February 24, 2013

Choice Is The Key

People don't often take an active interest in your life choices, until you tell them you are vegan, then suddenly your dietary choices become the most important topic of conversation.

I wrote an intro here, but then took the tangent of writing about why I choose not drink-- this post is meant to be a follow-up to the vegan question. This is usually how it starts:

"What do you eat?"

"Oh well, you know....mumble, mumble....." I just want deflect the attention from myself, but I never seem to be able to find the right words.

"What do you eat?"

"Food. I eat food. I eat simple food free from violence. I like how it makes me feel to know that I am eating deliberately and not out of habit. I like that every time I eat it is my choice to remove myself from the cycle of death, violence and destruction. I like that with every bite, I choose to stand up for a plethora of species who cannot stand up for themselves.

The thing is, I don't want to sound like a flippant, pretentious bastard. I don't want to sound like anything. Last thing I want to do when I sit to eat with friends is make a big deal about what I choose to eat or choose not to eat. But everyone has an opinion....Sometimes you just want to say:

I eat anything that isn't a dead carcass or a secretion from a dead carcass. Anything that wasn't once a tortured sentient being that was brutally killed for my ice cream. I eat lots of things, but I tend to stay away from things that if when over-fished could destroy the very ocean that we need to survive.The same things as you, but without the blood and flesh and death.

I eat fruit and nuts and vegetables. Yes, I know I need protein, but thanks for caring. I got it covered. I eat food that never walked or thought or dreamed or felt pain. I eat food that I couldn't pet or love. I eat food without eyes or lungs or hearts or brains. I eat food without a family, food that never snuggled or showed affection. I eat food that was not tortured. I eat food without violence.

I could write a massive essay justifying my thinking, but I would rather keep it simple. I choose to be vegan, because it is part of my practice. It is part of my journey toward peace. Because I am ready,  and for me, right now it makes sense.

I find the notion of eating flesh grotesque. For years, dairy and eggs were okay, but as time passes the very idea of milk is becoming pretty gross. So please don't worry about me. Don't make a big deal every time we eat. Don't think I am missing out. Don't pity me. I know what I am doing and I am happy.

I choose not to eat dead things. That is all. Choice is the key. People act as if this decision has somehow been inflicted upon me. That if I just thought clearly and came to my senses I could escape this terrible fate, but I do not feel deprived. I feel empowered. Every time, I choose life over death, I enjoy my food that much more.

What's more my choices are not some hidden indictment toward you.  I do not secretly think less of you because you are not vegan. You are on your path and you are making your choices.

Here is some advice, when you are talking to your vegan friends. Leave them alone. They have thought long and hard about their dietary choices and chosen not to eat that bacon because they do not want it. It is okay for you to love it, but remember no amount of professed love for pork is going to change our mind. You enjoy your food and let us enjoy theirs.

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