Friday, February 25, 2011

My Vegan Magnum Opus

Just because...

I remember one of the first times I heard about veganism; I was about 16 and one of my friends had a brother that was vegan. I remember thinking it was so strict and had so many “rules.”

My friend described how he wouldn’t drink “Fruitopia” (remember that?) because the red dye was made up of crushed beetles.Horrifying!

This story has always stuck with me. For some reason, I think its things like this that delayed my inevitable choice to be vegan. I don’t know if I was scared of the vegan police or if I just was too afraid of messing up and eating Blue Ketoalanine 47 in a margarita which could be made of pony tears. (clearly I made that up)

I have been thinking about this a lot recently. I love being vegan. I love living cruelty free and choosing compassion every day. I don’t see my life any different. But sometimes there are things that are tough. Who knew that so much commercial bread has L-Cysteine in it which can be made of duck feathers? Stearic acid can be made from pigs’ stomach lining. Commercial white sugar is commonly whitened using filters made of bone char.

It’s insane that all of this stuff exists. Do most people know? No. Do most people care? Sadly, no.  But if we preach worry about every single obscure thing in the products consumed on a daily basis I think it takes away from our message.

Our message (in my opinion) is to treat animals with the same love and respect that we expect for ourselves. That means don’t eat them. That means don’t steal from them. That means don’t use their hard work for your benefit.

But when we get nasty with servers at a restaurant or our friends for not knowing that their pita bread isn’t vegan, it hurts our message. I don’t think it does us any favors.

Compassion = love for everyone
Positivity gets us heard. No one will ever listen to a jerk.

So I am not and would never advocate purchasing products that you know have animal products in them, even obscure ones. Your wallet speaks louder than anything else you do.

But I am advocating for all of us to remember that simply making the choice to not eat animals saves so many lives every year. That is the message that people can hear. Spreading this message and living your life cruelty free is what is the most important. 

Sometimes we all just have something to say. 

I would love to know....what do you think?

Special thanks to Happy Cow for providing the comprehensive list of products derived from an animal source and to PETA for sharing some of these concerns. 


  1. I love your message! And it is so true. I delayed making the leap from vegetarian to vegan because I didn't want to be ridiculed for eating an obscure animal product that I didn't even know existed. Now that I've been vegan for two years I've realized it is enough to simply do my best. Like everything else worth while in life being vegan takes work, patience and practice. The longer you do it, the better you get at it. :-)

  2. Awesome post. Well said! I've only been vegan for a month, and there's no looking back for me.

  3. Thanks @Chell & @Jason!

    I totally agree... the longer you work at it, the easier it gets. :)

  4. Amen! I'm vegan because it makes me feel good to make a difference. If someone asks or criticizes...I tell them that I'm vegan, not perfect!
    If you haven't already..."Veganist" by Kathy Freston is an excellent read! She discusses how not to be a "holier-than-thou" vegan.
    Great post!! =)

  5. Agree completely! Years ago, I thought vegans were crazy (even though I've always been a big animal lover) and couldn't imagine what they ate. Obviously I get it now, but so few other people do. I realize that what we eat is a very personal decision, and so I try not to judge others...I also know that the journey to veganism can take years, like it did for me. So I'm very positive and upbeat about my vegan lifestyle, and I think people really get that. When I gush about how delicious my vegan food tastes, people can see I'm really excited about it and get curious and want to try what I'm eating, which I think is much more effective than preaching.


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