How do you go vegan without “getting weird”?
It’s simple, really.
Just stop eating animal products.
That’s all there is to it. Really.
“You can keep your friends, politics, and your patriotism, still watch your favorite TV shows and listen to your favorite music… you have a choice… you can choose to be radically kind, not to intentionally harm another animal for breakfast lunch or dinner ever again. These creatures have never harmed you, violated you, or taken advantage of you in any form. The least you can do is return the favor.”
But not everyone likes a simple answer. Blisstree has an article up right now bout a cute hipster blog called Vegan Housewives. The Blisstree article is titled “The Vegan Housewife Explains How To Go Vegan Without Getting Weird” and instead of actually giving helpful advice to wannabe vegans, the article goes on to chastise hard-core vegans” who “interrogate restaurants.” In the words of Kourtney Campbell “It’s a huge turnoff, not only to carnivores, but for many other vegans as well.” She interprets asking how a restaurant menu item was prepared as criticism and called behaving that way “difficult.”
Mylene at My Face Is On Fire reacted. She laments the piece’s ”unfortunate false dichotomy about vegans.” She half tongue-in-cheek writes:
“According to this piece and according to Kourtney Campbell, the idea of presenting vegans in a positive manner and as existing outside of the ‘tie-dye and dreadlocks’ stereotype–presenting them as coming in all styles–can indeed be done. In fact, the implication is that Vegan Housewives site dodges that stereotype and that in doing so becomes so cool that even those who aren’t vegan still read it. In fact, we’re told that the site’s other co-founder, Katie Charos, isn’t even vegan herself. (That’s one way to dodge vegan stereotypes, I guess!)” [...]
“Given that PETA’s Bruce Friedrich and Vegan Outreach’s Matt Ball have both chastised vegans for asking about animal ingredients in restaurants, it’s no surprise that yet another so-called vegan would follow suit in this shaming others who merely seek to inform themselves so that they can avoid animal products. Stating that restaurants will only cater to vegans if vegans loosen up about consuming animal products, though? Really?”
And while Mylene adopts a version of veganism that is a bit more strict than my own, I agree with her sentiment that the point of veganism is ”to reject animal exploitation and to avoid consuming avoidable animal products.” Mylene, for example, says she always chooses to abstain from eating vegan products that have been prepared on the same BBQ grill as animal flesh whereas there are times when I will compromise for what I consider to be the greater good. For example, I will eat at the Yard House.
See for me, when it comes to shared cookware or oil (used for both vegan and nonvegan foods), I lean towards allowing it in my diet, like Campbell does. But that’s my opinion about my diet. And my opinion has evolved over time due to my particular circumstances. That’s not my opinion about how all vegans should act. Either choice is perfectly acceptable and has plusses and minuses. For those vegans who allowed “trace ingredients” or minor cross-contamination, they can be perceived as flexible vegans who don’t intimidte wait staff or party hosts. For those who don’t allow these things, they can be perceived as logically consistent vegans who live by a firm moral code.
Ultimately, we’re really just wasting time and energy when we try to tell each other how to be vegan. Once we’ve eliminated the obvious animal products from our lives, we’re all vegans and we’re all on the same team. So let’s start acting like it and stop with the infighting!