I know, I know. It might come as a shock to you.
I mean, I’ve built this whole blog around being a Chubby Vegan Mom.
It’s insane, right?
What am I going to be now? The Chubby Mom? It just doesn’t have the same ring to it …
Perhaps I should explain.
I’m not going to start eating meat again. I’m not going to start consuming dairy again. I’m not going to wear leather, go to the circus or use make-up that’s been tested on or made from animals.
In fact, I’m actually not changing anything about my lifestyle at all.
The problem is, I don’t want to be a «vegan» anymore.
This post is hard for me to write. It’s confusing and it’s been something I’ve been sitting on for a while. I’ve perused dozens of my favorite veggie bloggers and read woe-filled tales of why they gave up their vegan lifestyle, why they just don’t want people to know they’re vegan anymore, why they call themselves plant-based and it’s just, well, embarrassing, quite frankly.
You see, there are a lot of considerate, flexible, wonderful vegans out there. We virtually hold hands, sing Kumbaya and roast vegan marshmallows together. Unfortunately, though, there is another group of «vegans» out there, and they seem to be louder, more in your face than the others.
It started with a seemingly innocent email inquisition about what type of almond milk I used. When I replied back that I used whatever kind was on sale — store brand, Silk, Almond Breeze — I unleashed upon myself a hurricane of preachiness. You see, the particular person emailing me wanted to take several emails to let me know what an irresponsible vegan I was, how could I purchase from Silk when they’re owned by a subsidiary of Dean Dairy and how I was everything that was wrong with the world and blah blah blah.
Yeah, super fun.
So I started googling this type of thing and came across a hoard of blogs about how vegans who eat Oreo’s aren’t vegan because of it’s sugar or enzymes or 19 other scenarios. Someone made a comment about how if their eating Oreo’s made them only 99.9% vegan then fine, so be it. So that started a barrage of other ignorant comments about how they might as well eat a slab of meat and drink a glass of milk because their inconsideration was the same no matter what.
One poster even said «how can you be 99.9% vegan? That’s like being 99.9% pregnant. You either are or you’re not.»
Really? Being vegan or not is like being pregnant? Um NO. That’s stupid. Sorry. Pregnancy is a yes or no issue. Either a human being comes out of your vagina or doesn’t. But being vegan? Well, it’s a lot trickier than that (and thank God because there would be a lot of confused vaginas out there if veganism were that simple).
You may or may not be familiar with the sugar battle. There are commercial sugars (or ones used in sauces, baked goods, sodas etc) that are sometimes processed on bone char. Bone char is basically what it sounds like, animal bones. So while the sugar may not have these ingredients, the money you spend is going to «support» establishments that use this as a refiner.
Sigh. BIG sigh.
You guys caught me. I’ve been living this second life where I go around being vegan 50-percent of the time, but the other 50-percent of the time I’m just guzzling pounds and pounds of sugar that I KNOW was made on bone char. Sometimes, I even sprinkle a little bit of «natural flavoring» on it just to really take in all the hidden animal ingredients I can.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m one human being. I’m one human being, who is also a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a best friend, a coach, an employee, a woman. I work 40 hours a week, I raise two children (with a fabulous husband), I give pitching lessons, I take my daughter to dance, I meal plan, I grocery shop, I cook, I clean, sometimes I bathe, sometimes I see my friends, sometimes I do crafts, sometimes I sit on the floor and hold my son and sometimes, sometimes, it’s absolutely exhausting trying to be good at so much.
So you know what? When I’m starving and I want something to eat and I’m too damn lazy to cook it, I’ll get some take out. I’ll get some seitan buffalo wings from a bar that is made with hot sauce that contains sugar that God knows where it was processed.
If that makes me 1% less vegan, then I’ll change my name to Chubby Vegan Mom (99% of the time). Seriously vegans. Get your head out of your asses. Step up off your high horse and quit trying to «catch» other vegans doing bad things. Do I go out of my way to find sugar processed on bone char? No, no I don’t. Do I source every grain of sugar that enters my body if I’m out an about, no, no I don’t.
Some of you might think what’s the point then? If you’re willing to overlook sugar, why not overlook dairy and fish and chicken? Here’s the thing. Being vegan isn’t a science. It’s not perfect, no matter how many of you *want* it to be.
I shop in a grocery store that sells meat and dairy. I purchase items from manufacturers that also produce non-vegan items because we don’t live in a perfect vegan world. You want to beat me over the head because I «support» brands that aren’t 100-percent vegan? Let me ask you where you purchased the shirt you’re wearing. Or the underwear. Or the sheets on your bed. Hopefully it was from a vegan retailer. And it was made by a vegan worker. And it was delivered by a vegan delivery boy on a bike. To your house, which is made of all vegan materials and was built by vegans.
Oh, wait, that’s too hard? You mean, I’m a jerk for giving my kids some vaccines or for eating some sugar that may or may not have been processed in a facility with animal products, but you driving a car, working for or living in a home that isn’t 100-percent vegan is OK? I’m afraid when it comes down to it, we’re all just pots calling the kettles black. Because, what? It’s easier to crap on me about sugar and it’s «too hard» to find a vegan house and job?
To me, being cruelty-free means doing the least harm you can. But you know what? Being those 19 million other things in life (like a mom and a wife and a friend) also necessitates that I don’t have all day to think about sugar. I don’t have the money to purchase all organic, made from hugs and kisses sugar all the time. Is it something I strive to do? Absolutely. Is it something that happens every minute of every day? No.
And if you want me to apologize for that, fine. I’m sorry. I’m not perfect. If you want to «take away» my vegan card, fine, go ahead.
Just remember this. YOU’RE the reason people think vegans are assholes. Those of you with the holier-than-tho attitudes do MORE harm to our cause than those of us who have some shitty sauce with sugar in it every now and then. You might not agree with me, but I’m right. My husband and I try our hardest to be nonjudgmental when it comes to food choices. If you want to eat meat, then that’s your right. But if you ask us why we’re vegan, we’ll tell you. And when we tell you, we’ll probably give you a delicious vegan cupcake to soak on those thoughts with. And by using this kind of attitude, this kind of approach, we have friends in our lives who went full-on vegan, ones who eat vegan when they’re out and about with us, ones who bring vegan food to our gatherings because they were excited to try their hand at it and ones who have adopted meatless Mondays simply to try and be healthier.
Now tell me again how your preachy, I’m-better-than-you-and-all-the-other-vegans attitude has fared for you so far?
Remember that old saying about the flies, honey and the vinegar? Well, it’s true in this case too.
You attract more flies with fake honey than you do with vinegar, even if my fake «vegan» honey has questionable sugar and your vinegar is made from perfect, vegan air.
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