Today I want express my opinion on these two different „kinds“ of veganism.
First of all: I myself went vegan 100% only for the animals, not for my health or because I want to lose weight. Of course, I learned about the other benefits of going vegan quite quickly, including the environmental ones, but I guess, I would have never turned vegan if it wasn’t for the animals.
Why is that?
Well, to me it is just so easy to be and stay vegan when I think about all the animals suffering for our pleasure. Right before finally going vegan, I couldn’t even enjoy the taste of animal products anymore because I knew what suffering is behind it. Right when I started with veganism, I didn’t need any discipline for keeping meat, dairy and eggs off my plate, not one single day. But for my health and body? No way.. for this you need discipline and I do not really have this anymore when it comes to food and I don’t even want to. Yes, I eat pretty healthy but I also enjoy some unhealthy foods and don’t want to exclude them from my diet. So if I „had to“ stay away from unhealthy animal products, e.g. for losing weight, I would have indulged in unvegan foods here and there just for the taste or because there was no other food available at the moment, I guess.
To many people, this sounds weird, I know. Some say it’s a lot easier to stay vegan for selfish reasons because you can see a „benefit“ for yourself while the animals are far away and you can’t really see an effect of the way you eat. However, I believe there are a lot more people „cheating“ on a vegan diet when only eating this way for their health. Because that’s what it is – a diet, a plantbased diet. I don’t even consider people that only exclude animal products for selfish reasons from their diet vegans. And I don’t mean this in a rude way, it’s just my definition of veganism and also the general one. The Vegan Society for example has a good definition:
„Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.“
There is just so much more to veganism than just the way you eat, like cosmetics, cleansers etc. It’s a lifestyle, a way of thinking. And I am not perfect in being vegan, definitely not, but I’m doing the best I can. In this world it’s just impossible though to be 100% vegan as there are animal suffering and animal products involved in so many things you possibly don’t even know about.
Anyway, once you truly made the connection you can’t just „cheat“ on your diet or go back to eating animal products, you just can’t. I myself don’t eat any animal products even when I’m starving and there’s nothing vegan available, that’s just not happening. You could hold a delicious looking and smelling cream cake under a vegan’s nose and it wouldn’t matter as unvegan stuff isn’t even considered food anymore, it’s just not anything you would eat. Many vegans, including myself, even feel disgusted by the thought of eating animal products after some time.
So do I say that eating a plantbased diet for your health is not okay and you should feel bad about this? Absolutely not! I think it’s awesome when people reduce the use of animal products or give up on them completely, no matter for what reason! If you eat a healthy vegan diet only for yourself or a vegan junk food diet because you don’t care about yourself, only about ethics.. well, I guess the animals don’t mind as long as you don’t eat them. I also believe that with time most people that enjoy veganism and see the benefits for themselves will also learn about the ethical reasons behind it.