Saturday, July 2, 2011

Veganism is not a diet.

I know what I ate the past two days. Every calorie of it. But I'm not going to tell you what it was. I haven't weighed myself, so I simply don't know the extent to which the earth's gravitational pull is compelling me toward its center. I do not know. I do not care.

On Wednesday I attended a lecture given by Neal Barnard at the main office of Whole Foods in downtown Austin. He was promoting a book of his, 21 Day Kickstart, and I was less than impressed by the experience. It was clearly geared toward health and nutrition neophytes, and it made me feel kind of bad about associating myself with veganism. "Not in my name!" screamed my unspoken sense of propriety.

To set straight any possible confusion, I am vegan. I am not vegan because I do not like the taste, feel, or texture of animal products. I am not vegan because I think it is healthy to do so. I am vegan because it is fundamentally immoral to be anything but. With all my concern about my weight, appearance, health, and drive for longevity, my veganism is a completely unrelated life choice. I can stop eating carbs, consume nothing but seeds and nuts, drink spicy lemonade for a fortnight, or run in place for six hours a day, but during any of these thought-provoking diversions, one thing, if nothing else, will not change. I will still be vegan.

My sense of well-being is perhaps the most important factor in my being a healthy person, and having a morally sound purpose in life is a centerpiece of that. I don't know that I've been looking out enough for that part of myself. I had not been blessed by a sense of moral outrage until a couple of recent, awkward interactions with animal exploiters, and it made me feel really good. I have never been especially active in animal rights-related activities, but something about being surrounded by "health" or "dietary" vegans recently made me want to punch a beef-eating American in the face, instead of offering them a mango salsa sample. Don't worry. I didn't actually do that; I'm just saying I would like to. That was not one of the awkward situations I got myself into this week. I have punched no one at all recently.

I don't want to be nice. I don't want to cure type 2 diabetes. I don't want to blame society for the individual choices people make to destroy the lives of sentient beings. I want people to stop abusing animals, and that means I want them to stop buying or wearing leather. It means I want them to stop buying and eating/drinking milk, eggs, honey, cow, pig, beeswax, D3, goose liver, etc. I don't want to see any of it anymore. Because I don't choose to believe that people simply "don't know better." I choose to believe they are wrong, they are callous, they are hateful, and that they willingly consort with evil. I choose to believe that in a society where crimes are punished, animal abusers fall into the realm of a guilty party. And when you choose to fund the exploitation of animals, you are an accomplice to those crimes.

No diet news today, kids. Peace.

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