I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
Swine flu in your town!!! Don't touch anything!!!
This morning, Gay Panda made the mistake of watching PETA’s Boyfriend Went Vegan commercial.
It was ignorant and offensive and despicable in more ways than Gay Panda will list, but left me thinking of the three vegans I have seen up close. Three is not a respectable size for a sample pool, and one of the three was the cashier at Trader Joe’s who thought a vegan diet was Corn Nuts and Dr. Pepper. Though she identified as vegan and I respect the labels people select for themselves, I don’t really consider her one.
The second was a coworker. She was a teacher in her late twenties who would never have touched Corn Nuts and Dr. Pepper. Having done more research than the cashier, she’d lived as a vegan for years and wrote a vegan cooking blog. What struck me before I even knew how she ate was how ill she looked. Her complexion was gray, she was quite gaunt, and Saturn would envy the rings under her eyes. At lunch she pinched thin crackers in her bloodless fingers and dipped them slowly into hummus, talking about how vibrant she felt when she looked like she was one degree shy of room temperature. Maybe she had other medical issues. I don’t know, and it was not my place to ask.
The last was a girl at my college. She was short and busty and muscular and loud and friendly, screeching your name across the quad even if classes were in session and running over to give you a hug. Her schedule always had far too many activities packed into it and she attacked each one with enthusiasm, from class to dancing to checking out guys. She even slept with gusto, and I loved being caught up in the whirlwind of her life. For years she’d been a vegetarian, and then in junior year, she decided to become a vegan since everyone knew it was healthier and more socially conscious. It would help her lose those extra pounds, too!
She launched into veganism with the same enthusiasm, throwing herself in full-force, reading everything ever printed and putting it into practice. And then this lovely whirlwind of a friend started to wither away. In time, she was too weak to attend class, let alone screech your name across the quad and run over to throw her arms around you. Her body was covered in bruises that would not heal, and her hair started falling out. She fell sick with a cold that would not go away, and she stopped studying and hanging out with friends because she just wanted to sleep.
After months of this, she returned to vegetarianism, her health immediately improved, and she was back to class and checking out guys and screeching, “GAY PANDA!” before running across the quad for a hug. She did not have any other health issues, and so she was either doing veganism wrong, or there was something wrong with veganism. But I can’t write a verdict off three people.
I want PETA to be an organization that I can respect, because I agree with the basic premise: animals should be treated ethically. But our views diverge on what is ethical with food, and diverge again on sexyfie-ing your diet in a distasteful promotion that tries to make a neck brace due to hot lovin’ funny.
Gay Panda wasn’t laughing.
Oof yeah, can't say I have a particularly positive view of veganism myself. Example A is my sister, who went to veganism after "recovering" from anorexia. I think the quotes explain my thoughts on the matter pretty well. She falls for PETA's gruesome imagery all the time. My sister is bloatedly thin and unable to gain any muscle or strength despite doing Jillian Michael's 30 day Shred for several months. It sickens and depresses me. Example B is her self-righteous ex-boyfriend, who is the junk-food kind of vegan. I'm pretty sure he'd live off of twinkies and Red Bull had he not been dating her for several years. He is also bloatedly thin and a real jack-ass if you ever try to have a polite discussion with him about ways of eating.
Twinkies and Red Bull? I think you just beat that cashier's Corn Nuts and Dr. Pepper.
The philosophy of veganism is very interesting to me. Lady Friend raises sheep as part of her work, and they live far better lives on her pastures than they would in the wild. From birth to slaughter they amble over many acres, receive medical care, have access to fresh and clean water, are kept safe from predators, and live happy little sheepie lives. She toured slaughterhouses herself to find the best one. Lady Friend was a vegetarian for twenty years, and ironically it was raising farm animals herself that allowed her to begin eating meat. She knows firsthand what good lives they had, and she liked what Barbara Kingsolver said about there being three types of animals: pets (won't someone please eat Windows Vista? I'll give her to you), wild animals, and livestock. The only reason livestock is created is to be eaten, so her responsibility to them is to make sure they have good lives doing what sheep like to do for as long as they are here, and quick, easy deaths.
A vegan wants to live on this Earth making as little impact as possible, and I respect that wish but I don't think it's possible. Your life has crowded out some other life, just as it crowded out one itself. I've worked in agriculture, and I don't know that you can farm without killing something. A farm is not a Disney cartoon. It would be nice, but it's not. The ideal of respecting animals so much that we don't eat them runs afoul of our own selves and the foods we need to be healthy. Anyway, I'll stop my stream-of-thought there because Avada is pecking at the house AGAIN and I need to go turn the hose on her (I mean, scoop her up and give her a really big snuggle).
I blog about living life to the fullest at The Hairy Edge. Check it out! (Or not. We can still be friends. )