This post is one that I have been sitting on for some time now. I've experienced from near and afar, instances that cause me to pause and contemplate what I was feeling. Conversations I've had with friends, colleagues, and foodies of industry alike that have either had similar thoughts, or have been on the other side fueling what I have termed 'Evilveganism'.
'Yes, I'm Vegan'. 'Vegetarian is what I've become'. 'Yes I'm flexible- mainly vegetarian, but I only eat chicken on Mondays and Wednesdays, that means I'm Flexitarian'. 'Pescetarian here, fish isn't really meat, so I'm good'! I make sure that veggies are based around my chicken and steak, so I feel that makes me just good ol' plant-based, yeah, I'm Plantbased'. LABELS.
My eating journey started out like most, trying to figure it all out in an instant. I eat this, not that. Basically following a trend of what was popular, but also with the potential of eating better. I've pretty much dabbled in all of the above eating labels and have finally concluded that it's about what works for ME, regardless of the culinary trend. And isn't that what it's really all about- what works for you? Common sense says yes- enter EvilVeganism. It is truly a phenomenal time when the popular thing to do is eat more healthy. Unfortunately, these self-appointed spokespeople have an uncanny knack for making clean-eating-challenged, primary meat-eaters feel as if they're less than adequate for not giving it all up and once. These Evilvegans hop on their soapboxes and dictate all types of judgement and critique that raises them seemingly higher on this platforms as they look down on those not yet conformed. Ugggh, you eat that? You know you're killing yourself, right? So you're good with eating a chicken's period? And you wonder why you smell like that? I have heard and seen enough! You would think these self-righteous, holy-grass eaters have been vegan ever since the boob! Just a few years ago if not LESS, these exact same 'Mean Girls' (persons), were most likely in the drive-thru line of their neighborhood fast food chicken spot trying to get a 2-piece with a side of red beans and rice or at the burger joint ordering a double cheeseburger with extra pickles CUT IN HALF! Get tha' hell outta here! Because of these Evilvegans, I have seen friends and acquaintances at one time or another go into seclusion denying themselves holiday and other festive gatherings as not to be tempted by meat-laden vittles trying to fit into this unrealistic square peg magically overnight.
*NEWSFLASH*: If you have been a primary meat eater for 30+ years, chances are your body/mindset aren't going to adjust in 24 hours, or even 24 days.
While I am a strong proponent for a plant- based lifestyle wholly believing food is indeed medicine, as with anything your body consumes on a regular basis over an extensive period of time, you must PREPARE. Never have I heard those behind this EvilVeganism movement once utter the importance of speaking to your physician about plans to begin this lifestyle and considering your labs/blood work. Or providing resources and/or help to guide you in making an optimal and realistic plan for you to obtain this goal. Or encouraging one to not aspire to be a label but in fact to incorporate a healthy 'lifestyle'.
And this word 'lifestyle' has even gotten lost in the shuffle. Folks are being so ill-advised to embrace labels that they don't even comprehend what's all involved. What may seem like common sense to some is foreign to most. Veganism is not just an eating plan rid of animal protein and product derivatives. Veganism means that your favorite oh-so-soft-all-leather handbag is being donated to a shelter. Those badass leather and/or suede boots, shoes, earrings, jacket, headband, bracelet, wool coat/socks, etc., yep, no more. That killing-me-softly-warm fur coat you inherited- yeah, pass that on down to the next family member in line. And this is just your attire, we haven't even touched on that sheepskin rug or leather couch you're sitting on as you read this blog post. And did you pay extra for that all leather interior package in your vehicle? Or better yet, do you own a pet? Oh, ok. So you see, this style of living is deeper that what it looks to be on the surface. And it's not fair to those true vegans living this reality daily. Now this is not to say these are not your endeavors, my point is that research, time, and self-realization is needed. Understand that it is completely OK to take time to process and not feel bullied or less-than trying to live up to some Evilvegan's epiphany and exclusion of those just trying to live their best life.
So do you, be you, know YOU! Don't fall prey to EvilVeganism. Embrace and acknowledge your limitations and AT YOUR OWN PACE, seek to be more than a label.
Now go out and make it a Great Tasting Day!