November 1, 2013

Vegan-ish: Why I Am (Mostly) Vegan.

To say I am vegan would be untruthful, so I’m inventing a new word.

I am “vegan-ish”.

Vegan-ish types like me believe in veganism for the same strong reasons that regular vegans do; we want to reduce suffering and lighten our footprint on the planet.

Veganism has become a much more important personal and political statement over the last 20 or so years with the advent of factory farming. Factory farms are truly an evil which, once eradicated, will be looked back upon by future generations as akin to Nazi death camps and American slavery.

Prior to factory farming, (and still today, on small farms run with a conscience) I believe, though many would disagree, eggs and milk and honey were okay things to eat, as long as the cows and chickens and bees that made them were treated humanely. Really humanely…not allowed to “run” outside in a filthy one square foot slab of concrete which is the egg industries interpretation of free range.

Though that is the case, I still have a taste for honey, for dairy, and also for fish, which disqualifies me from veganism.

Let me be plain: I avoid these foods and eat them only rarely, but I do eat them.

I try to think of my diet in terms of percentages. If I eat vegan and healthy (which are not necessarily the same thing) 95% of the time, then I’ve gone a long way towards sustaining my body and my principles. If I slip below 90%, I start asking myself some hard questions.

It could be strongly argued that being vegan-ish is just as bad as not being vegan at all. I mean, if I’m willing to eat the flesh of a fish, then why not the flesh of a cow? Or my dog?

I guess I’m succumbing to my carnal desires and my animal roots. I love eating vegan, but every now and then, if I don’t eat an egg, heads are gonna roll. And not chicken heads either. Human ones.

I am copping to the truth of my vegan-ishness for a very important reason. I don’t want to be like the priest who preaches monogamy and heterosexuality and then goes and gets a blow job from a transgendered hooker in a public bathroom. Or worse, gives a blow job to a little boy behind the alter.

I think when people preach extremes, they deny the fact of their humanity, and are driven to worse trespasses than they ever would be otherwise.

In other words, if I wasn’t willing to say what I’m saying, I think I might end up in the closet with a B.L.T, heavy on the B. But when I do say it, all those cravings are allowed to be addressed and be released, mostly harmlessly, into the atmosphere.

I resent when anyone professes to be something they are not. I see it a lot of that where I live, in the affluent suburbs of middle America. And I see it a lot in the yoga community too. Everyone is loathe to admit they’re imperfect, or makes mistakes, or sometimes have contradictory views.

Well allow me to hoist the torch of imperfection here. I’m trying awfully hard to do my best, and sometimes I don’t manage it, but you can be sure I’ll cop to it either way.

In the final analysis, honesty, not slogan shouting, self punishing or finger pointing, is what’s going to get us where we need to be.


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Ed: Bryonie Wise



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