How Vegan is Vegan Enough?

A question I frequently ask myself is, “How much should I worry as a vegan?” In other words, “How extreme should I be?” An Instagram user I follow, who refers to himself as a vegan anarchist, really brought this question to my attention the other day: He made a post about Oreos, which are arguably one of the few vegan junk foods available, and proceeded to explain that Oreos are not vegan because they have the potential to come in contact with milk, which means that Oreos could contain small traces of a dairy product. His post made me wonder if he was too extreme, or if I wasn’t extreme enough in my beliefs about veganism. So, these are my thoughts on how vegan I believe the average person can and should be.

James Aspey, undoubtedly one of my favorite animal advocates, lies on the more extreme end of veganism, at least in my opinion. He is well-known for taking a vow of silence for an entire year, whilst travelling Australia, to illustrate how animals are voiceless and, in turn, how we can be the voices for the voiceless. In addition to this, James participated in a rigorous 25 hour tattoo session to campaign for animals. (You can learn more about James and his campaigns here.) While this is an admirable act, it would be unrealistic for most of us to follow his path. Many of us have jobs, families, and other extraneous factors that may prevent us from being able to take a vow of silence, travel around the country, or get tattooed, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be vegan.

On the opposite end of the scale, there are many vegans who practice veganism on a very superficial level. For instance, Kylie Jenner allegedly went vegan over the summer of 2017. I’m not sure if she continued this diet, but I recall reading several articles questioning the motives behind Kylie’s new dietary choices (Google it for yourself, and you will see). Many people questioned if Kylie truly understood what it meant to be vegan, as many people are unaware that veganism extends beyond consuming a plant-based diet (If you’re curious about what I mean by this, I encourage you to explore The Vegan Society’s definition of veganism here). Vegans who fall into this category may need to become more educated, and thankfully, there are a lot of resources on the Internet that vegans can use to improve on a day-to-day basis, and as I mentioned in my last blog post, becoming vegan is a learning process.

Right now, I find myself somewhere in the middle of these two: I’m doing something, but I could always be doing more. I avoid meat, dairy, animal products, and other items that may be products of animal cruelty. But could I be doing more to participate in an activist role? Perhaps go beyond telling other people that I’m vegan and actually explain to them why I’ve made this choice? The answer to these questions, and many more, is yes. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will ever reach the ranks of James Aspey , and right now, if anyone is wondering, I still eat Oreos because I am not afraid of potential cross contaminants with milk, but like I said, I am always learning and may change my mind. What’s your opinion? How vegan is vegan enough? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

The featured photo was taken by Kyle Broad. Find more of his work at unsplash.com.

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “How Vegan is Vegan Enough?

  1. Great post! I was thinking about this the other day, after seeing a lot of foods which were vegan-friendly but were not labelled as vegan due to cross contamination. For me, I don’t really mind as I think it’s quite hard to find products which aren’t created in the same place where food with dairy products in them are. I feel as long as I’m not consuming animal products myself then that’s fine for me 🙂 x

    1. I’m glad to hear that another vegan feels the same way. The only way to truly avoid potential cross contamination would be to go raw vegan, or at least that’s how it seems to me. I’m not quite ready to take that on at this point, but perhaps I will in the future. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

      1. No problem 🙂 I think raw would be so hard for me, I do eat raw snacks and those cold compressed raw fruit and nut bars but I don’t think I could ever go totally raw- props to you though if you ever do because I think it’s so impressive !! 🙂

      2. I agree. I occasionally travel, and I think that finding food during travel would be the most challenging aspect of going raw. If I do ever decide to go raw, I will definitely share it here. 😀

  2. I think if you’re making an effort, that’s great. There is no use in aiming so high that you’re miserable or driving others away by being evangelical in your veganism. I try to avoid cross contamination but no one is perfect.

  3. I am glad you shared your views on this – there is such a spectrum! I became vegetarian about a year ago, and am slowly, but surely, transitioning to veganism. There are many moments of feeling overwhelmed, and guilt at times. Hearing others going through a similar process is refreshing, so thanks for posting!

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