By Published On: 8 July 2014602 words3.1 min read

vegan world

I read the recent news that Carrie from Carrie on Vegan has begun incorporating animals back into her diet due to ongoing health issues. I was disappointed.

Mind you, this was not the same disappointment I felt when Alex Jamieson stopped being vegan because she had cravings. I felt and feel that Carrie is genuine in her compassion for animals. My disappointment was in the reminder that veganism is not a cure all, much as we want it to be.

I came to veganism through health. This may be surprising to those who know what I eat each day (I’m more processed than I should be), however my bloodwork as of late has been joy inducing in my doctor, so there’s that. But Carrie had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which I do. She then had cancer and a thyroidectomy. Neither was caused by her veganism, but it’s a reminder that we are all very much mortal and that veganism does not give us super powers, contrary to what Scott Pilgrim vs. the World would have us believe.

As is often the case when a member of the vegan community defects, Carrie received backlash from some of her readers. In my opinion, this situation quickly devolved. What I saw happen has happened in other instances of former vegans announcing their decision to incorporate animals back into their diets: negative comments, suggestions that she should have faded into obscurity rather than risk the lives of other animals by admitting her “defection,” and then, of course, the opposing camp boxing vegans into a group of bitter, mean, cruel people who don’t know how to practice the compassion they preach.

I am grateful each day that I can live a vegan life to the best of my ability. In a non-vegan world, this means that yes, I take medicine that was tested on animals and use products with animal byproducts (my laptop, my car). It’s not ideal, but it’s how I live a philosophy I subscribe to within the constraints of a society that doesn’t. It terrifies me that I could some day find myself in a position requiring that I eat animals. What if, after exhausting all resources, I had to make that choice?

We do not live in a perfect world. Many of us feed our companion animals other animals, because they require it. We drive on roads paved with byproducts and our food production kills animals who live in crops.

We are not perfect beings. I struggle to be compassionate with other humans, and with myself. I have a hard time reconciling the fact that my kind, bright, and good-hearted friends and family love dogs and eat cows. I will admit to wanting to be biting and sarcastic when faced with the paradox that is the society we live in – vegan or not.

We should talk about the imperfections we face and possess. Wouldn’t that be a greater use of our time than reporting every vegan cupcake a celebrity eats? Wouldn’t that be of more benefit than mud-slinging, stereotyping, and watering down the word “vegan” because others are trying to make it a negative one?

There are very real issues that the vegan community should be discussing. I’m tired of hearing that some of us are militant, rigid, unwelcoming, impossible. Let’s stop talking about where Milky Way bars fit into veganism (they don’t). Let’s not take our toys and go home when the game gets tough. Let’s get down to the business of real dilemmas and circumstances, and how we navigate them until we have a vegan world.

Photo credit: Alex Abian via Flickr

By Published On: 8 July 2014602 words3.1 min read

vegan world

I read the recent news that Carrie from Carrie on Vegan has begun incorporating animals back into her diet due to ongoing health issues. I was disappointed.

Mind you, this was not the same disappointment I felt when Alex Jamieson stopped being vegan because she had cravings. I felt and feel that Carrie is genuine in her compassion for animals. My disappointment was in the reminder that veganism is not a cure all, much as we want it to be.

I came to veganism through health. This may be surprising to those who know what I eat each day (I’m more processed than I should be), however my bloodwork as of late has been joy inducing in my doctor, so there’s that. But Carrie had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which I do. She then had cancer and a thyroidectomy. Neither was caused by her veganism, but it’s a reminder that we are all very much mortal and that veganism does not give us super powers, contrary to what Scott Pilgrim vs. the World would have us believe.

As is often the case when a member of the vegan community defects, Carrie received backlash from some of her readers. In my opinion, this situation quickly devolved. What I saw happen has happened in other instances of former vegans announcing their decision to incorporate animals back into their diets: negative comments, suggestions that she should have faded into obscurity rather than risk the lives of other animals by admitting her “defection,” and then, of course, the opposing camp boxing vegans into a group of bitter, mean, cruel people who don’t know how to practice the compassion they preach.

I am grateful each day that I can live a vegan life to the best of my ability. In a non-vegan world, this means that yes, I take medicine that was tested on animals and use products with animal byproducts (my laptop, my car). It’s not ideal, but it’s how I live a philosophy I subscribe to within the constraints of a society that doesn’t. It terrifies me that I could some day find myself in a position requiring that I eat animals. What if, after exhausting all resources, I had to make that choice?

We do not live in a perfect world. Many of us feed our companion animals other animals, because they require it. We drive on roads paved with byproducts and our food production kills animals who live in crops.

We are not perfect beings. I struggle to be compassionate with other humans, and with myself. I have a hard time reconciling the fact that my kind, bright, and good-hearted friends and family love dogs and eat cows. I will admit to wanting to be biting and sarcastic when faced with the paradox that is the society we live in – vegan or not.

We should talk about the imperfections we face and possess. Wouldn’t that be a greater use of our time than reporting every vegan cupcake a celebrity eats? Wouldn’t that be of more benefit than mud-slinging, stereotyping, and watering down the word “vegan” because others are trying to make it a negative one?

There are very real issues that the vegan community should be discussing. I’m tired of hearing that some of us are militant, rigid, unwelcoming, impossible. Let’s stop talking about where Milky Way bars fit into veganism (they don’t). Let’s not take our toys and go home when the game gets tough. Let’s get down to the business of real dilemmas and circumstances, and how we navigate them until we have a vegan world.

Photo credit: Alex Abian via Flickr

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  1. Les March 28, 2017 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Veganism isn’t about health or diet. You can eat only plant based foods and wear shoes,belts, and hats made of leather. You wouldn’t be vegan.

  2. Daria Zeoli July 12, 2014 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    Thanks for making this point, Beth. I think it’s sad that so many health professionals are not knowledgeable when it comes to diet. Even medical doctors only get so many hours of nutrition education in their schooling. I hope that, as our numbers grow, more people enter these fields with an open mind and that it’s easier to find support for a vegan diet in the places one would expect (such as nutrition).

    • Betty January 30, 2015 at 3:41 pm - Reply

      All it takes is some research and self education. It’s a shame that the medical community is so against changing their minds. But that’s because of the indoctrination done to docs and nurses in med school and by the meat/dairy industry tactics. Health professionals are much more indoctrinated than the population at large.

      • Daria Zeoli February 1, 2015 at 12:51 pm - Reply

        That’s a scary thought, because the population at large is severely indoctrinated.

        • Betty February 1, 2015 at 4:56 pm - Reply

          I agree! It’s very scary, especially when you are reliant upon those medical professionals to help you. Because of that, I have decided against using traditional eastern or western medicine and rely on only medicine to treat infection related illness. Do you know that the third leading cause of death in the US is medical care?

  3. Tom Forde July 8, 2014 at 11:37 am - Reply

    The Vegan Journey rides along a compassionate road. This road drives through a bumpy,twisty, road-kill laden world that’s non-Vegan. It’s dissappointing to see such an educated Vegan (Carrie) twist off the road of compassion, by the temptation of the world. I feel for her, because finding her way back to the compassionate road may not be so easy…