Vegan: The term “vegan” was coined in England in 1944 by Donald Watson, co-founder of the British Vegan Society. In 1960 H. Jay Dinshah started the American Vegan Society, linking the movement to the Janist and Buddhist concept of ahimsa, the avoidance of violence against living things.(source)
Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose. (as defined by the Vegan Society)
any abnormal phenomenon or product or unusual object; anomaly; aberration.
a person or animal on exhibition as an example of a strange deviation from nature. (source)
Yes, I am a Vegan Freak.
I don’t always feel like this is what I am. When I am in my peaceful home baking muffins or cookies with my kids or sitting down to a wholesome vegan dinner, I feel very content, even blissful. Life seems perfect most times almost too good to be true.
We are happy and we are healthy.
In my little world, being vegan is the norm. Fresh fruits and vegetables compliment the majority of our meals, our cupboards are stalked full of beautiful whole grains, beans and legumes, there is almond milk in the fridge and sprouted grain bread in the freezer. All of these things are my norm, but then I go out into the real world and my family and I are freaks. Complete vegan freaks.
The grocery stores are laden with animal foods. 99% of restaurants are not vegetarian or vegan and don’t even have any vegan options, except a plain salad. Nearly everything in the stores is derived from animals or uses animal products. Sadly, this is not a vegan world.
I write this today because I know that there are other vegan freaks out there reading this and you can probably relate. It is hard to be a vegan! It is hard enough being a vegan in a non-vegan world and it is even harder being a vegan mother to two (plus one growing) beautiful vegan children.
So why do we do this? Why be a vegan anyway? If you take a good look around, you are a complete freak! I often find these thoughts running through my mind especially in social situations and gatherings or at the grocery store. It is awkward and I question myself at times. Even throughout the beginning of my pregnancy I was scared about being a pregnant vegan for what people might think of me and did a little vegan backsliding. I have actually had a fair bit of criticism for the way I raise my girls and yes, it does bother me. Sometimes I feel completely hopeless and that maybe I should just try to be ‘normal’ but deep down, I know that I could never actually do that. I could never go back to living a ‘normal’ life again.
Being Vegan for me is not about food, health or weight loss. It is not even about creating delicious recipes and feeling amazing. Those are all terrific benefits of being a vegan but for me being vegan is about compassion and as the original definition intended above, ahimsa. It is about living a life conscious of my actions and doing my best to cause the least harm to others, the animals and our planet. It is about being a voice for the voiceless and teaching my children about extending love to all beings. I show them that through my example and by spending half of my time preparing nutritious, compassionate and kind meals and snacks for them daily.
We teach our children about loving pets and see cute pictures of animals in books and smile. We teach them to be gentle to animals and to love them, yet we also get them to sit down and force them to eat them everyday. We pass down the same indoctrination that we had as children, afraid to wake up and question where it is these beliefs that we hold come from. We cause abuse and death to many animals throughout our entire lives and teach them to do the same because that is what is ‘normal’. Something about that just doesn’t make any sense to me and I don’t believe that it ever will.
Being vegan you have to learn how to cook and bake and you don’t have many of the conveniences that non-vegans have in this world. You have to read labels (a lot of labels), answer many questions and won’t have many options at a restaurant. To most people, this is seen as terribly inconvenient. But where has convenience ever taken us? It seems that everything convenient nowadays is harmful to our health and the health of our planet.
To me the convenience of not being vegan does not outweigh the heaviness on my consciousness and the fact that deep down I know that there is never a reason to take a life, especially for the sake of my appetite or to fit in to a societal norm.
So what do we do when we feel different, lonely or hopeless? What do we do when we can’t seem to see any change in our world and we are just vegan freaks? What do we do when we choose the inconvenient path and give our best and it still doesn’t feel like we are making any difference?
We just keep on keeping on. We do what we know is true for ourselves and what we know in our hearts is the right thing, no matter what society says. We do what brings us peace and gives us hope for the future. And we “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world: indeed it’s the only thing that ever has”- Margaret Meade
“As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” -Pythagoras