I am Judy, and I am a vegan.
I try to keep it quiet, except in restaurants. Over the years I have developed the skill of asking for something I can eat, latterly even expecting it. I have had well over 20 years of practice.
I am not a quiet vegan in my blogging, however. I blog recipes and occasionally restaurant reviews, although I tend to only comment on the good ones. I am a member of several vegan FaceBook groups and I use this channel to highlight my blog posts and put up pictures of my scrumptious food. I never understood why vegans were such a loathed bunch until I encountered these groups. I’m not referring to the delightful recipe sharing facebook pages like ‘Vegan Friends’ and ‘Vegans Who Don’t Argue’. Lovely people!
If someone shares one meal with me, they are vegan for that period of time.
No, the nasties lurk in nefarious corridors, waiting for any opportunity to spit venom at those omnivores, their hated enemies. I shuddered at the comment which was posted when the World Health Organisation revealed a few weeks ago that some meats are carcinogenic, and in the same bracket in that regard as cigarette smoke or asbestos. One of the somewhat less empathetic vegans in one of the more belligerent groups posted ‘Karma’, a bisyllabic reaction akin to the Sun’s vituperate ‘Gotcha’ after the sinking of the Belgrano.
Equally nauseous are posts along such lines as: ‘I can’t find a boyfriend because I could never kiss a carnivore.’ Even worse are the egocentric one-up-person-ship rants which vie for being the best vegan in town. ‘Oh, I never cook with coconut oil. I find hemp is so much better in my vegan batters.’ I very quickly leave groups like this and share my blog with nicer people. But it is no wonder the world is wary of such vegans.
My own philosophy is that people can make decisions for themselves. I am happy with my own choice and I am comfortable with the balanced food I make and the small contribution I offer to the environment and to animal welfare. But it isn’t my place to make omnivores swallow my ethics, although I am always happy for them to eat my food and make a point of inviting them round. I even kiss some of them.
If someone shares one meal with me, they are vegan for that period of time; even better, they are nourished and happy, and we can dispense with foodist labels. I will share my philosophy about why I am a vegan only when asked to do so. Often I will ask in reply: ‘Tell me why you eat meat.’ The answer is normally because that person always has – it is how they were brought up. It is the norm. Why change?
My site, veganbaconbites.com is about sharing love food, sharing healthy ingredients and not sharing negative judgements. We vegans may be helping the world and its animals even if we eat tasteless rubbish in a sanctimonious and belligerent fashion. But there is a better way. Why would we love animals and hate fellow humans based on what they have for dinner? Why would we settle for gritty, grey gunk? Rather, let’s share delicious food and celebrate each mouthful together.
And while I am on that point, I often hear people say ‘I could do without meat but I love cheese and could never give it up.’ I really do sympathise: you can’t deep fry or oven bake the wad of rubbery blandness which defines some vegan cheeses and make it taste like camembert. You can’t spread or melt or make tasty, piquant sauces from the chunky, lumpy plastic that constitutes some of the vegan cheese you can buy. French people I know have laughed at the notion of vegan cheese substitutes, however noble they are and however adequately they work in quiches and frittatas.
But watch this space. I have discovered how to make rejuvelac, and from this acrid-cat’s-pee-fermented-quinoa-water-monstrosity will come the most delicious vegan cheeses, which I will readily share over on my recipe blog.
Keep a space on your plate. We are lucky to have food, to have a say over what we eat. Whether you are vegan or not, we can share the food and love.