I’ve been vegan for about three months now, and while I love it for the most part, I’ve noticed there are a few concerns that I repeatedly think about.
For example: When I see non-vegan food on TV that looks tasty, or if others are talking about something I don’t eat, like cheese, I often find myself questioning whether I can say that it looks or sounds good. If I say, “Oh my god that looks so delicious,” or, “Oh yeah I love brie cheese too,” am I contradicting myself? As a vegan, am I allowed to say things like that? I feel like a hypocrite by thinking, let alone saying out loud, that foods I have consciously decided not to eat for ethical reasons looks/sounds good. I find myself holding back from commenting on food I can’t eat as a vegan, afraid of what others may think if I say something.
I’ve also been considering reintroducing seafood into my diet. Out of all the foods I no longer eat, I only miss seafood. As someone with a Japanese heritage, I love things like sashimi, shrimp tempura, and takoyaki. I feel like by cutting out seafood, I have cut out an important aspect of my culture. Another reason is my mom makes a lot of seafood dishes at home, and I feel guilty not eating what she loves to prepare and cook for me. However, if I do decide to start eating seafood again, does that make me a horrible vegan? Am I completely defeating the purpose of veganism by making an exception for seafood?
I’ve also noticed that a lot of vegans extend their animal-free lifestyle to things like lotion, beauty products, and clothing. Is consumption of all animal-free, cruelty-free products across all aspects of life necessary to be a true vegan? Does it make me less of a vegan if I don’t?
I have so many questions, and I feel like I don’t really have anyone to discuss them with. And while State College has lots of different types of people, veganism has yet to catch on. It’s hard to be a vegan when it seems like no one around you really understands it, and there’s no one to go to for support. I’m wondering if there’s any other vegans out there who have gone through similar anxieties or have questions like mine.
What does it mean to be a true vegan? I’d love to hear your thoughts.