I’m no longer vegan.

Search “vegan” on Google, and you’re likely to stumble upon some helpful information…and a ton of controversy. What’s most shocking is that the controversy so often stems among so-called “vegans.” No wonder so many, like myself, are no longer vegan. By that, I mean I’m not about claiming myself with the “vegan” title. I instead simply exist plant-based.

There’s still plenty of argument over animal agriculture and ethical values. Humanity evolved relying upon animals for food and resources, so it’s understandable to doubt “regressing” away from an animal-dependent lifestyle. While you’ll find research to verify any point of view, we can hopefully agree that we should live the healthiest life for us. Each unique individual and their unique bodies and needs cannot all fit into one neat box.

But with vegans and non-vegans alike, we find reasons to cause issues. Most of time, it’s probably just to hear ourselves talk. “Vegan” has a lot of extra strings attached that a layperson wouldn’t even fathom considering. One step over the line, one teensy little detail, and prepare for scrutiny.

So, you’re maybe curious: why am I “no longer vegan”? I love everything veganism stands for. The positive impact veganism has on fellow living beings and the environment we share is profound. I just think a lot of “vegans” are giving us plant-based folks a bad rap.

expecting perfection

No longer calling myself vegan means I can hopefully escape a constant investigation of my human musings. Veganism isn’t all about diet: it can include clothes, household products, cosmetics, entertainment, and more. Heck, some people even put their pets on vegan diets (would not recommend).

Whether you’ve been vegan for a day or ten years, you’ll inevitably make mistakes. We’re preaching compassion, and that goes for one another, too. Sometimes there are no other options. We forget to read an ingredient list or clothing label. We receive gifts that might not align with our values, but we’re still accepting and grateful for the generosity.

Social media in general puts every teensy detail under a microscope. People are quick to call out whatever they don’t like. Quick to shame and rant and judge based off one post they see online. Sounds a little irrational, right? That’s why I’d rather not associate myself with that attitude.

not for everyone

Let’s face it: our bodies function best under different conditions. To stay healthy, we have different kinds and amounts of foods to consume, hours of sleep per night, minutes of exercise, and amount of stress levels we need. Not taking credit for this, but humans are basically houseplants with more complicated emotions.

I’m no longer vegan, not because I’ve stopped eating a vegan diet, but because I don’t associate myself with a pushy mentality. I don’t veganism is the best option for every living being on God’s green earth. The data doesn’t lie in saying veganism is best for animal ethics and environmental sustainability, but that data doesn’t reflect how diverse health can be.

If you deal with food intolerances, allergies, digestive issues, and really any ailment that may hinder your well-being, you shouldn’t have to justify taking care of yourself. In some cases, yes, that means including non-vegan foods in your life for adequate digestion and nutrition. And that’s okay.

In my opinion, trying to be plant-based most of the time is much better than being a “perfect” vegan who isn’t actually healthy. Do your best. Make choices that follow your health and values. Again, compassion is the name of the game.

grey area

I’m always amazed by the hypocrisy in compassionate values whilst promoting black-and-white divisions. This goes back to the perfection, the unrealistic expectations. In any form of ethical practice, there’s always going to be some sort of loophole or complication that can something unethical.

Honey is still part of my life. Locally sourced, but still an “animal product.” I love cereal, and some companies source their Vitamin D from animals; I still eat it when there’s no natural equivalent. One of my favorite cardigans is vintage wool. In these examples, plenty would say I’m not vegan.

We can draw lines in the sand, throw around information supporting either party, and we can choose to never settle. At times, it feels like every vegan is, subtly or not, serving as some missionary promoting their cause until everyone’s on board. Such a concept is ignorant of accessibility and diverse circumstances.

Veganism should not be treated as a fad diet, the latest craze. Veganism isn’t something to try for a month, cold turkey (ha), and toss aside like the calendar page. You’re pursuing a lifestyle built upon awareness, sustainability, and love. I truly believe a plant-based life is one of the most compassionate, loving ways to exist.

But that doesn’t mean there’s “no excuse” for my mom enjoying fresh mozzarella or my dad sticking to his meat and potatoes. I’m no longer vegan because my preferred method of advocacy is quietly doing my own thing and letting my actions speak for themselves. Being in that small but growing minority of plant-based folks, standing firm and passionate, doesn’t need fiery words to communicate.

no longer vegan?

Was it clickbait to say I’m no longer vegan? In any case, whatever labels you might identify with can and should be fluid. You change. Your views evolve. Labels themselves are stagnant.

All I say for you is to do your research. Figure out yourself and your body. Make conscious decisions based off more than just the immediate plate of food or piece of clothing. What you choose goes far beyond your immediate view. If you believe in compassion and kindness, practice what you preach.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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