When I meet new people, there’s always a point where I end up having to explain my diet choice.
In order to test out the reaction, I usually mention how I can’t do dairy because it gives me an upset stomach. I used to be able to process it but since it’s been years since I’ve eaten it regularly, my tummy no longer likes it. Most people react quite well to this.
Mentioning you don’t eat meat also comes down quite easily since most people will understand why some people don’t like to eat dead animal flesh.
Where it creates confusion is when you add to this that you don’t eat eggs or honey.
That being said, I’ve made exceptions in the past, especially when I go to a friend’s place and they have cooked for me. Forgetting about the eggs, cheese or honey. Not all vegans do that, and usually I end up asking myself what I value more, my friendship, or the trace of animal product that can be in the meal. I will usually mention it though so that next time they’ll be aware or I’ll offer to be the one cooking.
But what do you eat?
Just like my Muslim friends during Ramadan which get asked the same question over and over again: not even water?
The question that always comes up for vegans is: but what do you eat?
If you look at me, you’ll see that I’m clearly not starving. And I’ve never eaten as varied as since I became a vegan. I like to experiment with new flavours and ingredients. I get inspired in my cooking by Indian and Vietnamese food a lot because I love the spice mix they use. I simply adapt some of the recipes.
And with all the faux-meat products out there, it’s easier than ever to eat veganised versions of what I used to eat like paté chinois, any recipe with mince meat, sausages, etc. There’s even some veganised chicken nuggets and mozzarella! So when I get a craving for comfort food, I know I can easily find it.
Not everything vegan is healthy though. Cakes and cookies are easily made vegan, so are pancakes and ice cream. Chips are vegan half the time, even the shrimp flavour ones (don’t ask what’s actually in there!). And my classic go-to for on the road unhealthy snack, oreos, are vegan. Once again, far from healthy, but still accessible to someone who decided to cut animal products from their diet.
It’s a personal choice
Everyone’s got their own personal reasons for becoming a vegan. Maybe you care about animals and see that there’s not much difference in killing an animal for its meat, or having it suffer in horrible conditions for its milk.
It can be for compassionate reasons: I love animals just as much as I love humans. Which is why I try my best to help them all whenever I can, not eating animals and volunteering with vulnerable humans.
If I can feed myself without hurting anyone or any animal, why wouldn’t I?
Some people also chose to become vegan for environmental reasons. There’s no need to keep polluting that much to feed ourselves. We can feed a lot more people with the same about of food it takes to feed cows.
Maybe it feels hypocritical to be okay eating meat or milk coming from cows, pigs, goats, but not from dogs and cats.
The reasons for becoming vegan are numerous and different for each individual.
To me it comes down to a very simple sentence: If I can feed myself without hurting anyone or any animal, why wouldn’t I?
I’m not the preachy kind of vegan because I know it needs to be a personal decision. You can’t force someone to think like you. And I don’t want to be the one always showing disgusting videos. I’ve seen them. It helped me understand what was going on. And if you want to learn about how meat is produced, you can easily Google it. And if you want to see it, there’s plenty of great non-gruesome videos on YouTube.
If you want to educate yourself, the information is out there. It’s not my place to try to convince anyone to do anything they are not ready for. That being said, if you are interested to know how easy it is to feed yourself without animal products, I’d be more than happy to cook dinner for you! And if you are nice enough, I might even share my vegan ice cream!