but I have gone. It’s ultimately about connection not control.

poem

mostly means you
rarely do that other thing.
I admit I am human and fallible.

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2 responses to “Is saying I’m ‘mostly vegan’ a copout? / poem 72

  1. First of all, good for you for doing what you can!!

    Vegans are often stereotyped as being insufferable holier-than-thou hypocrites. I’m sure there are vegans like that out there, but often I think this stereotype is a defense against a position that most people do not want to consider or explore.

    A person can certainly be fully vegan and not be a jerk. I feel so grateful that the person who helped me choose veganism also at the same time helped me be nice about it. My friends told me that my attitude really helped them accept my lifestyle change.

    I think you may be having difficulty with the word “rigid.” I suppose I “rigidly” refuse to eat animal products, but I don’t consider myself a stiff or stuffy person. Sometimes it is a minefield: how do we have friends with whom we disagree on such a fundamental issue? I do not personally know any vegans, so I face this issue daily, but it is no problem. Here are some examples of my mindset: I do believe, after careful consideration, that I hold the morally superior position on this issue. Of course I do – that’s why I chose veganism! BUT, I don’t believe I am morally superior person. I’m not better than them. And I have been there. I understand the justifications and denial. Also, I am not striving to be perfect, just do the best I can. These are just a few of the ways in which I keep my friends and family from despising me.

    In case you’re interested, I learned these attitudes from a wonderful podcast, Food For Thought, at compassionatecooks.com. I can’t recommend this highly enough – engaging, interesting, useful, compelling. There’s no one like Colleen.

    • Tinako,

      I really appreciate your insights on my blog post about being ‘mostly vegan.’ Yes, ‘rigid’ is a word I was in search of. I especially like your sentence, “I am not striving to be perfect, just do the best I can.” Thanks for the reminder! Will check out your suggestions. Thanks for taking the time to write a comment!

      Phebe

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