The WTF on the Vegan Thing.

Via on Oct 1, 2010

“Why wouldn’t you want to eat meat? Aren’t you sick all the time?” ~ good friend X

Vegan. Say it five times fast and it really sounds like either a dirty word or something out of a Will Ferrell comedy. Ayyy-bahbeee!

I decided to devote my piece today on Veganism twofold—one, I am defending the choice on a regular basis, and maybe this will clear the air a wee bit.  Two, I’m hoping to bring a new perspective to the choice, for all my friends and family (and folks who don’t know me) that know for years about my eating habits.

A little history—I’m 33, have two small children and a husband who was raised in “Meat-n-Potatoville” Ohio (love it, love the people, love the festivals.  I’m not judging here).  We have our happy existence in the ‘burbs, and until around 2 years ago, I was pretty unconscious as to the choices of foods I put on all of our plates.  Again, no judgment here on those who are—we are a busy family, and it was easy to fall into the pattern of “eating what was available and convenient.”

When I became a yoga instructor, I did so during a parallel universe period – I was also training for a marathon.  So while my belief system was being challenged (my favorite learning quote during teacher training was, “May all sentient beings be free” – courtesy of legendary teacher & lifelong vegan Lizzy Hoffman), I was also researching healthier training methods.  I stumbled upon the writings of Sage Rountree and Scott Jurek – Sage being a triathlete & yoga instructor, Scott being a vegan ultramarathoner.  Wow—is it possible to give up meat, have a conscience, and still be a “training badass?”

So that was a little longer history than you needed.  Flash forward to today—I have a PR firm, and I work primarily in the stock car/NASCAR world.  I’ve been a vegetarian for over a year now. I love everyone I’m around, we’re all like a traveling family each weekend—but the eating habits leave a little to be desired.  I’ve met so many team chefs who are sweet enough to make me a “special” meal (it’s almost like a challenge to them to get outside the “meat” box), as well as folks who just want to learn more about the process of decreasing meat (vegetarianism) and additionally, even dairy & eggs (veganism).

Now that I’m comfortably through the first step of being a vegetarian for a year, I’m pledging to myself to drop the dairy and eggs by this Christmas.  It seems like most friends & family were supportive of the vegetarianism, but veganism seems extreme to the collective.  I’m not really sure why – I love how Scott Jurek put it in a recent Men’s Journal article on vegan athletes – “Animals have been plant-based vegans for years, and they aren’t keeling over.”  It seems a natural progression for me, so why is that extreme?

So when I get the “WTF would you be a vegan for, good God?!!”, for anyone who doesn’t know enough about vegan culture this is the skinny.  Most of us are middle-of-the-roaders…we love life, health, family and enjoy contributing less to the global environmental troubles.  I have the occasional stomachache as I see the cute Chik-Fil-A cows (“hey, we have a good life!”) or the California Cow billboards that advertise free-roaming, smiling heifers (um, you have YOUR udders squeezed repeatedly and tell me how awesome it is to graze like Ferdinand the Bull for an hour a day).

Again, I’m spreading the vegan love here – not trying to incite a meat riot.  I love meat-eaters, as long as you know where your meat came from, how it was raised, and why you are consuming it responsibly (rather than overindulgence).  That goes for vegans and non-vegans alike – we should ALL know where our food came from.  Rise to consciousness, myself included – it’s a daily challenge.

Hey, some folks exercise like crazy.  Others have a TV addiction or are fanatical about a sport.  It is what it is, and if it makes you happy, go for it – as long as its not at the expense of others.  When it comes to meeting a vegetarian or vegan friend, don’t treat it like they have an addiction or an anomoly.  They are just like you – they’ve made a conscious decision to understand what goes in their mouth each day.

And that, my friends, is the WTF on the V words.  Peace & train on!

About Demi Knight Clark

As chief inspirer & "Girl Friday," Demi has brought success, motivation & inspiration to both private individual, corporate & military clients. A Fortune 500 executive turned Duke-trained Integrative Health Coach, 200-hour RYT, vegan, Girls on the Run coach, Food Revolution ambassador & marathoner, Demi is on a one-woman mission to change the world...one attitude at a time. She currently lives in Fort Mill, SC with her husband & two young "chicks in training" - Willa & Maizie.

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9 Responses to “The WTF on the Vegan Thing.”

  1. Mary Holland Mary Holland says:

    LOVE IT! This is a very funny article that has a lot of meaning. Great job!

    Go vegan! Save the world!

  2. Allyson says:

    just wanted to add that for vegans, and many vegetarians now too, these choices are to be reflected in every type of purchase and consumption. so if you've chosen to not consume animal products and live a vegan lifestyle, it also means that you don't buy or wear leather boots and purses either (for example).

  3. Jessica says:

    Cotton is not an animal product…

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  7. Lauren says:

    What the heck does cotton have to do with it? Cotton is from a plant…
    And no, most vegans don't use wool, silk, beauty products containing animal ingredients or tested on animals, etc.

  8. ann says:

    really loved this article (realize i'm like about two years late giving it some love…hope you're still on the vegan train!)…jonathon saffron foer makes a really good point about how we're made to look like the PIAs, the weirdo's, the inconveniences, and how bizarre and unreasonable that is, considering that we're the ones making a conscious daily decision to eat ethically. and we're the bad guys? whatev's.

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