I watched a YouTube video this morning and in the video a vegan couple were talking about Usher(the singer) who apparently has been vegan for the past two years, and has recently changed diets, and cited expense as one of the reasons to go back to the dark, meatier side of life. I couldn't watch the whole video, because clearly Usher worrying about the expense of food is ridiculous, but that was all I agreed with. These people were going on and on and on about Farmer's Markets, and they were showing pictures of the beautiful, organic fruits that were amazing deals. And I felt like they were very smug, and that is a huge pet peeve of mine. They then went on to point out that you can live very cheaply on brown rice and bananas. And both of those facts are true, but here is where I have a problem, first of all, not everyone has the luxury of farmer's markets. Like not just maybe that it's a little out of the way, I'm talking there are cities where none exist period. And if brown rice and bananas were my only option to stay vegan, then yes I would live on those two things, but since I'm not being forced to make Sophie's Choice, I like a lot of people desire variety in my diet. I understand wanting to speak out, especially when people give up veganism, and turn around and insult it. I get wanting to defend the diet, but I feel we need to get over being smug. And to completely pooh pooh the idea that a vegan diet is expensive is not helping our cause, because no one like being lied to, and the vegan diet can be expensive, organic produce at a grocery store most of the time is much more expensive, vegan specialty items, or treats are more expensive than their non vegan counter treats, and anyone who tries to tell me different, well I guess I envy the utopia you live in. There are ways around all of this of course, and as I have learned with enough cooking practice, you can turn a bag of lentils into multiple things, so you don't feel so deprived of variety. It is the spice of life after all. I feel upset because if someone is curious about the vegan lifestyle, and looks at stuff in the grocery, notices the expense, and then watches some videos of vegans suggesting that it is not expensive to be a vegan, I could see where it could be confusing, and some vegans could be seen as a little Fox News like. And the Organic shaming is very prevalent in the vegan community. I don't read any non vegan or vegetarian blogs, so I wonder if the organic shaming is happening in the Omni world as well.
No body likes to feel judged, and I think only smug people like other smug people, so I think as vegans we need to get a grip, be kinder, and understand that not everyone has lovely little organic farmers at their disposal, and we have to stop denying that their are a lot of vegan foods that are as far as I'm concerned almost only for the one percenters out there. It's funny, I accepted a long time ago that there are certain things in life I may never get to experience due to my pay grade, but it's weird that there are foods out there that I will probably never buy or taste due to my financial lot in life.
But I want people to know that veganism can be tasty and done on the budget of a pauper, and while if you love bananas and rice, go for it, but you can also have a variety, and you won't die, or get your vegan card snatched if not every thing you eat is organic.
As a vegan, I want animals to live, and not be used and abused. That will forever be my number one intent for life. And I want anyone who is contemplating veganism to know that yes, there are hurdles and bumps in the road, but it can be done, and there is nothing more rewarding, and with a little creativity you can live a food porn filled life, and there are people that understand the frustration of food costs, and availability, and there is a support system, not a shaming smug system.
And should Usher see the error of his ways, and come back to the kind side, we want him to feel welcome. I don't want veganism to be the judgy aunt who sits in the corner side eyeing everyone, dying to say "I told you so".