It was 2006. I had recently gone vegan. I was in a workshop. We were asked to choose an area in which we were experts. I was at a loss. There were so many issues I cared for passionately. But nothing I was an expert in.
I was last to announce my area of expertise. No one had mentioned veganism. The animals needed me to say it. So I did. I blurted it out: “I’m an expert in veganism.”
That statement literally changed my life.
But the moment I said it I felt like a fraud. I knew a lot about veganism but I knew enough to know there were lots of things I didn’t know. I wasn’t sure I was vegan enough.
During a break, a woman came up to me and said she was vegan too. Then she started eating a bagel. I was sure the bagel had L cysteine in it. I thought to myself “she’s not a real vegan.”
Later that day I recounted the experience to a vegan friend who responded “Plain bagel? That’s vegan enough.” And from then on I embraced the concept of “vegan enough.”
What is vegan enough?
Vegan enough is the idea that being vegan is about avoiding the biggies (meat, dairy, and eggs) and not sweating the small stuff (trace ingredients). The small stuff doesn’t really matter in the big picture. Avoid it if you want; don’t avoid it if you don’t want. If you can’t even see it under a microscope, it’s is not a big deal. Literally.
Vegan enough is about being vegan conspicuously enough to make a significant change in the world. It’s about being vegan enough to influence enough nonvegans to go vegan. When we do that, we won’t have to worry about being vegan enough because enough of the world will be vegan that being vegan will be the mainstream.