Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I'm not a fan of labels. They are so formal and final. I have an internal struggle against being dogmatic about beliefs and allowing myself freedom to make choices. Being labeled automatically triggers a desire to rebel...against myself, sick huh?

I was contemplating the term VEGAN. An awful sounding word, isn't it? It sounds so, empty, yet snotty and militant at the same time. As in,
"I am VEGAN. I wield pointed carrot sticks for nourishment and as weapons against meat eating neandrathals."

It also feels so FINAL, like a vow of celibacy. "From this day on, I vow against the consumption of anything tasty of animal origin, never ever again will I allow myself to sink so low." See, that's just not me. Culinary pursuits are an art form, an outlet for my own creative energy. I respect when others practice this art, no matter their medium. Though for my own consumption I prefer that a slab o'meat not be the star of the show.

The first self-proclaimed VEGAN I met was 10 years ago at one of my college work study jobs. She, above all else, shaped the nuance of this word for me. VEGAN was a nice enough person but I distinctly remember her statement that she was the healthiest person she knew, as she sipped her bottled Evian, which, no doubt, she recycled. At that point in my self evolution, I found her intimidating and self righteous. Maybe I still would. Or maybe it's just a matter of perspective and now I'd find her enlightened. Maybe others find me intimidating and self righteous. I guess its all a matter of the shoes we're standing in at the time. No one likes to have their own "truths" challenged. But, if a belief is so readily challenged maybe it warrants re-examination? The universe serves us up constant lessons (which I've learned we call to us through the Law of Attraction.....another topic...) and when we are bothered by something, well, that just means there is something to be learned. It's hard to remember this in the heat of a moment, but I try to.

In any case, I also remember an end of summer barbeque at VEGAN's house where her carnivorous housemates were not allowed to grill animal flesh on her side of the grill. At the time, I didn't understand the need for territory delineation on a Weber. Was she afraid that steak would leave animal cooties on the grates that would jump onto her veggie burger? For health reasons, I understand that grilling creates carcinogens but that would be true for food of animal or vegetable origin. In any case, it seems that people who choose a cruelty free diet are usually doing so for animal rights reasons, and those people appear more directed and purpose driven in their choices. While the health conscious folks seem less militant in their ideals. Just an observation from these worn-down, fleece-lined slippers.

I feel better physically and contented spiritually when I avoid meat and dairy. But in the end, I eat what I want when I want. For the last 5 or 6 months, that choice has been primarily for organic, plant based foods, and increasingly raw, organic, plant- based foods. Occasionally I enjoy the eggs that my friend, Kelly, generously gives to us. Ultra fresh, free range, organic eggs from happy and well loved chickens. I don't have any problem with that...right now, but who knows? I may grow to feel better avoiding them too. My spirit feels lighter knowing I am not contributing as much to the factory farming industry or negatively impacting the environment with animal product consumerism. On the contrary, I also enjoy dining out and not nitpicking over every ingredient in my meal. Life is too short for that. I eat what I want to eat and most of the time I want to eat plant based food. And when I don't, I don't. Call me crazy, but please don't call me VEGAN.

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