I eat primarily a Vegan (actually, whole food plant-based) diet, but I don’t tend to call myself a Vegan. I prefer not to eat meat or dairy because I want to optimize my health. However, I also feel free to make exceptions now and then, like when I am at a Texas barbecue restaurant or visiting a new country where I want to sample a variety of local cuisines.
Why I Don’t Call Myself a Vegan
1. I became obsessed.
When I first started my whole food plant-based lifestyle, I signed up for all the Vegan communities I could find. I began feeling guilty about the environmental impact and animal suffering I had caused. My daily newsfeeds cemented my belief that that a strict Vegan life is the only way to be. Compassion for animals consumed me. The idea of eating meat sickened me, and I started having a hard time with others eating meat. I became close-minded and defensive about the subject.
I realized that I needed to look at things more holistically.
2. My social life deteriorated.
I started missing out on social events because I was Vegan. For example, my team at work rarely gets together in-person because we all work remotely. I was looking forward to an annual social event, until I discovered it was taking place at a barbecue restaurant. I felt my only choices were either to brood in the corner with a baked potato, or to not attend. I chose to stay at home while everyone else enjoyed their time together. I eventually stopped being invited to group lunches and happy hours altogether.
I also had a hard time making new friends, and I distanced myself from many of my old friends. I felt more disconnected from almost everyone I knew. I felt lonely.
3. Vegan culture is extreme.
Many Vegans make extreme conclusions, such as: If you eat animals, you must not love them. If a bird kills a worm, that is nature, but when a person hunts a deer, some Vegans call that murder.
Vegan activists sometimes go to extreme measures to get people’s attention. While I was a Vegan, I agreed with their sentiment, but I have always wished they would minimize their public displays.
4. Vegans are often proselytizing hyprocrites.
I was a hyprocrite. I considered myself “Chegan” (cheating Vegan) when I felt like eating meat or dairy. However, I never really liked meat or milk anyway. I didn’t buy non-Vegan products (e.g., leather furniture).
Most of the Vegans I had met also seemed angry, and they frequently proselytized (attempted to convert others). I usually kept my thoughts to myself, but I also felt the desire to spread the word. I was expecting non-Vegans to respect my beliefs, while I did not respect theirs.
As an Atheist, I am sensitive to religious people proselytizing. I was wrong to ever feel I had the right to impose my beliefs on others.
5. Vegans kill plants!
I used to despise the “Vegans kill plants” argument because I felt it was simply ridiculous. Then I watched the BBC documentary How Plants Communicate. I learned that plants feel pain and pleasure, just differently than animals. Do humans know enough to say with certainty that plants are not sentient beings? I questioned my declaration that I wouldn’t eat animal flesh, but that I’m fine with eating plant flesh.
Interestingly, Fruitarians (such as the late Steve Jobs) eat only fruit, nuts, and seeds (food that plants provide), so that they do not harm animals nor plants. From my research, this extreme diet cannot healthfully sustain humans long-term.
My belief is that we are all one, and that includes both animals and nature. Ideally, ALL the food I eat will have lived vibrant lives surrounded by sunshine, love, and positive energy.
6. Most Vegans Don’t Eat Healthfully
My focus on animal suffering displaced the focus on my health. After a couple of years of being Vegan, I began making unhealthy food choices. I felt fine eating a couple of slices of Vegan cake, simply because I wasn’t eating meat! Vegan products, restaurants, and food festivals were full of junk food. I ended up eating much less healthy than when I was an omnivore.
7. I am part of a complex food chain.
People, animals, and plants are all part of a complex food chain where we eat each other to survive. People who live near the water eat fish sustainably. Hunting for food can help sustain a population of animals. Many indigenous tribes have hunted and lived with a primarily meat diet for centuries. There are many types of plants that trap and eat animals, as well.
I am a part of this circle of life, and I will embrace it.
8. I want to be reasonable.
I happen to live in a society where our food sources include both animals and plants. I enjoy eating out with my carnivore family and friends.
I am thankful for the compassion and education from the Vegan community. Veganism encouraged me to be more conscious of where my food comes from. I now make more intentional choices. For example, when I do eat meat, I prefer animals raised humanely in big pastures, and choose wild-caught fish over farmed fish.
I am happy to be free from my restrictive, obsessive behavior. I apologize for my hypocrisy. Thank you all for your kindness and patience during my transitions. 🤗
Comments or questions? Please leave me a comment below.