Sunday, November 1st was “World Vegan Day.”
I’m not sure I really cared.
As categorized by most people who know me, I’m “vegan.” To a lot of “vegans,” depending on which group you ask, I’m not worthy of the “title.” I’m a person who eats “plant based” but since I am, in no way, attached to the animal rights movements, probably have a leather purse or two somewhere, still eat honey and love me some Oreos and non-organic food from time to time, I am often told that labeling myself “vegan” is downright inaccurate and inconsiderate.
And, as I drink my very plant based protein shake, I couldn’t care less.
My first attempt at becoming vegetarian was when I was single digit age. Something about it resonated with me and I’m not sure what it was. It “may” have had to do with my cousin talking to me about poor, defensive less chickens who had to die for me to have my most beloved chicken wings. Then again, I grew up in a housing project on the South Side of Chicago. I never saw live animals that might have ended up on my table so that guilt only lasted so long. I really liked chicken.
It was 1997 when I was pregnant with my son that I had my last piece of pork; some bacon, it was, from the Shoney’s breakfast bar. I had my last beef at a Burger King in 2000. I had chicken, turkey and fish for last time in April of 2004 and dairy and eggs maybe a year later.NONE of those decisions had ANYTHING to do with being accepted by a certain group of people or being able to carry a “title.” When looking at the big picture, it ALL comes down to ONE thing:
It’s about my health. You can call it whatever you want.
Nobody calls brushing their teeth daily “discipline.” Eating in a way that keeps me healthy and functioning shouldn’t be seen as such. I’m not being “punished” (as so many people in my life feel like I’m being because I’m eating oatmeal and kale and tempeh). I’m being proactive. I won’t lie. My grocery bill is out of control because I have a weakness for pretty produce but it’s a whole lot cheaper than the medicine so many people I know are taking. It’s just a choice.
And still, even with my shiitake mushroom loving, BlendTec having self, people still want to debate what I “call” myself. I call myself “Tasha” and I call “this” taking control of my health. I find it irritating and fascinating that we are more concerned with labels and categories than we are with education and understanding. I do NOT eat pure, organic, non-GMO foods all day every day nor is my refrigerator filled with fake soy hot dogs, coconut ice cream and Ruffles (all vegan).
Why didn’t I care about World Vegan Day? EVERY day that I am no longer who I used to be (killing myself with food), I celebrate. I don’t try to convert people and I no longer try to prove how authentic I am to the vegan police. What I care about is people caring for themselves and eating in a way that gives them the best life possible. Why do you care if I eat honey?
And this is from a woman whose favorite foods used to include neckbones.
Live for health, not for #hashtags. It’s about you and your world. That’s it.