Labeling Theory!

27Dec10

Well I have some surprising news for a vegan food blog…I don’t identify as a vegan anymore! It’s true the vegan police have taken away my vegan license. 🙂 Truthfully everyone seems neutral or positive, my vegan friends haven’t beat me up about it, the most I’ve gotten has been a sigh, maybe they always knew this day would come, I haven’t been vegan for very long, maybe it’s not so surprising.

Why I’m not vegan:

1. Will power. Being 100% vegan is hard to impossible, for me anyway. Others might feel differently and that’s cool. Some find the very idea of being vegan uncomprehensible, others find it easy as pie, and don’t really see the big deal. Maybe it’s because I live with my parents, or maybe it’s because I’m a fattie who loves cheese, either way I just didn’t stick with it. I kept going out with friends and eating things I knew weren’t really vegan, but were closer than not. Which eventually lead to just straight up nonvegan stuff. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, and I know lots of hardcore vegans get upset when “vegans” go out and eat things that are very obviously not. So I’m coming out, I’m not closely adhering to a vegan diet anymore.

2. Doubts. Three of my former vegan friends have gone on to eating meat. Which leads me to questions stuff. Is this the most ethical way to eat? My primary concern has always been with the environment. I think avoiding meat is a great way to make a difference with the environment. But I was always concerned that maybe a strict vegan diet isn’t the best way to deal with that. Earth Balance? Soy Milk? It’s not to say that vegans can’t eat locally, or that they can’t eat in a way that is environmentally friendly. But it wasn’t the way I was doing it. Maybe a local egg is in some ways more ethical, than a far off avocado which traveled here via oil from a war that hurt humans, animals, and land. Maybe local milk from local farmers could be more compassionate than soy milk from a big agriculture company which sued local farmers and exploited migrant workers. Or maybe my instincts were right the first time, that maybe tofu beats a slice of cheese regardless of who made it, how it got here, who knows. Maybe someday I’ll go back, and I’ll manage to find a way to eat locally, sustainably, affordably, and compassionately. But at the moment, I’m letting go of any such claims. I haven’t figured it out, I’m going to stop pretending I have, or that I follow any such diet. I’m working in on it, but working on it isn’t a label.

Which brings me to my next thought. One of the nice things about being a vegan is to be able to say it. It’s clear, it’s short, and it says a lot. Sometimes it says things you don’t intend, but ultimately it was nice to have a community, to have a definition. But labels can also exclude people, can isolate people, and can be off putting. So I’m no longer a vegan…maybe I’m more of a shmegan. While I find it really hard to be a strict vegan, I find it pretty easy to be a vegetarian who doesn’t eat much dairy or eggs. And that’s where I’m at. I still mostly believe in all of the vegan propaganda I’ve posted, so please consider eating less meat, or less dairy, or less eggs, maybe like me you’ll find it’s easier than you expect, and unlike me you don’t worry what it means, or what you’re going to call yourself. Maybe you’re a shmegan, a vegan, or just a person who like everyone else is trying to figure it out 🙂

This blog is going in a new direction. It’s still going to have the occasional delicious vegan recipe, but maybe some general thoughts of a shmegan.

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One Response to “Labeling Theory!”

  1. 1 Melissa

    I think it’s great that you’re embracing the fact that you’re trying to figure out what’s right for you. Who cares if a label doesn’t fit you anymore? It didn’t fit you completely in the first place.

    Joe and I ate at a new vegan restaurant in Silver Lake last night. It was yummy, and it made me think of you. Hope I’ll be able to take you there sometime. http://www.crusilverlake.com/ They even offer Restaurant.com coupons! Woot!


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