One problem with being vegan is you’re trying to sail the same boat as some crew who want to head on the same course as you do (that is to say, into the sunset, smugly saving the world) but they want to get there on port tack, while you’re very much a starboard kind of skipper.
When I first wrote about going vegan, I could hardly say the word. Nine months later and I’m as vegan as a rhino. Your children’s children can thank me later – as can all the animals. And my own digestive system.
But just as back when I was a meat eating zombie, there are people who have signed up to the same lifestyle choices, who I don’t agree with. Because there are fewer vegans (that’ll change), the fact we are now sailing the same ship makes it all the more apparent. When you can count your crew on one hand, it’s easier to spot the pirates.
(Sailing metaphors ahoy!)
Big Sis and I recently attended a yoga festival. She’s gone vegan too on account of my positive influence / the fact it’s crazy not to.
Lured by the scent of rosemary and lavender, we found ourselves in a Liz Earle marquee, where we were delighted to learn they were offering free facials. We expressed our enthusiasm to who I presume was Liz Earle herself. Now, we wouldn’t go anywhere near a facial if it meant putting ingredients on our faces that had been stolen from animals or were tested on animals, even if they were free, but she assured us their products were vegan friendly – hooray!
We were getting on tremendously, chatting about veganism, the weather and yoga – standard yoga festival chit chat. Then she goes and hits us with this:
‘Oh, you’ll like this. (No we won’t) There’s an astrologer in that tent over there. I can’t wait to get my starsign read later.’
Because we’d checked whether Liz Earle tested their products on rabbits, or used such delightful ingredients as squalene, taken from the liver of sharks and added to cosmetics, she presumed we’d also be the sort of people to want to know what the universe had in store for Gemini’s.
A vegan lifestyle is too often inextricably linked with mumbo jumbo. I’m not immune to ignorance – obvs. I’ve got my starsign tattooed on my neck, unfortunately. I just learned stuff. A little too late for my permanent inking, but I learned stuff. I have no idea how much I don’t know now. I just know a bit more than I used to and I want to know more. I’m not bound by the things I once knew – hence, I’d like a new tattoo to cover my old one please.
We also attended a plant based food festival. We like to support the vegan community by spending our money in vegany ways. There we were enjoying vegan delights when we saw a pranic healer, wafting air towards an unsuspecting fool sat six feet away from him with her eyes closed while he studiously minced about making nothing look like something.
This annoys me on several levels. What the shit is he doing? On his poster, there was a before and after photo of what you might look like before he gets his hands on your aura (blurry) and after a session of nothingness, while he sprays what I think was water in the air. The after photo? Oh, your aura is positively gleaming.
Take his word for it, because the photo is an interpretation of invisible pseudoscience and he can’t actually shove a rainbow around you. But he can definitely make you think he can. And he’d set up shop at a vegan festival, continuing to muddy the waters between hooey and the urgent and sensible need for more of the human race to go vegan, before the overwhelming current demand for meat cheese meat cheese meat buckles the planet.
It’s shit like this that gives veganism a bad name. It needs to be unshackled from the burden of association with nonsense. It needs to step out of the shadows of astrology, aromatherapy, auras and – unfortunately this one doesn’t begin with an ‘a’ because I’m alliterating the funk out of this sentence – homeopathy.
It’s not that I think I’m a better vegan than other vegans, or a better person than the Aura Guy (well, maybe) – but just because we agree on not eating, wearing or washing in animal products because of the associated intolerable cruelty, doesn’t mean I want my aura cleansed. (If you disagree with me about auras, this is a fun link)
For those who are logical, compassionate, up for improving their own health and making a monumental effort to save the environment with every meal, being offered an aura cleanse is not exactly going to see people knock down our vegan door, begging to join our vegan team.
There’s also the annoying gluten-free bandwagon. People assume we’ll be delighted to hear this vegan brownie or that vegan pasta is also gluten free. I ain’t got no beef with gluten and despite the misguided popularity of gluten-free products, nor does most of the population. Coeliacs, yes, but the rest of us, no. I want gluten. Throw it in all my food.
Veganism is wonderful – we’re having an amazing ride. I often get asked if it’s hard work, if it’s a burden or a strain. It’s none of those things. It’s a privilege. Apart from Aura Guy. He makes it a bit of a strain.