Vegan is not a diet, but when it is…
We are vegans.
For us this is not just how we eat.
For us this is not just about trying to be healthier.
For us this is not a trend.
For us this is not a diet.
For myself, the evolving relationship with being vegan——with eating a wholly plant-based diet——started more as just another turn in my life. Becoming vegetarian was easy. Meat held no power over me, and giving it up was as simple as setting an ice cube out in the hot sun and watching it slowly melt away. (Here I have to credit Katie as the impetus.) As time when on, however, it felt like a shift away from all animal products was not only logical but essential.
Turning “pure vegetarian” or “wholly plant-based” was not hard, but it did and still does present us with a life-shifting paradigm. I, however, am all about embracing such paradigms. Each step in one’s life, each encounter with “the new” and “the different”
can will bring the possibility of challenges and hardships. But I have adopted the ethos that it is often better to simply make/accept something into your life, make it who you are and move forward with it. But isn’t this what people do, rather dramatically and instantaneously when they have children? Or when they marry? Or date? Or start school or a new job? Yes, you bring your old-self with you to these new experiences, but the newness of those experiences requires of you to be open and willing to accept both the unknown and change. Without these capacities you will continually drag a weight behind you, scarring your life and the lives of those around you as you continually lament your situation.
Openness. Acceptance. The Unknown. Change.
Many people avoid these at all costs, but becoming vegan is all about them. It is all about seeing your food, seeing yourself, seeing animals, seeing your relationships with the world……differently. That is why vegan is not a diet. Vegan is not about a short term change. It is not about a limited stance, an immediate view of your world, but rather about how what you are doing will affect life in the long term. Diets are crap because they do not focus on changing your life overall. Diets don’t aim to change you they simply change your behavior. While
While I began a vegan rather unconcerned about the lives of the animals I have grown into a person who is wholly aware that through my actions less suffering is occurring by 1. Will my not consuming animal products alleviate all suffering? No. Will my not partaking in animal products change the world? Probably not. But “vegan,” for me, is about living by means of a set of principles and demonstrating, through my actions and words, that I choose not to engage, to the best of my abilities, in increasing the amount of suffering in the world.
I am not perfect. My actions are not perfect. I will fail. But the absence of perfection and the prospect of failure does not prevent my trying, nor should it stop anyone reading this. That is why when vegan becomes a diet it has failed to engage the participant with the real essence of what the very concept of vegan is. Yes, any step towards alleviating suffering is the right step, and choosing vegan-as-a-diet may display similar outward behavior, however going vegan purely for diet reasons is to disregard the substantively complex nature of what it means to be vegan.
We are vegan.
In all our imperfections and deficiencies.
And you should be to.
Give it try.