It’s been six months since I transitioned to a plant-based diet. This is my second attempt at doing so (the first was in 2006 and lasted for nearly two years). I’m confident this will remain my diet until the day I die, which, if what the books I’ve been reading are to be believed, will be never.
The term “plant-based” is somewhat vague and obnoxious, but it’s the term that describes my situation best. I’ve been reluctant to embrace the Vegan label, as my decision to eliminate animal-derived food products was motivated by health concerns rather than a desire to change sociopolitical norm (plus, when not in the gym I pretty much live in my Blundstone boots. Leather-wearing does not a vegan make! Yes, I am fully aware of how hypocritical it is to wear animals but not eat them), and in my mind veganism has always equalled activism.
The thing is, the more I invest myself into the plant-based movement (and it very much is a movement, don’t kid yourself. Have you seen the dairy coolers at Walmart lately? There are more plant-based milks and cheeses than dairy nowadays) the more I find myself being drawn to the V word. There is something appealing about those who can commit, body & soul, to a cause they believe in. I’m not there yet, but I’m definitely moving in that direction.
I’m proud that I’m contributing less to the misery of animals and humans alike. I’m proud that I’m having less of an impact on the Earth’s destruction (though at this point in the game it’s probably all for naught. We’re doomed! DOOMED!!!). I’m also proud that I’ve become a damn fine cook and that my wife and I have strengthened our bond over the meals we create. Given these accomplishments, I can take the ribbings dished out on social media. Some of them anti-vegan memes are genuinely funny.
Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I’m not preachy about my diet. If people ask questions, I answer them. When people get defensive (and it’s always other people who get defensive…) and start spouting off “facts” about meat, I smile and engage them in a civilized manner. Few people are going to be convinced to change their lifestyle through a single discussion, so I don’t take it too far.
Anyway, I don’t want to CONVINCE anyone of anything. My hope is that people simply see the facts for what they are and ask themselves why it is they are so attached to eating animals when it’s not necessary to do so.
A lot of people will dismiss this; some will take it a step further and make a lame vegan joke (despite me saying earlier that I don’t identify as a vegan!!! I’m plant-based goddammit!!!), and that’s fine. Laugh all you want. Like Mr. Mohandas said (or didn’t say…either way, it’s a solid quote): “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
With every joke we’re one step closer to winning.