Thanks to Ashleigh for writing this wonderful insight:
Being a Vegan is like being the only single person
in a world of couples
I’m what I consider to be a baby vegan.
In the past six months I have inducted myself into the wonderful and meaningful world of veganism, volunteer work and animal advocacy.
In this brave new world of mine, I’ve been thinking a lot about how in six months my life has changed so dramatically.
It all started with a music video set in a slaughter house. It was like tunnel vision. In that one moment I felt this gut wrenching, guilt ridden lightening course through my veins.
I thought about the fear and the trauma those cows were experiencing before enduring a violent death.
I thought about exactly how terrified these animals were and how trivial the cause. These animals are petrified and meet such violent ends all so a human can sit around eating steak sandwiches.
All of the pain, all of the suffering and all of the violence for a sandwich.
Not to trivialise this violence, but I can’t help but compare that epiphanic moment to the same moment one gets when they decide to get out of a relationship.
In more ways than I initially realised, becoming a vegan is just like breaking up with your childhood sweetheart and all of a sudden being the only single person you know.
Instead of “oh, I’m so sorry to hear about you and Bob”, you get “oh, I’m sorry, I guess you can’t eat this cheesecake can you?”
And instead of “why don’t you get a man?”, you get “why don’t you have a burger?”
You get looks laden with pity and sympathy when you turn down the potato salad because of the mayonnaise.
You get told to stop being so silly when you refuse a green salad with feta, much in the same way you’d be scolded for turning down a blind date with your best friend’s cousin’s friend who’s a dentist and a really nice guy.
And then you get the grilling.
Only instead of “why don’t you let me set you up with…?”, or “why don’t you try online dating?”, you get “what do you mean you don’t eat meat?”, “what about the food chain?”, “how do you get any protein/calcium/iron?” and, my personal favourite; how do you live without BACON?”
(My favourite answer to that by the way, is something I read on tumblr: Relax, it’s a strip of pig flesh, not a tank of oxygen.)
When you go out to eat, or eat anything you haven’t made yourself, it’s like finding out from friends of friends that the new guy you just started seeing is shagging someone else.
You can’t help but ask a million questions and have the ingredients whirling around in your head like a tid bit of hot gossip.
Instead of having a rule about not dating the same man that your friend has, you have a new rule about not using the same spoon your friend just used to dish the chicken to dish the vegan salad.
You sit there, on the outer, and think about the lovely things that they get that you don’t – the physical stuff mostly.
The sweet, the comforting and the tasty.
The cheesecake, mayonnaise, egg pasta, chocolate. All these indulgences, all these comforts that these couples take for granted you don’t get anymore.
But just like being a single person in a world full of committed couples stuck in an ingrained rut, there’s a bright, shiny world full of freedom and amazing foods and amazing flavours.
A place where there are 1001 uses for chickpeas and zucchinis and hummus comes in 101 different flavours.
It’s an awakening when you discover that Whittaker’s dark chocolate is vegan friendly and instant coffee is amazing with vanilla flavoured soy milk.
You get to date vegetables – all kinds of vegetables in all kinds of ways!
It’s like a series of amazing dates with a series of attractive men. Not to mention the benefits couples don’t get – your mood improves, your skin looks great and goodbye relationship weight (you don’t even have to try with this one – it just happens).
You spend less on food and thus have more money to go into your non-leather shoe fund! You have this empowering new sense of independence and price in what you’re doing.
Finding out just how the meat goes from farm to plate is like finding out your boyfriend slept with one of your friends – there’s no coming back from it.
Once the initial shock wears off, and you have time to adjust and process and discover what else is out there, there’s this moment where everything feels right; it’s serendipitous, it’s magic, and it’s love. That special kind of love that comes from living a kind and beautiful and ethical life that no one else can give you, not even your childhood sweetheart.
P.S. For those of you who are brave enough, below is the music video that started it all (yes, music video – how sensitive am I)