First of all: This will probably be the longest blogpost I’ve ever written but please make sure to read it all if you want to understand where I’m coming from. After you’ve done that feel free to judge me or unfollow me on social media if you still feel like doing so. Thank you. Oh and don’t worry, this is not the next “my vegan diet made me sick that’s why I quit” kind of story and it also has nothing to do with other vegans who’ve recently quit veganism but with all the personal changes I went through the past months while travelling and all the new information I came across and experiences I made.
I’ve been wanting to write this blogpost for quite a while now but I never did because I just didn’t know where to start and I honestly still don’t really know. Of course I’m also scared of getting judged in a negative way, there’s no need to deny that. And I’m not just talking about followers on Instagram.. I’m even scared to lose friends in real life which is ridiculous because a real friend will not quit a friendship over something like this.
However, I know I have to put this out there because I believe in being honest and authentic online and in real life even if people may not understand, like or agree with what you have to say.
So.. I think I just start by saying that I’m tired of labels in general, no matter if it’s the label vegan or something else. All of these labels just put you in a box with all these other people who use the same label. I mean, take vegans for example: There are so many people out there who say they’re vegan but they’re still all so different from each other. However, as soon as you use a label like this people make assumptions about what kind of person you are based on stereotypes and I’m so tired of this. I’m so tired of being seen as “the vegan” by other people. First and foremost I am just me, we all are. We’re not vegans, travellers, managers or whatever,.. we’re all individuals. Yes, we might like certain activities or have certain opinions but I believe we should never define ourselves over that one thing, we shouldn’t make this our identity. I’ve had it happen to me more than once that someone said “this is Alex, she’s vegan” as if this explains everything about me and that’s all people need to know to understand what kind of person I am. While I’m saying this I will also admit that of course I sometimes also assume certain things about others if someone tells me who or more like what they are, it’s only human.
Putting such a label on yourself also creates a lot of pressure. I feel like suddenly you’re being watched by anyone and god forbid you’re not perfect and make a mistake. Putting yourself into a position like this also kinda makes it impossible to change your mind, it doesn’t allow you to change your point of view. This is exactly what’s happening to me right now. I have changed, especially through travelling I got so many new perspectives, it opened my mind to other ways of thinking,.. but what can I do? I decided I’m a vegan almost 4 years ago so of course I’m not allowed to change anything about what I thought or said at that time, right? That’s just so wrong.. of course you’re allowed to change, it’s your life, your thoughts, your experiences. By the way, I’ve never seen veganism as a diet and originally went vegan only for the animals, for no other reason. Just for the people who’ll be like “you were never really vegan and only do it for health reasons” – no, would’ve never had the discipline to do it for health reasons, never needed discipline for ethical reasons. However, even with that, your view on veganism can change.. wouldn’t have believed it myself if someone had told me back then.
So, what other things than me being sick of labels led to me writing this blogpost? Well, I honestly just don’t feel like I can identify as much with veganism anymore as I could in the past and for me it just feels more and more wrong and shallow to say I’m a vegan. I just can’t go on saying I’m a vegan while at the same time in my head I’m like “oh but are you really?” Don’t get me wrong: I still don’t agree with animal abuse, animal testing, overconsumption of animal products etc., I feel like my beliefs actually haven’t even changed that much really. Anyway, I know I have too many opinions and I know I’ve done too many things that true vegans would never have or do.. like ever.
Okay, here we go.. I know that some of you might possibly be a bit shocked to read this but I can’t change it, it’s me and I just want to be honest:
The general vegan opinion is that killing an animal to eat it is wrong. Well, I don’t agree. I don’t think it’s wrong, I think it’s just nature. Animals kill animals, humans kill animals. For me killing an animal itself is not animal cruelty. Actually I always kinda had this opinion, even when I first went vegan. My problem is just how it’s happening today, how people just eat way too many animal products which is just not possible if you look at the number of human population. It’s not like people want a piece of meat 1-2 times a week, they want it daily or more than just once a day which is maybe not optimal – if you buy conventional meat from the supermarket. It puts everything out of balance and of course the animals and the planet have to pay the price for humans being this greedy. It’s a bit of a different story if you get local meat with good conditions for the animals, hunt your own animals, keep your own animals,..
As for health reasons: A lot of vegans also say that humans are herbivores which isn’t true. We’re not herbivores, we’re not carnivores, we’re omnivores, that’s just a fact. And the more research I do I also start questioning that a diet fully consisting of plant foods really is the healthiest diet you can have or if eating 80-90% plant foods would not maybe be more suitable, more natural, more beneficial for your body. This to me is by the way still a plantbased diet.. I never really got why people say that a vegan diet = a plantbased diet because it’s in the word: plantBASED, a diet based on plants, not fully consisting of plant foods alone. Not that this really matters but that’s how I’ve always understood it. And imagine everyone following like a 90% plantbased diet – that would be amazing, this world would be a different place already.
When I first went vegan I was convinced that veganism is pretty much the solution for everything, that it’s what’s gonna save our planet but this already changed more than a year ago actually. I don’t think that veganism is THE solution, this world and its problems are far more complex than this. I’ve been thinking and researching about this topic for quite a while now, especially after talking to lots of people here in the outback Australia who also gave me something to think, some new things to consider. I think that what many people, also researchers, claim might be true to some extent: That we actually need some animals for farming, for balanced and healthy agriculture. I am not talking about factory farming here, of course. More about things like cattle and sheep roaming around freely in wide areas for example. I’m absolutely not an expert on this but the whole topic of what actually would benefit our planet the most – leaving out emotions and focusing on facts – really interests me and I’m truly not sure anymore if the simple “go vegan, save the planet” way is the solution. Plus I consider a lot of people, especially out here, to be living more environmental friendly than some vegans simply for the fact of consuming less stuff (including clothes and other things..) in general, buying local, travelling less etc., it’s just a simpler way of living compared to a life in the city for example, a life more connected to nature and to where the food comes from.
