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Friday, August 27, 2010

Vegan Does Not Equal Healthy

One of my vegan blogging pals, Danielle, inspired today's post.  You should read her post too--it's better than mine!

Vegan does not equal healthy.  It should, but really, in today's world of vegetarian junk food, the two are not synonymous. This knowledge shocks people--can't tell you how many individuals have stared, mouth-agape, at me upon hearing this information.  But it is true.  I don't want to make waves, but the roots of Veganism did not begin with weight loss.  Although, sometimes that is a fortunate by-product!  :)

Being vegan is about compassion for the animals. I am glad there are so many health-concerned men and women who call themselves vegans.  I only wish that those who live it purely for personal health reasons, would call themselves "Complete Vegetarians", or something understandable like that. The title 'Vegan' denotes a spiritual, moral code of kindness, not a fad or diet, and I believe it is important to respect that.  

What do you think?

I don't wish to offend anyone with my views.  I recognize that we are all at different points on the path of awareness.  I certainly have a lot more room to grow.  And it must be said that the pursuit of good health often leads to veganism.  (That was my journey, after all.)  But learning about the animals themselves and accepting their souls to be as precious as mine, completely changed my heart.  I could never have stuck with veganism as a diet, but as a lifestyle of thoughfulness, it is as easy as breathing, for which I am deeply grateful...   

So, Vegan does not equal healthy--it represents infinitely more!  And even if the whole world disagrees with my choice, I am not afraid to stand alone, for I love being vegan!!  

13 comments:

Rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rose said...

I agree...veganism is a whole lifestyle and philosophy. The choices vegans make reach far beyond the dinner table, and these choices are motivated by respect and compassion for other living creatures.

Those who eat a plant-based diet only for health and/or do not adhere to an overall life philosophy that strives to avoid/not contribute to animal exploitation are not truly vegan.

Having said that though, this isn't really too much of an issue for me personally. The way I see it, even if they don't adopt an entirely vegan lifestyle...the more people who don't eat animal products the better...hopefully the rest will come eventually. We all have to start somewhere.

That's just my two cents. :)

The Voracious Vegan said...

When people here I'm vegan they think all I eat is salads and seeds! How wrong they are! I love my junk food and decadent treats. And I love this post, well said.

JessyS said...

Good point. Saying you are vegan for health doesn't scan...you can say that you don't eat any animal ingredients for health, but what part about not wearing a leather belt or not wearing a wool sweater is "for your health"? (Unless you are allergic of course).

If a person follows the principles of veganism: not partake in or contribute to animal exploitation to the greatest degree possible, then that person can call themselves vegan...it doesn't matter whether they got their start for health reasons or compassion reasons.

But if a person is going to call themselves a vegan, they should at least fit the description to a reasonable degree. Namely, they have to do more than not just eat animal products for the health advantages.

I can't call my self a chess player just because I have a game of chess in my closet...I have to take the game out and play it in order to call myself one...likewise if I'm going to call myself a vegan, I'm not then, going to walk around in a wool sweater or a leather belt (for example).

dreaminitvegan said...

What a nice blog Valerie.

To be vegan is a lifestyle like everyone has commented. I've always been health conscious, not wanting to have the health issues that have affected my dad and relatives. Once I decided to go vegan, to eliminate all animal products, I quickly learned about what veganism really is.
Veganism is trying to live a life that causes less harm on everyone and everything around me. Even being vegan I'm not perfect or do I point fingers at others because they don't live the same way I do. I think we show by example how happy we are as vegans and how it's made us better people.

Anonymous said...

There is clearly a difference between saying "I follow a vegan diet" and saying "I'm a vegan," so in essence, I agree with your post.
I do, however, feel that the word vegan has been misused in the media so often that only vegans know what "I'm a vegan" truly means.

I don't know if reclaiming the use of the word to its original definition (well explained here: http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm) is actually possible anymore.

Danielle said...

Thanks for linking to my blog :)

I'm taking a break from blogging for a few weeks until my life gets in order, but I'll be back in action soon!

Vegan Valerie said...

Rose,

I agree. Whatever a person's reasons, avoiding animal foods and products helps create a better world for the animals. And that's what matters most to me too.

Thank you for your comment!

Vegan Valerie said...

Voracious,

I like my junk foods too, unfortunately. I hope to make peace someday with that part of me that indulges too often. I am grateful that I also enjoy a hearty green salad!

(I will miss you as part of the vegan community.)

Vegan Valerie said...

Hi JessyS!

I hope that in the future, the definitions of "vegan" as an enlightened individual and "vegan" as a diet are better understood by the general public. They are similar, but also considerably different.

Someday everyone will understand the compassionate magnitude of the vegan lifestyle and know more than just the nutritional aspects.

Thank you for your validating comment!

Vegan Valerie said...

DreaminItVegan,

You're so right! If we are happy, healthy, strong, non-pushy, non-judgemental examples of the vegan lifestyle, we can change the world's perception of us. Of course we aren't perfect so we have to be careful about pointing fingers. We just need to focus on being an example of what veganism really means to us--compassion.

Thank you for your insight!

Vegan Valerie said...

Come back soon, Danielle!

Wendy said...

It's pretty ironic. I was a vegetarian for over 10 years for ethical reasons--still eating cheese and eggs and dairy. It wasn't until I truly came to grips with my own health issues that I became a vegan. Learning about how all of our modern diseases are basically the result of our diets and that milk is "liquid meat" made becoming a vegan all about me. Go figure!!!!