Friday, January 28, 2011

I Guess I'm the Rest of Us

You know what I mean? That kind of populist advertising, "Whatever whatever... for the rest of us." Meaning for the average person. Meaning, "Don't be intimidated, we made it friendly, now give us your money." Imagine an X-treme, gravelly voice targeting men, or a cute, quirky, soft voice for women.

Well I'm not asking for money, but I do think my approach to veganism is of the "rest of us" type.

You could call me an Ethical Vegan if you want to. I believe that the bad health and environmental damage caused by the modern, meat-centered diet are inevitable outcomes of factory farming's cruelties and the overall tendency to treat animals as objects. For many, there may be a spiritual or religious dimension, though there doesn't have to be. There are a lot of people with a lot of worldviews. I'll support you as you struggle through your own life.

You'll find no evangelical fervor here. I won't, as those on some sites do, give you lessons in soul winning. This is not a crusade into the land of the unbeliever. I will never want to win converts by force. I'm simply not a Puritan. I just want to live my life, and maybe make it a little easier for you to live yours. I hope so, anyhow. May I never be one of those people who causes the conversation to end abruptly, and, after some awkwardness, drives everyone make excuses and leave.

It seems that lately, though, the Health Vegans have been taking over. I say "health," but I'm not sure that, in the end, there's more to it than body-image struggles and the desire to lose weight. Sadly, this may be where many of the ladies come in. A huge industry thrives on making you feel like you're not good enough as it is, that if the scale would only read a certain number, you'd suddenly be happy and at peace. Advertising dollars. A bunch of nonsense. Whether or not you could stand to make changes, you're just fine as you are. I'm telling you now. Don't be so defensive. It's just the truth. Is there a quote here, something about "trust not in outward signs?" I don't think I'll bother to Google it.

I'm somewhere in between. Of course, adjustment to a vegan diet will improve your health, and if, as Kat says, you're accustomed to living on the McDonald's dollar menu, you'll surely lose weight. Yes, vegans gain a certain body awareness, and your attention to health and nutrition will increase. But that doesn't mean you have to become a fundamentalist. Or leave your poor body malnourished. And it doesn't mean self-flagellation if you buy some Wendy's fries while on the road.

Vegans need to eat more. You need to eat to live. If you're not consuming high-calorie animal fat, you need to eat more. Calories are not the enemy; You need them to live. And you need to eat a variety of proteins in order to get all the amino acids your body requires. If you're not eating more, a little self-examination is in order. Now.

Yeah, your T-shirt says "vegan sex machine," but the basic sex hormones are synthesized using cholesterol. Just a values check, that's all. You need fat. Eat, darn it! "Fat-free vegan"="eating disorder." If you're into the latest fad, The Vegan Diet, you're killing yourself slowly. Maybe you need to stop admiring the frightful skeletons on the runways and red carpets.

Check out #3.

I've already mentioned that I advocate the take-it-easy-on-yourself approach. Please, stop abusing yourself!

And stop being rude to others! If someone near you is eating meat, deal with it. You know how it is when you look through that peephole, and you see ties and nametags, and you say, "Oh, Mormons?" You don't answer the door. Or you open it and listen quietly and wait for your opportunity to end the conversation? Please don't be the people on the other side of the door. Please.

I'm just working through life as you're working through life. Let's agree. Let's try to be reasonable. I'll be here for you if you're here for me.

I believe in the decency of the average person, and I appeal to it now. Please, just live your life, and if a vegetarian or a vegan life is for you, please pursue it with moderation. For the sake of your own beliefs. I'm just some person, and you are too. Just take it easy on yourself, and others too. And I'll take it easy on you.

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