Vegan.

I’ve been vegan for about three months now. Before that I only ate animal products when I was grabbing food at a restaurant due to familial pressures. “Chinese eggplant? Don’t you want some of my beef with snowpeas?” Blech.  I can still tell you about the perfectly cooked pork belly with the chipotle-blueberry sauce I ate some years ago, but upon further reflection… was I a fan of the meat or was that combination in the sauce that awesome?

I have a tendency to keep things to myself. I have yet to tell my family, some friends, or my coworkers. Mostly people go “want to eat here?” Then I either finagle a place with a vegan friendly option, where people just think that my order choice is generally weird, or I just don’t go. My family’s tendencies towards the animal productatoriums of the Darden family of restaurants tend to be the dagger. For whatever reason, it’s easier for me to tell people I’ve just met I am a vegan, whereas the longer I’ve known people, the harder it is.  I’m confident explaining what I am, but I’m a little hesitant when explaining why I’ve changed. Is it health reasons? My family has more cancer than a zodiac crab fishery. Is it to give Gaia a big ol’ hug? Sure Whoopi, I know those cartoons were horrible and I forgive you, mostly because James Coburn voiced Looten Plunder.. hmm all the EcoVillans were awesome. Cut down on pointless animal torture? Sure, why not. On a more fundamental level, why does my decision need justification? People do dumber shit all the time and nobody bats an eye.

There’s a certain amount of conflict between the two sides of my attitude towards food.  Foodies pride themselves on experiencing the new: preparations, foods, what have you. Vegans eliminate whole groups of food, whether it’s for ethical, environmental, health, or just because they feel like it. No meat. No dairy. No eggs. No honey in many cases. Many people have a tendency to be jackasses to vegans, and I have yet to understand why. Is it resentment towards what’s seen as a holier-than-thou attitude? Is it an extension of the “Annoying People From New Jersey” phenomenon? (10% really are annoying and give the other 90% a bad name) Will there inevitably be animal products in something that I eat? Yes. Do I do my best (check origin of enzymes, mono and diglycerides, blah blah) yeah. Do most places use bone char to “refine” sugar or gelatin in there somewhere? (Yeah that’s right. I went Penny Arcade for that one) Probably. But I can do my best not to eat it. And I guess another question I don’t really understand is, why is everybody else ok with this – is it a “use the whole buffalo” kind of thing?

At their heart, both movements revolve around a reflection as to what food is and where it comes from.  Sustainability, quality of product, seasonality, exploration of food and culture. Inserting a “think” step into the whole cooking process is not a bad thing.

Some randomly collected tangential thoughts on my transition to veganism.  I still own 3 pairs of leather shoes, a leather belt, and a leather wallet. I bought these before I went vegan, and aside from not being too thrilled with their collective performance (shoes are doing ok) I still use them, and will replace them with better performing, non-animal materials as they give out. I’m still wrestling with people’s attitudes towards animal testing (cosmetics – it doesn’t make sense, lab testing – mostly doesn’t make sense and needs stronger thought and review) I saw a shirt with a cartoon cow on it that read “There’s no such thing as Mad Tofu Disease” and while it was a little out of my price range considering it was made from organic cotton, harvested at night by a virgin during a full moon, etc – I’m thinking I might spring for it as it entertains me.  Veganism makes sense but the macrobiotic and raw food ideas strike me as bat shit crazy. I am interested in vertical farms and don’t see how long-term space exploration can be done while eating meat. I’m down with Norman Borlaug, but still think Monsanto is kind of shady.

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Posted in Food
3 comments on “Vegan.
  1. angryscholar says:

    Yes, it’s the “holier-than-thou” attitude that many vegans project to which people react so negatively. You choose not to talk about it, which is the ideal solution: not talking about it means you can’t be disparaging (deliberately or not) of non-vegans’ food choices. I’m not saying that you would be, but look at it this way: if someone DOES ask you why you’re vegan, and you say, “Because I disapprove of animal torture,” you’re tacitly criticizing people who continue to eat meat. (I use the pronoun “you” advisedly). It’s like politics or religion or anything else, really: your choices necessarily mean you disagree with someone else’s choices, and people hate that.

  2. vigorousbog says:

    “You choose not to talk about it, which is the ideal solution”

    This troubles me.

    I feel like there’s a lot to discuss in what I wrote, but whether it was your intention or not, your reply came across as “sit down and shut up”

    This post was about my discomfort sharing my veganism with my family, friends, and coworkers. I was exploring why I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and that my credibility was damaged. This continues to be a challenge in my life that actively makes me sad.

    I disagree with a lot and while there is nothing tacit in my criticism, I’m curious as to why people think and eat the way they do and why there is such a violect reaction to what my digestive system does.

    Veganism to me is a method of conscientious objection. The only actions I have control over are my own. My dollars are votes; social pressure is my only influence.

    Basically I was writing this as a way to come to terms with my cowardice. I was afraid of ridicule and worn down by institutionalized inconvenience. Not exactly the best two reasons for questioning what you think is right.

  3. angryscholar says:

    If I came across that way, I wasn’t saying it right. What I was trying to say was not that I believe you should “sit down and shut up”. Rather–as several of my own recent posts likewise express–the sad fact is that the WORLD wants you to sit down and shut up. From the perspective of average people on the street, sitting down and shutting up is infinitely better than upsetting the status quo. I’m not endorsing this perspective. Quite the opposite. But I express my honest opinions all the time, and no good ever comes of it.

    I would never advocate that you change your lifestyle based on the stupidity and pissiness of the general public. But the fact is, again, that that public simply does not want to hear about it. Calling your dietary choices “conscientious objection” implies that people making different choices are complicit in something evil. While that may or may not be true, those people react in a predictably negative way to that characterization.

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