“Veganism for the rest of us”

July 3rd, 2011

I stumbled across a blog post entitled Veganism For The Rest Of Us and I have to say it rubbed me wrong. Comments are turned off, or I would have posted my thoughts there. They seem to be addressing non-vegans who are considering taking the leap, assuring them that it’s easy to be vegan and there are plenty of delicious foods. I was with it till the following paragraph:

We don’t like vegetables, either. And we don’t live without cheese…When we go to see a baseball game, we gobble up hot dogs, fries, and sodas. After a movie, we stop and have a pizza with extra cheese…In fact, our diet resembles the menu you find at most diners, with one crucial difference: the ingredients we use to make these foods do not come from animals. They look the same, and, in most cases, taste just the same.

Emphasis added because that is a glaring non-truth right there. I will be celebrating 12 years vegan in November, and I am very happy. I have never regretted going vegan, but it was a lifestyle change, one that sometimes it required a little planning. When a person sells veganism as easy and unobtrusive, they’re lying. When I went vegan, knowing it was going to be difficult helped me be prepared for those moments that were going to be exceptionally hard. I believe that if I had expected it to be a breeze, I never would have made it through the first month. Once I was through the initial difficult transition, I’ve pretty much coasted. And I continue to planned ahead.

So, to a potential/new vegan who may be reading this, I would like to issue you the following corrections of the quoted paragraph:

You do live without cheese. There are some excellent vegan cheese substitutes. At first the substitution will be glaring, but eventually most of us can’t tell the difference anymore. In the mean time, try to appreciate it as its own food, not a sad substitute.

Maybe you will eat hot dogs at a ballgame, but not because you had a hankering and waved down the seller, it’ll be because you thought ahead and brought your own, which you took the time to prepare at home before the game.

Sure you can have a nice extra cheese pizza after a movie, provided there’s a place that sells vegan pizza locally. Most places that offer vegan pizza make it vegan by removing cheese, so if you want “cheese”, you’re going to have to call around before you go to the movie. Hopefully it’s still open when your movie gets out.

You will arrive at events to find the “vegan” entree contains eggs, the garden salad has cheese, and the tea has honey. Take it in stride, new vegan. It’s a hassle, but your life will go on, and thanks to your relatively minor sacrifice, so will the life of that cow, pig or sheep you’re not eating.

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