Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Far From the Perfect Vegan

I must admit I’ve been a little hesitant to start a blog about veganism.  For one, I don’t exactly have a very good track record when it comes to vegan friendly professions: Chinese takeaway lackey & wonton deep-frier extraordinaire, hotel receptionist come all day breakfast cook (which did not turn out well, for anyone involved!), service trainer… for a burger bar….hmmm, let’s just say if there was such a thing as vegan hell, I’d be right down there, rotating on a spit.

And now once again I’ve found myself stuck in a rather unveganly (?) job, waitressing at a café where I spend my day up-selling chicken salads… and little chunks of my soul, sunny side down.  So definitely not the best vegan out there – and seemingly not the best person to be writing about veganism – but really, is there such a thing as the perfect vegan?

Vegans are commonly split into two categories, those who avoid animals and their by-products in their diet only and those who avoid them in all aspects of their lives.   Obviously I am having a few issues moving towards the latter category (insert meek, guilty face here!), but it my defence I think it might just be humanly impossible to be a perfect vegan.  

As anyone who has researched the topic will know, animal by-products are in EVERYTHING.  I remember when I first ‘made the change’ I was rather taken aback at the multitude of places where they could pop up  – apparently there was bone ash in my sugar, ground up hooves in my shampoo, crushed beetles in my lipstick and cow uterus in my skin cream – I mean, what the!?  It seemed if I wanted to become a true vegan I had to 100% dislocate myself from society and live in a cave… eating air.

I think though, when it comes to anything in life (especially making yourself feel better about a half-assed attempt at something…ahem) there is a great wee saying by British political philosopher Edmund Burke which comes in quite handy: "No man made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little."  

Veganism can be a little tricky at times and while there is no such thing as a perfect vegan, who cares! It’s a great way of life and a great way to do ones bit in the bid to stop the suffering of animals, and as PETA puts it ‘being vegan is about helping animals, not maintaining personal purity’ (thankfully, as my personal purity is a whole other story!).

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