I know I say that I am “vegan”, but in actual fact I’m more vegetarian than vegan.
But if I say that then the assumption is that I eat dairy and eggs. By definition a vegetarian only eats plant foods, no animal products at all. Think about it – the word itself should give you a clue – vege-tarian …. vege as in vegetables – I don’t see “dairy” or “egg” anywhere in that word at all.
The problem is that the food industry have cosy-ied up to the corporations and have indoctrinated the public into believing that a vegetarian is someone who eats plant foods, dairy products and eggs, hence the animal food industry still is able to make money from this ever growing portion of the public.
Even the medical fraternity is on board with this, by declaring that one must have dairy in order to get the right supply of calcium – Doctors, who have never had a decent lesson in nutrition at all.
The word “vegan” is taken from the first three and last two letters of the word vegetarian. Being vegan is a lifestyle. One that is totally devoid of animal products. For example not wearing leather.
So even though I say I am vegan, my reason for eating a plant based diet is first and foremost, the environment. Yes I abhor animal exploitation in any form and I do choose products I know have no animal content nor have they been tested on animals.
But, because my number one reason is the environment, I do recycle. Which means I do visit op-shops (thrift stores for my American friends), and I do purchase leather items. The reason is that leather is one of the hardest things to break down, and then, when it does, it is so full of chemicals that it contaminates the ground.
This is where I come into odds with Vegans. Vegans don’t wear leather at all as their argument is, (and I have to concede they have a point), it doesn’t matter if you have recycled it, wearing it still says to the world that you condone the use of leather.
What a quandary. But in a round-about way this brings me to the title of this post. If you try and take on too much … it just messes with your head! Well, it does with mine. So out of all the BIG issues – environment, animal welfare, poverty, world hunger, world peace etc etc etc
I have chosen Environment. My reason? Simple logic – if we don’t have an environment, we don’t have anything else.
I’ve just spent 5 weeks in the home at Papamoa and in that time I only needed to put the rubbish out once which was on the last day…and even then the bag was not full. The home I was in had a compost (in fact had both normal and worm farm types), had the recycle buckets for glass, plastic, paper and cans and the rest went into the council bag to be put out on the curb.
I’m also very realistic. I am fully aware that here in N.Z. our recycling efforts (paper, plastic, glass etc), are just a token gesture, most of the stuff goes to landfill or gets shipped offshore. We actually have a poor record of encouraging the recycling industry. But that is something I really don’t have control over. What I do have control of is what I can personally do for the environment.
- I use plastic bags (like bread bags) as often as I can … these odd plastic bags come with me to the supermarket and I put the fruit/veggies into them rather than get a new one.
- The bags for nuts I’ve recycled so many times it’s hard to find the space to write the number on as there are so many numbers now crossed out.
- Naturally I have the canvas/jute re-usuable bags. Lucky for me I bought several of them in America, they’re big and sturdy and go through the wash like a pro.
- I compost where I can, use a garbage disposal unit (the one in a sink) or boil up my peelings which I freeze to use as stock/soup.
I don’t like to label myself an Environmentalist, nor a “Greenie” – I think those titles are reserved for the more wealthy who are able to go the whole hog, and the only reason I say I’m a vegan is so my food choice is understood in this warped society. I just live the best way I know how and try to “do my bit” for the environment that I am currently living in.
What do you put your energy into?