feels like a hot topic right now and as a new convert to the whole becoming vegan thing I can obviously see the appeal.
But this isn’t a post about why I think becoming vegan is amazing or even why you should be a vegan or why I wish my other half would eat more vegan food or even why I’ve spent far too long watching Earthling Ed convert the population of Britain, one horrifying documentary at a time.
This is just me, a self-proclaimed ‘vegan‘, putting it out there that I have a bit of a problem with the label.
I have a problem with the term ‘vegan’.
Feeling a bit lost about becoming vegan?
Well, let me explain. To understand you’d need to know what made me think about becoming vegan in the first place.
You see, the whole reason I would pop myself into the vegan bracket and wave my non-meat eating hands in the air about it all in the first place is that I cannot stand the thought of other living creatures suffering so that I can eat a tasty fillet steak with chips on a Saturday night. Every time I put meat in my belly I picture the animal it came from and I can literally sense the fear, pain and horror. And then I want to vomit.
Simples. Even as a meat-eater, I’m sure you could understand that feels pretty unpleasant.
So, with animal welfare being my primary reason for being a “vegan” – I think it’s fair to say that each meal I eat that doesn’t contain meat or animal products, is a success. It’s a win for one animal somewhere.
The trouble then comes when I’m out with my family, the kids are starving, everyone’s creating a fuss and starting to throw tantrums / hit each other and the only option for feeding people is a McDonald’s round the corner. Inevitably, being weak-willed and hungry, a bunch of meat is ordered, eaten and consumed. And then there’s the guilt.
“Well I just ate a burger so I can no longer call myself vegan. I’ve failed so I might as well continue eating meat because I’m a big fat, vegan, failure.”
And there it is.
The problem with labels. Or at least other people’s understanding of the label.
Pigeon-holing your whole life to fit under someone else’s rulebook and understanding is completely restrictive and also utterly counter-intuitive to the good cause you once wanted to follow.
My kind of vegan
So for me at least, I choose my own journey with veganism to mean that I try my best to live without meat or animal products, that I do my best to consider animal welfare where possible but also that if I slip up, or even make a conscious decision to eat meat once, twice or even just every so often that I won’t berate myself and completely give up this life that I really believe in. I am no less of a vegan than someone who is militant and obsessive about the consumption or use of any animal product. In fact I think this kind of rigid thinking is misguided as it puts many people off even considering a life with less meat.
I am a vegan but in my own way and I have my own journey with it so there is going to be a lot more focus on veganism including recipes, meal plans, how to incorporate it into family life and a look at the best animal-free products in beauty and fashion on this blog.
Where do you fit in?
Maybe you are reading this because you have been thinking about trying veganism out or maybe you would like to eat less meat or are just intrigued by this massive vegan bandwagon that even Nando’s have jumped on (yep – a chicken restaurant serving vegan options…). If so, I just want you to know that
being a vegan can mean whatever you want it to mean to you
If your intent is the same as all the other people thinking of animal welfare and healthier choices then you can dip your toes in, dabble, throw yourself in heart, body and soul or just do what you see to be right in the moment.
You don’t need a label or a rulebook just because myself or anyone else wants to call ourselves vegan. Just do it your way. Do your best…because that kind of lifestyle? That kind of choice?
Well, that’s my kind of veganism.