Right now I’m in Australia, as I said, and work on a crutching trailer picking up wool. Well, the last time I checked, a job in the shearing industry isn’t particularly considered the most vegan job and I don’t think anyone who’s a true vegan would ever take a job like that, right? I took this job as I have to do some rural farm work to get my 2nd year visa for Australia and except for fruit picking there aren’t too many vegan jobs to find out in the bush and I really struggled a bit to find a farm job for 3 months. I also have the opinion that it’s always better to see things with your own eyes instead of just reading about them online and watching videos.
Additionally to just these 3 examples of my not so very vegan opinions and jobs: I fell in love with someone who shoots kangaroos for a living (yes, this is an actual job out here..). I’ve lived together with him and I went out there with him because I had to see myself what he’s doing.. nothing any vegan has ever done, I guess. It wasn’t easy for him as well to take me with him as he knew I’m a vegan and of course he thought I’d judge him in the worst way possible. Well, the truth is: I wasn’t shocked, I didn’t cry and I ended up joining him more than just that one time.
In the past, especially when I first went vegan, I had this very strong judgemental approach. For me the world suddenly consisted of vegans, the only people doing the right thing, and the rest, doing it all wrong. I wanted to convince everyone around me that veganism is the only right way and thought that now I had it all figured out.. but the world isn’t that easy, it isn’t all just black and white.
So, after reading all of this you might ask yourself if I’ve actually implemented animal products back into my diet.. well, I haven’t. You could probably say that technically by definition I’m still pretty much a vegan but I don’t feel anymore like I am and as I said: I’m done with labels.
I’ve also been in situations when I would’ve liked to just eat the non-vegan food because it just would’ve felt better, it would’ve felt right but I didn’t because hey – vegans don’t do that, no matter what. Example: I visited a property for a day of work and the old farmer said he stayed up very late to bake a chocolate cake as he knew I was coming. When I said I wouldn’t eat it I could see how disappointed he was and it made me really sad. I mean, the cake was already there anyway, it wouldn’t have changed anything if I ate it or not but it would at least have made one person happy in that moment if I had eaten it. In the past I myself used to judge others for making “exceptions” like this and eat something non-vegan but now I get it. And just because you have something non-vegan in a situation like this it’s not like you go home and are like “ok, now I just start baking with milk and eggs again just because I had a piece of non-vegan cake”.
So will I ever have any non-vegan foods again – on purpose, I mean? To be honest: I don’t know, I really don’t and I don’t want to make the mistake to say what I will or will not do in the future because now I know how much your view on life can change with time. And to be completely honest again: Sometimes I do feel as if something is missing, as if I’m somehow not fully satisfied and lack something, even if I have like all the healthy foods and also all the vegan “meat substitutes” and stuff, I dunno.. For me there’s also a big difference in from where you get your let’s say meat and fish for example. Yes, I know, it’s all a dead animal but as I said before: To me the killing to eat thing itself is not wrong, it just isn’t, I’m sorry. However, I can definitely assure you I’ll never go back to consuming/using dairy at home as to me that’s just still kinda wrong and a bit gross. As I said, in a situation like the one mentioned before yes, I would now probably eat that piece of cake with milk in it but I’d probably never make a cake with cow’s milk myself.
Does this all mean I stop promoting vegan meals or other products like for example shampoos without animal products and testing? Of course not!
First of all: As I said, people do consume too many animal products and I truly believe it’s not sustainable in most cases (for people living in cities etc), it’s not healthy with cheap quality animal products, it’s not balanced and it’s not necessary with so many healthy and delicious plant foods out there. And I love vegan food – why would I stop eating and promoting it? Even IF I decide to have a few animal products I wouldn’t really see the point of promoting that in a big way as I don’t think we need any more promotion of that when people eat too much of it already anyway. But I also want to keep it real and if I decide to have animal products again I will do so. However, it’s still important to me to show people how delicious and easy vegan meals can be.
Second: For me it’s still important to live as ethical as possible but I don’t want to follow a certain label telling me what and what not to do, telling me what and what not to believe. I can decide for myself what ethical means to me, I want to be entitled to my own opinion, I want to do what feels right to me instead of blindly doing what I’m supposed to do even if maybe that doesn’t even feel good or right to me. In the end I think it’s so important that YOU know you’re doing what feels like the right and best thing to do.
I could possibly go on talking about this topic for hours but I stop it here. To write all of this down actually felt really good. It’s still scary to me to share this but it’s also freeing because I feel I can finally just do and say what truly resonates with me without thinking about what I should do or say. In the end what we think about ourselves, how we judge ourselves, counts so much more than what others think about us. You’re the person you live with 24/7 so you should feel like you can be your true and authentic self instead of holding back and living up to other peoples expectations and to try and be a person others want you to be.
And as I said before: People can change, it’s normal. I might go through more changes in the future when I learn more, experience more,.. that’s just life.
If you made it down here.. thank you for reading.