My Diet Is Better Than Yours!

The only types of labels I like are the ones that are plastered around my kitchen reminding my husband exactly where to put each pot, pan, utensil or ingredient. The OCD side of my persona enjoys nothing more than looking in my cupboards and seeing everything in its place – perfectly organised, nothing out of the ordinary. Ironically – this is the exact reason that I hate the labels we put on each other. They aren’t harmless guidelines (my husband would argue the same about our kitchen system) they are parameters – unyielding, unforgiving and often untrue. And nowadays I see it more than ever when it comes down to what we eat.

From Daniel

I Am Not Vegan

I thought I was vegan for a year and a half – apparently I was not (and never will be) a “proper” vegan. I actually experienced anger from a lot of vegans (some of them good friends) about the way my improper vegan lifestyle was damaging to the overall cause. I did not consume meat or dairy. I did not eat store bought eggs. I did however eat eggs from my parent’s hobby farm where no chicken was or will ever be killed. This – to my surprise – enraged people. In my view I was being true to the cause; I was not contributing to the negative treatment of any animals, nor environmental degradation related to food production, nor the exploitation of local/indigenous people (apart from my mum when I would force her to make me Pavlova). But I received a lot of criticism from people that I would not have expected it from. I was told that I was not as good a person as my properly vegan counterparts. I suspect that these people were trying to change my opinion/stance/behaviour but all it did was completely alienate me from a really beautiful philosophy.

What happens when you criticise someone…

See while I was looking down the end of a pointed finger (they were yelling down at me from a far superior plane of spiritual connectedness) all I could look at was their fridge. Highly packaged foods with little nutritional value. Non-organic fruit and vegetables, which have more miles attached to them than Richard Branson. Genetically modified soy. Carbon heavy plane tickets. How on earth could this person be judging me when they are committing all sorts of environmental sins? And there we have it! As soon as you tout yourself to be the Messiah of all things holy you turn a massive looking glass onto every decision you have ever made in your life. You immediately push people on the back foot while they grapple for their self-defence can of pepper spray.

Forgetting the labels and accepting each other  

In my mind I am doing all that I can. I do not support industries that I do not agree with. I do support those that I do. Such as oyster farming – it improves water quality, provides local people with non-destructive employment, and many studies prove that they do not feel pain. But in the end what I believe (and if you agree with it) does not matter. Omnivore, locavore, vegan, fruitarian, organic devotee, self-sufficient. They could all spend their entire lives criticising different aspects of their consumptive habits or they could look at all the positives of their collective diets. If people have made the conscious decision to alter their food habits for the better then they should be praised rather than demonised about the specifics. Call me vanilla or defeatist if you will but I feel that positive reinforcement beats punishment and shame every time.

What everyone should do

In my opinion there are only three things that every single person should do;

  1. Everyone should endeavour to be as informed as possible about any industry or impact that they contribute to. If you don’t agree with it – don’t contribute to it.
  2. Don’t judge. Everyone has different opinions, timelines and motivations to change.
  3. Lead by a great, happy, kind example! People gravitate towards good energy.

I am really sorry if this has come across as a rant or as if I do not like or believe in the Vegan cause. I very much do and I still apply a lot of these philosophies to my life. I just started to notice a lot of really wonderful people that are all committed to a better world, bickering over the idiosyncrasies of their respective diets. That has just been my personal experience and my motivation behind the article. I just hated that people said that I was not a supporter of animal rights because I eat oysters. Humans are like onions dammit – we have layers!!!

Steve Irwin ate meat and did a hell of a lot for this planet. Ellen DeGeneres is vegan and does a hell of a lot for this planet. Saddam Hussein ate meat and Adolf Hitler was vegetarian and I guess it’s safe to say that they have both done a hell of a lot to the planet as well. Let’s focus on the good in people hey?

Please feel more than free to leave comments. Are you a food snob? Have you been shamed about your diet? Do you think it is a good tactic to incite change? I ‘d be really interested.

13 thoughts on “My Diet Is Better Than Yours!

