Labeling Myself as Vegan

I’m vegan.   I’ve been vegan for 13 and a half years.  I remember how long it’s been because my third child was six months old at the time.   Besides any non-vegan nutrients she received from my body before her birth and through breastmilk, she has been vegan her whole life.  I also gave birth to one more child after her, my second son, and at ten and a half months old, he is still vegan as well.   My older two children became vegan sometime after I made the decision to become vegan, and they have continued to be vegan as well.

The problem is that some people wouldn’t consider us to be vegan.  They are welcome to their own beliefs about what being vegan means, but I admit it’s been troubling me lately, the idea that I might not be “vegan enough” for others to feel I have the “right” to call myself vegan.  It’s been bothering me so much that I almost, just almost, felt like giving up the label.  My older son, though, says we shouldn’t give it up.

Here’s my confession of why I may not be “vegan enough” to call myself vegan.  First of all, I eat something with honey in it every once in a while.  I try to avoid buying things with honey, but say my mom buys me some throat lozenges that have honey in them, I might go ahead and use them.  Or like the other day my husband bought some tortillas that have honey in them, and I went ahead and ate some.

I actually buy something with beeswax in it sometimes — Spry Xylitol gum.   My older son avoids eating anything with honey or beeswax, but my other kids really like that gum.  It’s easy to find (I buy it at Super Supplements), and it’s a fairly okay price, so I buy it from time to time.

Oh, and Trader Joe’s spearmint lip balm — I also buy that. It’s such a good price, and it works so well, but I think it has beeswax in it.   I should probably stop buying it, but I’m not going to throw out the lip balm I already have.

I bought some leather shoes the other day.  *blush*  I usually avoid buying leather shoes, I search for non-leather shoes, and if I were rich, I would never buy leather shoes.   These shoes that I bought were on clearance plus they were 70% off the clearance price.  They were such a good deal, and I really needed another pair of shoes, so I bought them.  I figure they were such a low price that the store selling them probably didn’t make anything much off of my purchase.

Once a year at the fair I enjoy eating a scone, that I’m betting probably has dairy in it, oh, and of course it has regular sugar in it.

Of course I buy non-vegan cat food for our four cats. I’ve heard it’s important that cats, for their health, not eat a vegan diet.  I’ve thought, though, maybe I should try to cut back on how much non-vegan food they eat and make some homemade vegan food with which to supplement their diet (there must be a way to do that, right?  I haven’t looked into it much), but that would be really hard for me personally to do (time-consuming). Also, I can’t afford to buy special food for them.

If someone gives me something with a bit of wool in it as a gift, I’ll accept it.

And, here’s a big one:  we like some zoos.  We think that there are some zoos that do important and good things for animals.

Also, as mentioned above, we eat some food that contains regular sugar, on special occasions, like in candy for Easter or around October 31st, or Skittles to celebrate the Seahawks being in the Super Bowl.  Oh, it just dawned on me that I bet I eat more regular sugar than I realize.  *gulp*  I buy raw sugar or organic sugar or beet sugar when I make my own baked goods, wanting to avoid the kind that filters the sugar through the charred bones of animals *shiver* . . . that sounds gross. . . but I buy certain things pretty much weekly that have regular sugar in them, such as semi-sweet chocolate chips and candied ginger at Trader Joe’s.

We do so many things, though, that are definitely vegan, and our mind-set, I feel, is vegan. It’s not just about food choices for us.   We care about animals, and we don’t want to add to their suffering.  If it were just about food choices, I would be buying butter rather than Earth Balance, or I would eat eggs from “happy” chickens every once in a while.  But I can’t.  I just can’t.   It would feel wrong to me for me to do those things.   But I’m not perfect.  And I still feel it’s okay to call myself vegan.

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About flowermama

I'm a SAHM & have been married for 25 years. DH and I have 4 kiddos, age 20 down to age 12, and we are unschooling-ish, AP parents who strive to use Grace-Based Discipline. I have been vegan for 15 years for ethical, ecological, & health reasons.
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One Response to Labeling Myself as Vegan

  1. Natalia says:

    I agree with you 100%, the Vegan policing that goes on is exhausting. The one thing that makes me feel ok about keeping on labelling myself as a vegan is that, the more seemingly normal, non-judgy vegans there are, the less the label will come to be associated only with the extremist types (that is my hope anyway!). And just to prove the point at how vegan can mean different things to different people… you say you wouldn’t be happy to eat eggs from “happy” chickens. But if I had rescue hens, I would have no issues with eating their eggs. And I still feel it’s okay to call myself vegan.

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