Food For Thought

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Why I Tell People I’m Vegan

Eric Baron, 11/11/2014

Consuming animal products or not is a personal choice. Most would agree that, regardless of your diet style, it’s better to go for the organic meats and fish, or eggs that come from free range chickens. And even when we can agree on that from a health standpoint, it’s still easy to get into a heated debate about animal rights.

But that’s not why I’m a vegan. I avoid animal products for health reasons (to lower inflammation inside the body; and to consume fewer overall calories while making my total calorie intake more nutritionally dense). At this point in the conversation people usual have a look of relief on their faces. Or they’ll actually say, “Oh! Health reasons? Well, that’s okay.”

Of course it’s okay—and if you don’t eat meat or fish or dairy, or any other food I haven’t mentioned, for that matter, because you believe it’s cruel or unethical, then that’s also okay.

Though what I want to point out is that I tell people I avoid animal products. Not that I don’t eat them entirely. And sometimes, in order to avoid the fully exhaustive explanation of why I eat the way I do (about 95% plant-based and 5% animal products, and that’s if I want them), I tell people I’m vegan.

It’s sneaky of me, I know. But it let’s me get some peace. Of course if there’s someone who I think is interested in eating this way, has a natural curiosity or may in fact really be able to benefit health-wise from such a diet, then I’m absolutely more forthcoming.

And then sometimes it backfires. Usually I happen to be out with friends, and one of them is groaning with pleasure over this piece of fish, or another can’t stop talking about the special blend of seasoning on this chicken (which better be salt-free, by the way). And so, if I’m inclined, even as my friends stare and point and tell me later how I “succumbed to a craving”—which isn’t true—I have a taste.

It’s kind of like getting to have your cake and eat it too. Except I usually save that for weddings and birthdays.

How do you describe the way you eat? And how do you communicate that to family and friends? Share with us by commenting below.




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