Why it’s ok to not be a ‘perfect’ vegan

Unable to do the same job more than 3 hours in a row, I am a freelancer in the media industry, that means I am a journalist, a comedian, a columnist and a radio, web, and TV host! For the past few years, I’ve been happy to tackle topics that are close to my heart, such as the environment and feminism. I am proud to be part of the Plant Posse Earth’s Own, because I am convinced that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is mostly achieved through the food that we eat. For me, assisting a local AND vegan company is EXHILARATING! It is vital that such plant-based alternatives (which use so much less resources than their animal counterparts!) are accessible and appealing to all segments of society!

For two reasons: I have trouble digesting several types of legumes and cruciferous vegetables, but also because if I create a roadblock on my way, I will inevitably, a few months later, have a devastating urge to succumb to a bite of cheese in a moment of weakness or after drinking a few alcoholic beverages (my attention deficit has broad shoulders) at a Christmas buffet. I am a person with many nuances, who knows herself inside out, and everyone around me benefits from my flexibility.

Don’t worry: my flexibility stops where choices begin. What I mean is that if I’m offered a vegan option, I take it. (Unless it contains zucchini. I have a poor relationship with zucchinis.)

Okay, enough vindication. The truth is that I admire vegans, I aspire to be 100% vegan, but I just haven’t gotten there yet.

In fact, I completely agree that if everyone became vegan, the Earth would be better off. In fact, according to a report on food and climate published in the American journal “Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences”, global food-related GHG emissions would fall by 70% in 30 years if we all made the big leap towards an exclusively plant-based diet.
However, the truth is that we, the ” enlightened generation ” , are parachuted into a world where meat has been at the heart of traditions (at least in North America) for hundreds of years, and where the immediate halt of activities on 70 to 78% of the world’s agricultural land (that’s the percentage needed for animal farming) is almost… impossible.
What is undoubtedly needed is a shift.

Better to be an unfaithful vegan than no vegan at all

In my opinion, the first thing we should do as a society is change our relationship with meat. When will the era of veganism, or at least vegetarianism, become the norm and omnivorism the exception?
I am convinced that ordering, buying, cooking, taking a picture of a steak, a chicken fajita, a glass of cow’s milk or ribs should always come with a little sense of guilt. Or, in a happier perspective, with the impression that animal-based food is only for special occasions, like Christmas, for example. And that they have been chosen carefully, with an ethical and environmental awareness.
Some people refuse to follow a diet with little or no animal products because they are afraid of having to give up foods that comfort them. But why not say: “I’m going vegan, except for goat cheese, organic white fish and my dad’s beer chicken.” (Say it in your head, not out loud. It’s really going to create unnecessary misunderstandings otherwise. For real.)
To reduce greenhouse gases from the livestock and dairy industries in the long run, it makes sense for a company to start at the very beginning of the vegan continuum. For example, switching to oat or soy milk is an excellent start if we want to give the billions of cows that are being mistreated every second for our lattés a well-deserved rest.  Encouraging companies that offer vegetable substitutes for our BBQs or even replacing honey with maple syrup when possible (we are in Canada after all) are small gestures that help us move forward, as individuals and as a society, in the continuum!
If all governments, restaurants, farmers, grocery stores and individuals got involved, maybe in 30 years, we will be so far along this continuum that veganism will no longer be an option: it will be the foundation of our diet.


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