WARNING - This post might not be of your liking if you are a pure Vegan for Ethics.
A few days ago, I discovered Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's podcast. And the first audio I have been listening to was about the distinction between Vegan for Health and Vegan for Ethics. Which is funny because, on the same day, I discussed my newly diet choices with a new acquaintance. You can listen to the podcast I am referring to here.
I liked and disliked what I heard, I agreed and disagreed with what I heard, but most of all it left me quite confused and unsatisfied -which is why I am sharing my terribly minimalist thoughts with you.
First of all, what is being Vegan ?
To me, it simply means not to eat and drink anything that contains animal products. In other words, it's a dairy-free meat-free diet. WHATEVER YOUR REASONS ARE. But, because we live in a society where we have to answer for every single action we take, people make a distinction between Vegan for Health and Vegan for Ethics. Personally, I am tired of justifying myself for my actions, especially when there is no real need for it. I do not think what I am doing is wrong. I do not think I need to be judged for my diet. And yet, I probably am.
When I started my vegan cleanse a month back -which gave birth to this blog, my only purpose was health. And today, I still feel like I did it for the same reason, even if I am learning more and more about veganism. Nowadays, I try to keep my diet dairy-free and meat-free because I noticed a difference while doing my cleanse: I was more energetic; my skin looked healthier -I have been struggling with skin problems since almost a year now for some mysterious reasons; and I was just feeling generally happier. Plus, it opened up a larger window upon the cooking world.
So yes, I am following a vegan path because I like the way I feel when I don't gulp down dairy and meat. Does it mean I am not compassionate ? Hell no !
I probably love animals as much as every pure vegan person in the world. I absolutely hate reading about animals being abandoned/tortured/hurt/killed and it makes me sick to think that some people do take pleasure in harming animals. Really. But yes, I sometimes do eat dairy and meat. And I enjoy it. I am not going to lie, because it would be ridiculous and against my will. I don't feel any shame when saying that, once in a while, I enjoy a piece of cheese or meat without crying. And I am very respectful of people who are able to quit those products from day one without failure. Unfortunately, I am not that way. And I am not sorry. Should I be called inhuman ? You can judge me, it won't change me.
My big weakness is cheese. I quit milk no problem -I am now only drinking almond milk but I will not get mad if someone pours a bit of cow milk in my coffee by accident. I was never big on yogurt. I can substitute cream or forget about it easily. I discovered delicious vegan ice creams. I now only use vegan butter. But cheese, I am having a hard time to let go of... I am French, it might explain it. Cheese is for us what maple syrup is for Canadians. Saying no to cheese is like a sacrilege to my French heart. As if I was spitting on my own mother. Would you spit on your mother without hesitation ? Yeah, that's what I thought... I am thinking of alternatives though, which will be the object of a future post.
As for the meat, I have never been a huge fan. Nevertheless, there are things I do enjoy and they involve the use of meat. I am thinking of saucisson, pâté, foie gras but also chicken, beefsteak, and more. Yes, that's quite a lot when I think of it. But I have been trying my best not to eat any. I use the verb try because I have not succeeded much. The majority of my meals are meat-free. The only infringement I have made lately might be the worst of all: foie gras. My parents sent me some from France for Christmas and I can't simply forget about it. I could if I was Vegan for Ethics, which I am not. But I repeat, it does NOT make me a monster.
In short, I am trying my best to have a dairy-free meat-free life style. If I am doing it for health reasons, I am nevertheless very happy not to contribute to animals torture. However, I will not freak out if I am swallowing something made of animal products. I will not feel guilty. I will not hate myself. And I will not judge myself either.
To sum up my thoughts, since time immemorial, humans have been consuming animal products. I am not saying because it has been done for decades it is a good thing. And I am also very aware that our use of animal products has changed considerably in the way of killing the animals. Notwithstanding, I do believe that humans eating animals is part of the food chain. The end.