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January 6, 2014

Conversations With a Vegan. ~ Sanja Cloete-Jones

I’m bored with being a vegan.

It’s not the food.

I have never loved what I eat so much in all my life. I still find myself staring off into space in a little bubble of pure bliss occasionally now that my tastebuds are no longer limited to the weary, narrow repertoire of a general meat and dairy heavy menu. (Although I totally agree some vegan food should only be used to punish small children who use naughty words—I’m looking at you vegan cheese!)

It’s not because of the number of times I’ve had to answer the number one favourite question to ask vegans:

“But what do you eat?”

This phrase is always accompanied with an incredulous expression.

To which the answer is of course ‘absolutely anything as long as it doesn’t require animal slavery, torture or murder.’

That is a lot of stuff.

A. Lot. Of. Stuff.

The fact that people have been brainwashed to believe that good food and the totality of human food choices basically boils down to different combinations of meat, fish and dairy should really no longer be my problem and I’m pretty sure any vegan can beat an Omnitarian on sheer number of items eaten in an average week, any day of any year.

Or the second most epic question of all time to ask a vegan:

“Is your belt vegan? What about your shoes, hah!”

Yes they are doofuses. And I’ll tell you why. Because Vegans Know Stuff. They are the absolute antithesis of uninformed. Every single argument you can possibly come up with has occurred to us and instead of just following our parents or fellow humans like sheep to the slaughter (see what I did there?) we make the smallest everyday decisions based on masses of information. We never stop educating ourselves. Hydrochloric stomach acid comparison between humans and lions? The effect pesticides have on our cholinesterase production? I can go there.

Also we read every argument no matter how absurd or how off point.

It is simply the nature of the vegan.

Because we know we will be called on our ‘alternative’ lifestyle sure. But more than that simply because we are practically religious about scrutinizing data and details and we never flinch in the face of facts.

Which brings me to the nitty gritty of my current dissatisfaction with the vegan life.

My boredom, and by boredom I really mean this building rage threatening to explode in a massive tantrum any moment now, stems from the little moments when I am made to listen to how awkward my choice is, how difficult it is to serve me food or the times when the following conversation happens:

Lovely person who spent lots of time, money and effort to cook an elaborate meal featuring a choice of tortured, mutilated, murdered, aged carcasses waving his triumph under my nose saying:

“I bet now you wish you weren’t a vegan”

Me (carefully considering the least annoying but direct answer and sticking to a placatory tone):

“Nope, actually all I see is suffering”

The Cook (dripping with irritation):

“Not the orange box speech. Please, not at Christmas”

Seriously?

Is it just me or was I simply responding to a direct insult of my intelligence?

Then again I’m pretty sure the pig thought ‘Well at least it’s Christmas’ as it dangled electrocuted from a hook before its throat was cut.

And yes smart-ass. Pigs can think. In fact they are more trainable than dogs. In laboratories, pigs play video games better than primates. Pigs can also dream and recognize their own names. Refer to my earlier mention of ‘Stuff Vegans Know’ and carefully mind who you think can be challenged.

I am so over being treated like the obstructive subversive.

As a general rule the easy way out has never worked all that well for the human species. In a hundred years from now evolved society will look at factory farms with the same disdain we now reserve for slavery.

Either that or this planet and all its inhabitants will be in serious trouble.

Right now being vegan is not the easiest choice.

But it is unequivocally:

better for the environment.

better for animals.

better for the economy.

better for the human body.

I totally respect your right to write your own story but as of this week I am no longer taking any flack. I am no longer making apologetic noises, playing nice in restaurants or defusing the situation with a well-worn joke.

I’m not a self-righteous hippy, I’m not immune to irony, I do not think water is a food group.

And I’m no longer just a vegan because I’m frankly fed up with babysitting the rest of the world.

This week I’m something far worse:

A belligerent vegan.

So bite me.

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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo:  Carl Glover via Flickr.

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