Recently, I had someone ask me why I use the term vegan or why I call myself vegan. They felt as if calling yourself vegan was not being inclusive of all diet paths.
I have never used the term vegan as a way to make myself feel superior to others or as a way to put others down. To me, the term vegan is too important.
When I first went vegan it was overnight. I just suddenly knew I needed to stop eating animal products. There was no forethought. I hadn’t even really considered ever being vegan before that night. For me, it just clicked that what I was eating was having a terrible effect on the world around me.
I wasn’t really sure what a vegan was or what being vegan entailed. I just knew that I would never eat meat again. That was eleven years ago and I haven’t touched meat since.
I never labeled myself vegan at first and was afraid to say I was vegan. Even eleven years ago, veganism wasn’t super mainstream. There was still a lot of negativity around the term. People would ask me if I was a crazy vegan like those PETA people.
I was afraid to tell people I was vegan because I didn’t want to be judged, but also because I didn’t feel like I deserved the title. I thought you had to be this perfect vegan and have all the right answers.
Turns out, you don’t need to be perfect and you will never have all the right answers.
It wasn’t until my second year as a vegan that I embraced the term. I felt secure that I was going to stay vegan, I had done research into veganism, and I became passionate about being a vegan.
I learned just what happened in factory farms, I knew how large an impact that eating animals has on the environment, and I learned how great plant based nutrition is for our health.
I wanted the world to know that I was vegan. I wasn’t ashamed to admit that it was my lifestyle and passion. I wore the term vegan as a badge of honor. Something that I earned by making the choice to abstain from meat and animal cruelty.
I got more involved in vegan issues. I changed my major in college to environmental chemistry to study how we can fight environmental damage caused by animal agriculture. I later changed my major again to biochemistry, to study the effects of nutrition on the human body. I focused on plant based nutrition.
At some point though, I hid from the title vegan again. I had been vegan for several years and drifted from the passion I had for veganism.
I stayed vegan. I knew that I loved the way I ate, I loved how healthy I was, I liked being vegan. The thought of ever turning back to meat was never an option. I couldn’t even stomach the thought of eating meat again.
There was something missing that I once loved about being vegan. If you have been vegan for a while, you might understand where I am coming from.
Part of me chafed under the title. I was like the sideshow everyone stopped to see. I come from a small town where being vegan wasn’t the norm. At work, I would always be questioned about my lifestyle. I was told every day that they admired what I was doing but they could never have that kind of lifestyle. I felt defeated sometimes after some of these conversations.
I have never been the vegan that tries to push my lifestyle onto anyone else. I don’t bring it up in conversation. If someone wants to discuss veganism with me, I am more than happy to answer questions.
I thought by announcing I was vegan that it would turn people off. I didn’t want people to think I was judging their lifestyles or looking down on them. I don’t believe eating meat is right. I think we would all be healthier, happier people if we didn’t eat meat. That isn’t something I ever brought up in conversation, but part of me thought that they would know I thought that if I mentioned I was vegan.
For a couple years, I was the quiet vegan. I just went about my life and most people found out I was vegan on their own. There were always questions and I answered the best I could, but I didn’t push veganism on anyone.
This last year I started the broccoli chick. I have been passionate about health for a long time now and loved having the outlet to share my knowledge and to keep learning about new topics every time I write a post.
When I launched the broccoli chick, I knew it was going to be plant based, but I never used the term vegan. I was afraid to say I was vegan because I thought it would turn people away from my blog or alienate my readers.
At first, the broccoli chick was going to be an all-around health and fitness blog that tackled topics ranging from nutrition, yoga, workouts, and plant based recipes.
My first few posts were general nutrition posts. I thought about a nutrition plan I wanted to put together and having a vegan and non vegan option for my readers to choose from.
That was when I knew that I was going in the wrong direction. As a long time vegan and strong advocate against harming animals, I knew I couldn’t put together a meal plan that suggests eating meat. I wasn’t going to tell my readers not to eat meat, but I wasn’t going to say I was okay with it either.
That’s when I wrote my first vegan article. I was terrified to publish it because what if I put people off from my site because they weren’t vegan.
The post was How To Survive Going Vegan. It was my most popular post for 2017. In the first month that I posted it, the post got 19,000 views. That still seems crazy to me. But it showed me that I wasn’t alone in wanting to be vegan. There were others who were just as proud to say they were vegan or wanted to get into the vegan lifestyle.
After that, I embraced my vegan side fully and transformed the broccoli chick into a plant based vegan blog that focused solely on plant based nutrition and leading a vegan lifestyle.
I feel like my site is so much more authentic now. I am giving my readers my true self without holding back.
I have found that my audience has embraced me and I am not afraid to use the term vegan.
To me, being vegan is more than just what I eat. It is my lifestyle. From the food that I choose to eat or not eat, to what I wear, to the makeup that I use. Everywhere in my life, my veganism has touched.
I have always stated that becoming vegan was one of the best choices I have made in my life. It has given me so much and I want to be able to give to others what I have learned.
I believe that our actions do makeup who we are and we need to do what is right for us. What we choose to do says a lot about our character. I don’t believe that I am better than a meat eater simply because I choose not to eat meat. For me, my action of not eating meat is what is important to me.
I am not a perfect vegan. I have tried that before and it was not worth it. I want to enjoy my life and not obsess over everything I do. That doesn’t stop me from trying my best to cause the least harm though and make every effort to keep animal products out of my life.
I believe that the broccoli chick is inclusive to vegans and non vegans alike. I have many readers who are not vegan that are health conscious and want nutrition advice. They want to include more plant based foods into their lives and I think that is great.
I will never put someone down for not being vegan and will never feel I am superior just because I am. I think everyone deserves kindness.