When someone asks me if I am a vegan, I very often have difficulty to answer a direct yes , as the word Vegan is so full of preconceptions.
Most people imagine vegans as young rebel, anarchist, barely stepped out of their teenager years of denial , angry about everything with a ”no ” attitude for establishment and everything traditional.
They imagine a peta activist , an excessive animal lover or even a member of an almost sectarian movement. Rarely they will look at you as a citizen with a different sense of morality, responsibility or a strong ethic. For the one people that show interest in the subject , I often have to deal with the ”should ” or shouldn’t do/ eat/ wear/ behave.
Even though it is existing a line of conduit that qualified veganism,( not eating animal products of course , but also refraining from wearing leather, furs, wool and silk , boycotting non food animal byproducts or product that are tested on animal , not abusing animal for labor , or entertainment ) I am quite against the idea of a sense of strict and rigid rules.
Veganism is a choice, nobody have never been force to veganism, exemption maybe made for some health conditions.
Whatever the reasons that pushed people to becoming vegans,( ethical reasons, spiritual reasons, ecological reasons, health reasons, psychological reasons, or even sentimental reasons, ( many people ”turned vegan” after entering in a relationship with a vegan partner), they all draw a line where they will fill comfortable with their vegan life style and nobody should judge the quality of their commitment to the vegan ethic.
A person choosing a vegan life style consciously or unconsciously embodied an alternative and is therefor ambassador of a message. Each vegan is a question mark,no matter how he or she lives his choice.
If I could give a qualification to what should be a good vegan though , I will say that a good vegan is a happy vegan, no matter his degrees of commitment.
So what is a happy vegan ? A person that did not suffer from his choice , that is still enjoying life ‘s pleasures, food, social gathering, that is comfortable with his commitment , that inspire his surrounding rather than create a sense of distance and struggle, fight , frustration, a sense of painful devotion.A person that do not judge or draw a line between himself and others because of his personal choices.
I personally have adopted a certain flexibility and adaptability in my vegan lifestyle, I admit that I allow myself to test and appreciate food that contain a certain amount of eggs or dairy sometimes, when I consider this food to be of exceptional quality , of an unique opportunity or even just because the moment in a whole is perfect , and it makes sense to indulge.
Since I have accepted that such moment may occurs some times to times and that I should be happy to enjoy it without feeling like a failure in my ethic line, I am the most comfortable and know that I will never grow tired of the vegan life style.
To the eyes of a purist I should maybe not be considered as a vegan anymore, perhaps just as an almost vegan or a vegan ”sous product” maybe just a vegetarian. Who cares ? Not me
Talking about this flexibility to my non vegan friends , they often get more tempted .They often react with a lot more welcoming attitude and even often promise to give the change a chance for a short period. They understood they are free to live and adapt the diet to there will. They understand that they can limit there consummation from animal product for most of there meal but please themselves sometimes for a fantasy of cheese or other ”forbidden” food, without complex and guilt, but with the feeling of exclusivity and responsibility and then go collecting the best product available ( organic, local , fair-trade, or made by the best producer, by a loved one, or a family member ,from the baker of your childhood… you name it ) to give to this moment a complete sense and uniqueness with the only reason that it is making good sense to you and it makes you happy.
After all, the difference between following a plant base diet all the time or 99% of the time, is a only a psychological one.
Veganism is a choice and therefor an act of freedom, it should not become a mental jail or the source of inner conflict or rigidity.
It is a life style that help you reaffirm and reclaim a control on your power of consummation in a society of consummation.
It is a conscious choice, that is mostly justified by the values of empathy, compassion and respect of life.Let s not turning it into a dogma.
This is a path with love , so let s not forget to love and accept gentleness , softness and flexibility.
Let s be happy vegans, inspiring people, that live in a healthy , empowering, conscious and free alternative.