Call the vegan police.
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been vegan since 1996. It’s been over twenty years since I stopped eating and wearing animal products, so I’m pretty entrenched in this lifestyle. I also don’t like talking about it very much unless asked, because it’s only an aspect of who I am instead of how I choose to define myself. I’m also aware that vegans are often viewed as insufferable and preachy, thanks to the insufferable and preachy vegans who ruined it for the rest of us, so I tend to keep my plant-based diet to myself.
After twenty years you’d think I would be good at being vegan, but the truth is I’m pretty lousy at it. I’m not so bad that I’d accidentally order chicken parmesan at a restaurant, but there are aspects of my vegan lifestyle that other vegans might find a little less than ideal. Call the vegan police.
I buy milk and meat all the time. I don’t consume them, but my wife and son do, and sometimes it’s Daddy’s turn to grab the weekly groceries. My cats, being carnivores, eat cat food that is 100% other dead animals. But when I do have to buy milk and meat, I try to find the stuff that’s from humane farms if it’s available. I’d do the same for cat food if those little ingrates didn’t turn their noses up at anything but the cheap wet food. Jerks.
I actively cheat on my diet during October with Count Chocula and the other monster cereals. Marshmallows contain gelatin, which is an animal product, and the monster cereals are famous for their marshmallows. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I loved the monster cereals as a child, so I bend the rules for one month and treat myself to a nostalgic breakfast.
I’m a crummy cook. After twenty years you’d think I would be able to whip up some homemade masterpieces after a trip to the produce section. Nope. Unless I’m looking at a cookbook I’m pretty useless over a stove, and even then I’m prone to ruining an entire recipe with a blundering mistake. The best I can manage on my own is heating things up in a pan or pot, and even then it’s pretty bland. It’s no wonder almost all of my dinners are consumed alone.
I believe in eating meat. That may be a pretty heretical thing for a vegan to say, but I believe if something is hunted or caught the hunter/catcher has a right to consume it. That’s how nature works. I also believe in consuming meat or dairy that’s been humanely raised. But I refuse to take part in the unspeakable animal abuses that happen in factory farms and slaughterhouses, and that is why went vegan over twenty years ago. I’m not perfect at it (see above) and I don’t think I’m going to change the world, but it helps me feel better to know I’m as removed from it as I can manage.
My vegan lifestyle did survive one important test, though. As I mentioned above, I believe in eating meat, and a few years ago my friends offered me a chance to “sponsor a pig.” What that meant was that we would help pay for the care of a pig at a super humane farm, and at the end of the care cycle the pig would be killed in a merciful way and its meat provided to us for consumption. It was everything I believed in how farm animals should be treated and how their meat should be obtained. But once the offer was put in front of me, all I could think to say to my friends was, “Do they have to kill the pig? Can’t we just keep it for ourselves?” I may have wanted to name it Hammond.
With luck, by the end of this blog entry you won’t think of me as one of those insufferable preachy vegans who thinks he’s better than everyone else (still waiting on my superpowers, though). With luck, other vegans reading this won’t find me a fraud.