A few days ago i came across a post in one of the vegan facebook groups i am in. One person asked a question wondering why some vegans seemed to be so anti “health vegans”, why posting about health or posting healthy meals always seemed to end up with negative comments or with backlash, but posting about chocolate brownies and vegan mac and cheese and volcano pizzas would get lots of positive comments and appreciation. The comments on the post got me thinking alot as one person claimed that there can be no such thing as a health vegan, because veganism is for the animals i.e trying to as far as is practical and possible limit your contribution to animal suffering and exploitation.
The person also commented on the fact that there can not be an environmental vegan, i.e you are vegan for the planet and environment and not so much for the sake of the animals.
In both these cases you would be vegetarian i.e eating no animal products, and not vegan, because of your reasoning to be vegan.
This got me thinking alot. First off, i think we should just forget labels in all honesty. If someone can’t go vegan but eats 98% plant based that is amazing and shouldn’t be shamed for it, or if someone eats plant based just for the sake of the environment or for their health, thats amazing and we don’t need labels. However we live in a society that wants to put us all into boxes and define and label us.
The thing about veganism and a vegan diet is that it isn’t always the healthiest. I am studying nutrition and at times i question whether the vegan diet really is the healthiest as some people claim, i don’t personally think it is…. not for everyone anyway. For example for young children or for people who can’t absorb nutrients as well as they should or have other intestinal problems or even people with many allergies, then eating a plant based diet might not be healthiest for them because they can’t get or all the nutrients they need. I am not vegan for my health, if i was i would eat differently.
And when it comes to environmental vegan, buying second hand such as leather clothes or using wool may be the most environmentally friendly option. Not to mention many vegan foods have palm oil which isn’t the best for the plant. But also some vegans i know go to stores in the end and pick up the thrown away food which is in their garbage area i.e such as fruit/food that has gone out of date or foods that can’t be sold and they pick up that food (this is illegal in Sweden, but people do it anyway) and there has been questions of, isn’t it better to take the meat and dairy products thrown away and consume them rather than let them go to waste which would be worse for the environment? A vegan for the animals would answer no, it’s not a waste and eating the animal products isn’t ok… but a person who has the environment more in focus might think it’s actually ok because then food isn’t going to waste.
If you can see the difference there….. that if it comes to wanting to have the healthiest diet it might be a diet that is open to everything even if its 99% plant based. Or wanting to do your best for the planet and the environment then maybe the “vegan choice” isn’t the most environmentally friendly, for example if you live in colder areas such as the UK, Nordic countries etc then buying melons, exotic fruit and other food which has been transported a long way may not be the best choice for the environment. Even if animal production and dairy production has the highest carbon emission, even if lentils and beans are transported and flown over the world they still have a lower carbon emission. But certain foods where alot of pesticides and chemicals are used and toxins are let out into the environment, those wouldn’t be so environmentally friendly to buy if you care more about the planet than the animals.
Anyway, all of this got me thinking…. am i health vegan or just a healthy vegan?
I don’t do so much for the animals, i wish i did more. I do send a monthly donation to an animal charity, sign petitions, don’t buy any animal products or products tested on animals, i do try to inspire people to eat more plant based or do more vegan actions, i do wear my vegan clothing to “promote” veganism and i would like to go to demonstrations but they have always clashed with work or school. But sometimes i feel like what i do isn’t enough… Like i should be out in the streets handing out flyers or going to demonstrations, but that’s not who i am…. i wish i could be very “out there” and write vegan texts and be very hard core in my captions, but that’s not me…. because i don’t want to force people to go vegan and i don’t want to guilt shame people for eating meat or dairy either. I think everyone has their own choices and inspiration works better than guilt shaming, though that is just my opinion.
I care about nutrition and what i eat, though not to the extent that it takes over my life or i worry when i eat something unhealthy. But i would call myself a healthy vegan. Because i do care about my health, but at the same time i have no problem eating a vegan pizza, chocolate, muffins, cake, fries etc as long as it is vegan. And i do care about the animals, not wanting to contribute to their suffering or exploitation and that is the main reason for me being vegan, because i don’t think i could knowingly get myself to eat meat again… just the thought make me feel strange.
But my opinion in all honesty is that, who cares what reason makes you eat plant based or do more vegan actions… every little change helps and makes a difference. So even if you eat plant based for the sake of your health or for the environment, it is still amazing and you shouldn’t be guilt shamed for it!!