Alternate title: Veganism is not a diet. For the folks in the back – Veganism is not a diet.
Alternate-Alternate Title: Of all the magazines, how did I get here, but okay!
I thought it was weird to have my name in Vegan Health and Fitness magazine. Me, the person that ate 3 doughnuts, a cannoli, and a large piece of tiramisu just this week. And maybe – definitely – a meatball sub, cheese fries, and a cheesesteak (all vegan!). In my defense, we went to Philly and when in Rome…you eat all the vegan junk. So when the UK version of the popular mainstream magazine, Glamour, reached out asking for permission to include me in their March 2017 issue, I thought my identity had officially been stolen. I’m currently sitting here in a 7 year old bath robe with a hole in a pocket that my dog chewed, a thread-bare black tank top that hangs like a dish rag, and my hair up in a messy bun, not a deliberate messy top knot that says I’m casual and simultaneously the most stylish mom around, but “roll out of bed and get this dirty mop out of my face” bun, all the while drinking chai tea from a chipped mug I got from Starbucks 17 years ago. No joke. Glamour isn’t the word that comes to mind. But hey, if they want to risk their reputation, who am I to turn down such an opportunity?
Turns out, they only want me for my vegan food photos – and I’m totally okay with that because I expected nothing less. However, when they first approached me, they asked if they could include a photo in their “Wellness article about veganism”. Once the ego-boost subsided, I had that ugh kind of feeling. Great, just what we need, another mainstream promotion of veganism as a health diet. While it’s great veganism is seeing it’s day in the mainstream media sun, it’s a double edge sword because it’s usually promoted as a diet, completely motivated by health and weight loss, and void of the true ethics of this social justice movement. I don’t care how people come to veganism, after all I got here for health reasons, but unless you make the connection to the ethical side of things, you may think “veganism” strictly applies to what you eat and that continuing to use and exploit animals in every other area of your life is okay. Or worse, you very well may not stay vegan because as we all know, diets come and go and “cheat days” are all too common of an award for “good behavior” while dieting. Even worse yet, is when we get that one person that becomes vegan to lose weight and decides to live off of pasta and french fries or kale and air and then publicly denounces vegansim as the thing that almost killed them instead of just admitting they were a dumbass and did it all wrong.
There is a reason why serious vegans jump all over people that are declaring themselves as VEGAN who in reality are just plant-based. We are constantly battling the confusion and watered down versions of exactly what veganism is – which is the rejection of violence and systems of oppression. It’s the declaration that everyone deserves to live free from harm and we will do everything we can in a very un-vegan world to live as cruelty-free as possible and practical. While the original definition of vegansim specified animals, the vegans I know include humans in that as well. The systems that oppress and exploit people are the same ones that have convinced us we are superior to animals and are therefore allowed to do with them as we please. So when I hear Veganism and Wellness in the same sentence, my ears perk up should I need to jump in and clarify any misconceptions.
Needless to say, I’ve been a little anxious over the release of this article that would be reaching such a wide audience. Instead, I was SO pleasantly surprised – despite that intro statement because after being vegan for 4 years, my energy and skin are still meh as ever and Lord knows I’ve some bloat. But Glamour UK did something I haven’t seen in many mainstream articles – they actually said what veganism is and that whether or not someone decides to eat health or junk food as a vegan is irrelevant to the ethics of veganism. While they did mention someone who managed to “fail” as a vegan and pointed out there are nutrients that would be missing should you simply just remove stuff from your diet without adding anything in, they were very clear that there are plant-based sources for all that we need and veganism is a completely healthy and sustainable way to live. But with any dietary choice, you have to think about what you eat – many non-vegans are completely unhealthy, most of the leading causes of death are directly related to animal-based diets, it’s just a socially acceptable unhealthy because the majority of folks are all suffering from it, so as vegans we need to give healthy eating the same priority if living a long and disease-free life is a goal. It’s just common sense and I am so grateful this article was clear about this. Yes, a whole-foods, plant-based diet can be one of the healthiest ways to eat. Andit IS true when I’m being mindful of what I’m eating, I do feel one million times better than I ever could if I continued to eat animals. But eating healthy as a vegan still requires some will power, sugar and empty carbs are still just as addictive and delicious, and if you don’t care about health, we have doughnuts and meatball subs for that (pssst…they are still usually healthier than the animal-based counterparts.)
I was so pleased with the article that I wasn’t even phased when my big debut turned out to be a tiny thumbnail but hey, my name is there and I’m one of a couple vegan Instagrammers they mentioned – how lucky and honored am I to be in such good company? But it’s not popularity that I seek (do you know how awkward I get with attention?) but it makes me feel good because my goal with IG is to not only show vegan food but say why it’s crucial we eat vegan food. The more people that hear why veganism is one of the single most beneficial things we can do for ourselves and every living species on earth, the better. Even when they hate me for telling them.
If you’re so inclined, you can find the print issue at Barnes & Noble, the more their vegan containing magazine sells, maybe they will be more likely to include more vegan related articles, after all, vegan fashion and beauty products are quite fitting and trend setting topics for such a glamorous magazine. You can also download the Glamour app for free and then purchase individual issues for about a buck. If you’re moved to do so, you can always leave some positive words on their Facebook page for including such an accurate and positive portrayal of veganism. The world needs more of these because the world needs more vegans. We are the ones that just might save us all.