Who are you?
My name’s Kip, or Catherine if you prefer, and I’m an American living about 30 miles South of London (the one in England, not Canada). If you want to read all about me, you can read all about me here.
Why vegan, not vegetarian?
Ah, the million dollar question. For 18 years I practiced a vegetarian lifestyle, but found myself using less and less dairy in my daily meals toward the end of that timespan. I told myself it was for health reasons, because I knew dairy would never be good for me.
Over the summer of 2009 I broke down and realised that based on my own personal convictions, I was in denial and vegetarianism wasn’t enough for me. I don’t mean that as a value judgment on others’ diets, but as an explanation of why I’ve personally shifted from vegetarian to vegan. Vegetarianism directly supports animal suffering and death, and that realisation was the final straw in my choice to become vegan.
The current world issues are those of the environment, extreme poverty, civil rights, health. These are today’s concerns, and all of them are negatively impacted to extreme levels by the animal industry. I could no longer support such an industry because I realised those issues mean more to me than slapping a “save the planet” bumper sticker on my car.
So do you hate meat eaters?
Dude, I’m not one of those vegans. Yeah, it makes me uncomfortable and yes I think it’s wrong, but we pass value driven judgements on people every day. That’s life. But if we cut off communication with people who believe different than ourselves, we’d all be alone. Besides, I have more success with my cause by being kind and passing along facts without evangelism. I know I don’t like when someone preaches to me, so I’m going to assume you feel the same way.
Don’t you miss having food that has flavour?
This is one of the age-old myths of veganism. I eat a greater variety of food and incorporate more unique flavours into my meals than any omnivore I know. That’s not to say there’s more to eat if you cut out meat and dairy because common sense says the opposite is true; what I’m saying is when you make a decision requiring a change in diet you quickly try a whole lot of new things. Change means shifting from usual habits, and in this case that shift inevitably leads to diversifying your entire approach to food.
I’ve also been asked before, “doesn’t it all taste the same?” Without meaning to cause offense, if you’re genuinely asking that question then I’d like to challenge you to re-evaluate your own diet. If you think all vegetables taste the same, all spices, all plant-based foods, then something isn’t right with what’s on your plate.
Is it really possible to be vegan?
The short answer? No. Unless you’re completely self-sufficient and have never relied on anything outside your own mind and hands, you’ll never know what you are and aren’t supporting behind the scenes. That scenario is impossible in this day, so the best we can do is our best. If you had a room of 10,000 vegans, you’d have 10,000 different opinions. Should I throw away my old leather shoes- is waste worse? Should I abstain from honey too? What about that wool coat? Is the glue in my shoes synthetic?
I do what I think is best, my best, making choices which align my values with my actions.
Yo! I’ve got a question you didn’t answer!
Feel free to contact me and I’ll try my hardest to answer, or pass along any resources I think may be of use.