  1. Not bad Em. I’m a locavore-omnivore for what it’s worth. I don’t mind people having a civilised argument about the best diet. It can be interesting. But it is hard to find people who are really well informed or willing to listen dispassionately. How many people know you can heal the land with ruminants? As you say, conceited people adopt a ‘I’m morally superior to you’ approach which is boring and often wrong. The more you learn about food production the more complex it gets. For instance, what would be the environmental consequences if everyone was vegan? There would be some v. bad consequences in my opinion, not immediately obvious to the armchair environmentalist. Hunting and gathering probably gives the best diet, but those days are gone. Or will they return with peak oil etc?

    • I agree – debates and discussion are fantastic. When people are open minded and not entering a conversation thinking they know more than anyone else then it is much more conducive to making a positive change.

      While I am glad we don’t have to hunt and gather any more (i just don’t think I could kill an animal even if it was a matter of survival) I certainly wish that we took a bit of a step back from all the technology. Provide food how we used to. Grow it ourselves, don’t be too greedy, use absolutely every part of everything. Our grandparents had it right.

  2. A rant? Yes, but hopefully constructive. I don’t know where all of my food comes from, but that which I cook and eat at home is as local and organic as I can get it without being self-sufficient.

    It also helped me rationalise a few decisions I’ve been making with (of all things) my employment of late around not working with industries that I disagree with – even if that work improves their practice.

    Good to read you again, I didn’t realise how much I missed it until I saw your name flash up in my reader!

    • I am glad the post helped with your other decisions. It is so hard balancing ethics / work – especially when you don’t have a choice. I know so many environmental scientists that are truly green that have had no choice other than to work in mining companies.

      :) and thanks. I am loving being back in the blogging seat! :)

  3. Thanks for this post, Em. I am all for abolishing the labels and the assumptions that come with them.

    Sometimes we can get so caught up in our version of this world that we forget to be kind. We are all unique and human, living every day in the best way that we can.

    That deserves unconditional respect, if you ask me.

    H :)

    • Love it Hannah… and very true.

      I think if you are open-minded and kind and you apply those principles to your diet then you can’t go wrong.

      Everyone should strive to be the best and do the best they can and should be encouraged rather than bullied.

      P.s. LOVE your blog

      Em x

  4. Awesome. I’m also not a ‘true’ vegan and I don’t think I’ll ever be. And I’ve been trying harder and harder to not label myself and others for the reasons you give, and just be me and think consciously. Great post. And as Stephen said, the more you read, the more complicated it gets in many ways!

    • Complicated is an understatement. Read “The Ethics of What We Eat” … it shows just how complicated it can be but is an absolutely fantastic read! xxx

  5. Totally agree Em! As someone who recently fell off the vegetarian bandwagon (blame it on my pregnancy) I have realised that labels aside, the key to my diet is CONSIDERATION – I consider everything put in my mouth (where it came from, the process involved in making it, the delivery, the packaging etc). If my diet now includes meat, I’m still going to consider where that meat came from. I think the fact that I put that much thought into it counts the most.
    P.S. Don’t stop making those vegan cupcakes though – they’re really delicious ;)

    • If everyone did that (applied Consideration to their diet) then the world would be a much better place.

      And don’t worry – the Vegan cupcakes will continue… I have so many in the works right now given my baking obsession. Or is it called nesting? ;)

  6. meh, labels! I’m not a true ‘vegan’, either … I love me my honey! And my ‘diet’ is my diet for many a reason.

    What I don’t get about some die-hard (ha ha) vegans however, are the ones who have pets, owning an animal and domesticating it, I just don’t get how that part fits into the equation. And then those that expect the animal to be vegan too, like a cat, which is biologically destined to hunt and kill. I just don’t get that. Whatever makes the world go around, hey?

    • It is a dilemma and that is where abolitionists vs. animal rights vegans come into play.

      I don’t actually believe in abolition. One of my best mates – who is staunchly vegan – owns a dog. This dog however was from an animal shelter where it would have been put down otherwise. So I totally agree with that. But I don’t agree with making cats and dogs vegan.

      Then there are zoos. Are they cruel or bloody helpful in preserving endangered species… or both?

      That’s the thing… I think anyone who is fighting for animals, the environment or people should focus on those big evils first rather than infighting with those on the same side.

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