A couple of years ago, I wrote a series of posts about my own, casual approach to veganism. Recently, I went back to those posts, trimmed a bit here, expanded a little there, and voila: it’s now a book called Casually Vegan: A Beginner’s Guide to Imperfection.
I did it for a couple of reasons. First, I’d never published an e-book, and I wanted to see how difficult the process was. (As it turns out, walking and chewing gum is harder.)
But more importantly, in my own small way, I wanted to help change the dialogue around veganism. As with any system of beliefs or practices, there are lots of self-righteous vegans out there, and plenty of revering and shaming going on: “Oh, she’s not vegan, her luggage has leather tags.” Or, “I’m a really good vegan: I’d never touch yeast.”
That drives me nuts because we’re all humans, and we have a limitless capacity for screwing up. Also, even if we could agree on what a “perfect” vegan might be, it’s impossible for anyone living in the 21st century to be one. You’re going to take a cab or fly on a plane with leather seats, you’re going to find yourself at a dinner party and mid-way through realize that the host used chicken broth in the lentils.
Rather than playing the more-vegan-than-thou game, I think we’d do better to acknowledge our missteps — maybe even laugh at them — and use them to figure out where the edge of the path lies. It sounds hippy-dippy, I know, but I firmly believe you learn far more from failure than from success.
And last but not least, I think that some vegans go so far in their quest to minimize harm to animals that they forget humans are animals, too. Caring for animals and caring for humans aren’t mutually exclusive. They’re not even different sides of the same coin. They’re the same side of the same coin.
Bottom line: maybe it’s better to eat a slice of that cake that your grandmother made with butter and eggs than to turn your nose up and accuse her of being Hitler 2.0. You’ll make her happy, and you’ll still be doing more than many people to make the world a kinder, gentler place.
Anyway, if you want a copy of the book for yourself or you need a quick holiday gift, it’s a whopping $2.99 on Amazon.