As a veganish person, I’m doing something ordinary yet spectacular … I am generally choosing vegan or at least “big picture vegan” food for my nutrition, meals, snacks, and deliciousness, but I also don’t sweat the small stuff. Last night we attended a “Thanksgiving for Friends” dinner with about 40 people in one apartment. I hereby christen this post “Friendsgiving with Veganish Benefits.”
We brought brussels sprouts … steamed, and then added vegan butter, black pepper, and lemon juice. We also brought yams , which I had steam-baked, so they self-caramelized. I added nothing to them. It felt like a gamble to bring something so simple to a special occasion, but to my relief… people commented on how much they loved the sweet potatoes! 😊
Quite thankfully, as a veganish person attending dinner with a few friends, but mostly strangers, I didn’t have to go searching for the person who made each dish to find out if they cooked anything with butter, or if they had bacon or other bits of animal product hidden somewhere in the dish.
In a situation like this, people have brought what they brought. No one’s going to be deciding to make a smaller turkey next time (spoiler alert: killing a smaller bird next time doesn’t save any animals) because a few people at the party didn’t have any.
Alas, some VegansTM will argue until the cows come home, no pun intended, that every food decision that they make magically affects demand, and will somehow result in fewer animals harmed in the future.
At a large social gathering like this, there shouldn’t be any one be looking at your plate to see if there’s a bit of turkey on it or something with cheese or etc. People are busy socializing, no one cares whether you put any turkey on your plate or not.
And even if they did, that is … if you were very careful to make sure to only eat vegan items, and it was a big enough deal that people noticed … I don’t believe that would be helpful to animals. Why? Because it would reinforce for people the many reasons why they are so thankful that they are not vegan or vegetarian.
In my mind, that’s counterproductive. I want to encourage more people to see that vegan / vegetarian meals can work for them … and that their life can be just as fabulous (or unfabulous, depending on your preference), eating nutritious and delicious meals that are not focused on animal products.
Once people who eat meat, fish and eggs make that connection, THAT is when trillions of fish and billions of other animals will no longer need.to be killed every year, to feed humans on this planet. No animals are being saved by a very small percentage of the population being vegan or vegetarian. But a huge number of animals will be saved when billions of people who are frequent meat eaters realize that they can be just as happy choosing meat free meals more often.
An important distinction is that these people would NOT be just as happy, in our world as it is today, being strictly vegan or strictly vegetarian. And that’s why they are not.
It’s very important for meat eaters to see… just because you are choosing tacos with tofu, grilled veggies, beans and rice, instead of chicken, grilled veggies, beans, and rice, at one meal, that doesn’t mean that you have to pass up on chicken, turkey, cheese, eggs, beef, pork, fish, shrimp, or any other food item that you want to eat, at a different meal. And especially not in a shared food situation like this.
Example: you could be somebody who believes in reducing dependence on fossil fuels (you don’t own a car, you bike and walk almost everywhere, you avoid air travel, etc.). That doesn’t mean you can’t accept a ride from someone from point A to point B in a fossil fuel powered car. it doesn’t make you a hypocrite. Regardless of whether you accept the ride or not, you are living your life in a way that reduces dependence on fossil fuels. As someone living in the world as it exists today, sometimes you’re going to go with the flow and do things the way most people are doing them. It makes perfect sense.
Think about it: if you are using only 10% of the fossil fuels, compared to everyone around you, doesn’t that seem strange to feel guilty about the small amount that you are using?
For those who are wondering, … No, I didn’t eat any turkey at the Friendsgiving with Veganish Benefits .,, because I didn’t want any and because I had plenty of other food to eat. If I had wanted some turkey, I definitely would have had some, with zero guilt. As it was, some of my vegetable sides did have animal products ,,. butter, cream, bacon, oyster sauce; things I don’t normally eat.
Whatever animal products that were in the food, it was small enough or not noticeable enough, that for me, it was fine (didn’t bother me or make me squeamish).
As an advocate for animals, in a shared food situation like this, for me, it makes sense to choose what looks the best and not worry about the small details.
Remember that I am doing this (generally choosing vegan or big picture vegan food, and telling the whole world about it, so that they can get inspiration and see that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing), to help animals. Yes!
It is not because of a food allergy or medical condition. If someone has a medical condition or food allergy, that’s a different situation; they have to be very careful about what they eat because of that. Thankfully, avoiding animal products to help animals doesn’t require that type of strictness.
That’s why I’m very happy to go with the flow and enjoy my “Friendsgiving with (Veganish) Benefits.” Hurray!