Ok, I don’t know how long or short this post will be, but I am going address a few topics on my radar that are close to my heart. I’ve both been asked and pondered this question the past month or so and it’s time to explain what happened, come clean and then introduce what’s happening now.
Here we go.
About a month or so ago, I stopped being vegan. People close to me noticed after a few weeks, so it’s not like I denounced it and began pounding steak. I just simply began eating leftover food that was not guaranteed vegan. Some of my readers noticed when I eliminated my vegan page, changed my about me and did not say “daiya cheese” or “toffuitti” and said “cheese” or “cream cheese” when writing WIAW or recipes.
That is the confession. Here we go with reasoning:
The biggest reason was
the waste. Due to the nature of my job, we have a lot of food that gets thrown away. For a couple months now, it started to really bug me that I would be able to eat these things if it were not for the cheese or dressing that they had. Same was true for desserts we threw away. If only there weren’t butter or something in them, I would be able to consume them. It was just so much food. When others have so little and I am fortunate to have a job with abundance, I felt ashamed and guilty for throwing many things away. I stopped thinking about the bigger issue and focused on something closer to home.
The second reason is something I addressed in an earlier post (not at huge length about it) when another vegan I respected threw my views and religion under the bus. He is a member of my SHVP team and I had asked him for running help before. I was caught off guard by his comments about people of faith. He essentially called me dumb for believing in God. This was not directed at me, but as a general response to the hashtag #PrayForParis. Not only did this happen, but many other people on my SHVP team agreed and furthered the bullying of faith based people and believers. I felt sick and really at odds with these people who I believe to be good. How could some one who cares so much for animals has so little respect for their fellow man? I was so disappointed not only in them, but in the vegan community. I saw them as hypocrites and just angry people I did not want to be associated with. Again, I stopped thinking about the bigger issue and MY vegan journey apart from others.
The third reason was activist burn out. I felt tired of always being on alert. I was done with trying to change people or even responding to the question “How can you not eat cheese?!” I just didn’t want to answer these things anymore, especially after the aforementioned episode. I just wanted to not feel like I had to explain my lunch choice to people who say they love bacon. I was over it.
Now, thinking rationally, I was tired yes, but being a vegan does not mean I have to be a vegan activist. Or at least, an active vegan activist. My choices are enough to be aligned with my ethics and morals. If I choose not to defend my food/clothing, that’s fine and I am no less a vegan for doing so.
Also, this one vegan (or, these few vegans) are not a representative sample of the population at large. One person who obviously has a lot of baggage to deal with and has not thought about the people who he offends has made hurtful statements, but that does not reflect veganism at all. In fact, it is the exact opposite. The lack of compassion is so not what vegans are about. Veganism include all beings in it’s realm of care. If this person had been living his morals I doubt he would have made the claims he did.
I think I wanted to rebel against that in a sense. I wanted to choose God over veganism (even though I believe they can be one in the same) and basically say SCREW YOU to this person and anyone who shared this view. It was immature, yes I know, but as I am human I make mistakes. The tiredness from the burn out and the ease at which I could do this looked very inviting.
Ok, now the waste. This past month, I began to partake in some of the items that had dairy on them. I still did not consume eggs or meat. I could never do that, but considering dairy is in everything, it’s easier to not think about the harm. The animals live, it’s just a piece of cheese or dressing. Move on.
The results however was that I still wasted just as much. I don’t have a big enough stomach to eat everything that must be thrown away. Even if I just ate the vegan stuff, I still threw some of that away! It’s just too much and made no difference at all! So, I’m still trying to come up with something to do about it, but eating non-vegan food didn’t really have any effect.
Where am I now? Well, I’m going back to veganism.
I began to think about the animals. Whether it mattered that I ate a bit of dairy or cheese that would get thrown away anyway. I talked to a wise lady who gave me some perspective. She essentially helped free myself from being the perfect vegan. I don’t need to be an activist, but live my truth. It matters that I don’t consume animal products. It matters that I try to be ethical even if I don’t shout it from the rooftops or “educate” people when they ask why I don’t eat cheese.
I just should live my truth, and that truth is veganism.
So, I am going back to being vegan. I am allowing myself to throw things away and freeing myself from responsibility. It’s sad, but it’s not my sadness. I believe it is used in some way even if it is unclear to me. I am looking at veganism through my lens, the Ellie lens and what that means to me. I do not want to cause harm if I can help it. I am not perfect, but I do want to minimize the damage. Doing so includes being an example and trying to do the best I can. I will not be a militant vegan or talk about it unless I am at a good place and am asked. With the responsibility I have in my life (2 jobs, running etc) I don’t have the capacity or want that stress right now.
I will just live my truth and do the best I can.
Alrighty that was LONG and necessary. Thanks for sticking with me because I now have pictures of my eats 🙂 Thanks to Jenn for the WIAW link-up! No judgements, just yummy eats.
Banana bread bowl and apple. Topped with SALTED CARAMEL peanut butter. Be still my heart!
Edamame succotash with melted Daiya cheese and a pear. All my coworkers thought this smelled great. I’d have to agree, our bakery and culinary department does a fabulous job with their bean salads.
Another banana bread bowl (I have a lot of browning bananas and after breakfast I just wanted another one!) Side of broccoli and snaps with dip.
Walnut Butter Cornflake Cookie Pie. I made this up with the help of Chocolate Covered Katie. Maybe a recipe sometime next week, but it’s honestly so much like the butterfinger one there’s almost no point.
Ok, I’ve talked a lot. I’d love to hear your thoughts on anything and everything 🙂