head in hands

Mark Bittman has a new cookbook out. You probably know his last tome, Vegan Before 6, and plenty of us had to point out that eating plants before six and being vegan were not the same thing.

He recently told Yahoo! Food:

“I’m not a vegan and I’m not a believer in veganism.” In fact, he finds the philosophy of eating both “less pleasurable” and “unnecessary.”

Well, as long as we all agree you aren’t vegan, Mark, maybe you can stop capitalizing on a philosophy you don’t believe in.

I know I’ve talked about defining veganism a lot around here, but it’s a topic that needs talking about. Let me be clear: I am certainly not suggesting that if you aren’t vegan, you can’t discuss it. That would be like when the anchor on FOX News told Reza Aslan he couldn’t write about Jesus because he was Muslim. It’s important that vegans and non-vegans discuss the philosophy of veganism. What I find disingenuous is the ever-increasing distillation of a philosophy and practice into a diet, a weight-loss gimmick, a trend, or a way to be more like Beyoncé or Jennifer Lopez.

I will confess (though it’s never been a secret), I made my way to ethical veganism by way of Skinny Bitch. Health reeled me in, profanity (the book’s) held my interest, but it became more than that and it did so quickly. What of those who come to veganism via VB6? What if they listen to the author telling them that veganism, in its truest form, is unnecessary? How does that help animals?

Perhaps it’s “less pleasurable” for me to tell you to stop cheering the non-victories, but think of the amount of pleasure the animals eaten at any time of day, after six or not, experience. It’s not much, if any. That’s what matters.

Photo credit: Jenny Kaczorowski via Flickr