Definition of Vegan: One who consumes no animal food or dairy products and who abstains from using animal products.
As the word “Vegan” starts to make its way into mainstream society, people who are interested in this lifestyle are deciding whether they want to be labeled as a vegan or not. I know numerous vegans who love identifying themselves as such, due to the passion and love they have for what the term stands for. Other people I know refrain from mentioning it, some people hate the word and some people unaware of the lifestyle might feel it’s too “extreme.”
I believe that many people who live the lifestyle, yet refrain from calling himself or herself “vegan,” fear being judged or not being a “perfect enough” vegan, and I completely understand. Because people who call themselves vegan are all types of people, and are choosing this lifestyle for a wide variety of reasons, often we encounter people who do judge us and can make us feel like we are not good enough. The thing is, this doesn’t necessarily apply to only vegans. We get judged for everything we do, whether it’s trying to improve our lives, save the planet or help the homeless, people will always have their opinions and they might differ from what we think often making us feel like we are being judged.
I am not here to judge or to place a strict set of codes on what this lifestyle means. By following the definition of the word vegan above, I am here to help people make more vegan choices. We are all on a life journey and we will all make choices, sometimes we make ones without being fully aware of what is in the products we buy or wear or eat. We all might accidentally buy something that has hurt an animal or even other humans (think sweatshops and labor rights) but we are all here to learn and grow together. Please don’t judge others, instead let’s all be more conscious and help each other be the best people we can be.
Calling myself vegan is not so I can label myself any better, than anyone else. For me it is a tool I use so I can remind myself daily, that my choices have a greater good. Being vegan I have found a community of like-minded individuals and a lifestyle that truly encompasses my core beliefs. I am living my truth knowing that my choices make a significant impact to my health, the amazing creatures on this planet, and our home, earth.
Every day I strive to be a better me and to make a positive impact on the world through my choices.
Calling myself vegan is for me, not for anyone else. As a vegan I vow to be a more conscious consumer, to ask questions about where products are sourced and the ingredients in them to the best of my ability. Will I make mistakes and possibly purchase, use, borrow, or wear products that may have animals products in them? The truth is, that I might but I will learn and grow and make a better choice next time.
If you love what the word vegan stands for and want and want to proudly tell people you’re vegan, then go for it! For those of you who choose not to label yourself vegan that is perfectly okay as well. I understand that there are critics, negative people and “vegan police” and that it can get overwhelming if others are judging what you do. If you choose a similar lifestyle and want to explain it to others without the term vegan, other words like plant-based or conscious consumer are also great choices.
For me, it was easy to choose vegan, because I can vow never to consciously eat or consume animal or animal by-products again. I do not crave meat, I do not desire to wear leather or fur, I do not need to use shampoo that has been tested on animals. I know there is abundant amount of choices for the food, clothes and other products that are made with more compassion, and are better for me. You might not be in that place yet or maybe you never want to. I think that as long as all humans live more consciously, making more compassionate, humane choices then we can all live better lives. Be the best you, for your health, the animals and the planet.
Enjoy the Journey,