Opinion: Elfy Scott on veganism
Average Joe Veganism and why the Naysayers can Fuck Right Off.
I would consider myself a thoroughly devoted follower of something I like to refer to as ‘average Joe veganism’. I’m unfaltering in this faction of the vegan revolution, which is easy, largely because I made it up. It is essentially an idealism fashioned purely for my laziness and lack of fanaticism. Average Joe veganism is ethical, environmentally sound and resolutely raises a middle finger to the masochistic notions of clean eating and raw food dieting.
My vegan diet originated at Peat’s Ridge Festival over the New Year; I was not converted by the hemp-clad stoners, the colourful tents emblazoned with Buddhist symbols I failed to understand nor even by the Hare Krishna’s stall that provided a meal the size of the average torso for $10. Rather, the definitive truth that altered my eating consciousness, in the most profoundly transcendental way, was the swarm of goddam MILF’s gracefully escorting their four-year-olds around the festival, looking effortlessly stunning and (I can only assume) making very attractive liberal love in their camps at night. These high-assed women were the sun-soaking, shorty-dropping, agave-swillin’ poster girls for my dietary revelation. They were all vegan and they were all going to be the subject of many a wet fantasy from their sons’ high-school friends in good time – what decent women does not dream of that I ask you? The declaration that my opting for veganism spawned from pure vanity is enough to make any meat-eater scoff in my direction and I suspect, provoke any PETA member to beat me down and fuck me in the street.
However, my motivation for clean eating and transforming my body into a tanned fuckhouse of a woman quickly faltered when I returned home, rapidly came to the conclusion that my favourite food is unmistakably chips and abandoned the whole premise. The veganism stuck though and six months later, my body is suffering as wildly from the effects of saturated fats and sugar as anybody eating a typical omnivorous Western diet- just with a slightly alleviated moral conscience (which you’d happily acknowledge, if you’ve ever participated in being a human, isn’t really worth jack). I vehemently dislike the concept that veganism should be so intrinsically associated with clean eating, spirituality, neo urbanite hippy ideology, eastern religion or anything else an upper middle class white woman in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs will spout at your bewildered face before charging you $8 for a raw vegan brownie that tastes like a muesli bar infused with a large amount of soil. Veganism should, in all rights, stand simply as an informed life decision that is not embroiled in pretense, it should say in a firm and unassuming fashion, “these are the facts and this is my personal choice in light of both the environmental and ethical considerations. You can feel free to continue doing whatever on earth you please as long as you are happily informed of the consequences of the product you are eating as well as its origin”. Simples.
I thoroughly appreciate vegan or vegetarian establishments that function on the concept that people following these dietary regimes may well just want to eat in a similar vein to the rest of the population, simply without the animal products and thus respect the very same blessed demand that has only ever steered food businesses to international acclaim: “I want that fried and I want it in my face. Now”. It is exciting and wondrous to compile lists of the hideous artery-massacring foodstuffs that a vegan can still cheerfully consume; being my primary concern, most potato chips do not contain animal products, Pringles, Oreos, Lindt dark chocolate and (this required me to triumphantly slam-dunk my bags on the ground alone in a supermarket), goddam Hundreds and Thousands biscuits. The list goes on. Thank the lord for companies that guiltlessly pump naught but artificial flavours and preservatives into their food to make certain that bullshit’s going to last until the end of the millennia. Average Joe veganism isn’t exactly the most stringent ideology either. If my best friend leans over with a gourmet ice-cream and insists that it is so incredible I truly just have to know what it tastes like, girlfriend’s going to find out what it tastes like (on this occasion I have referred to myself in the third-person as ‘girlfriend’, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did). If I am ordering a meal out and I find they have put dairy in my meal without any prior warning, I’m not going to fall off my chair, participate in some casual bulimia or demand a replacement. Why? Because as it turns out, I’m just as ethical in my treatment of hospitality workers as I am in my approach to animals (they are ultimately similar in their inhumane chaotic conditions and being forced to deal with the outright worst treatment humanity can throw their way). Save the hospitality workers.
An issue that I’ve stumbled upon several times in social media and found to utterly irk me is the idea of condemning veganism for simply being a fad and ignoring it on that basis. Let’s get freaking real; a large portion of our everyday behaviour is the result of a fad, including the clothes you wear, the colloquialisms you use, Facebook and giving blowjobs. Trends are consistently apparent. Diets will always fall particularly victim to an ever-shifting landscape of both scientific research and societal body expectation but veganism will remain discernably healthier, more globally conscious and morally respectable than a large faction of the dietary fads that sweep the impressionable population. Regardless of the duration of this trend, it will continue to benefit by taking demand off meat, dairy, fishing and egg industries, no matter how minimally in the long-term. If perhaps a fashion diet erupted onto the global stage that involved sawing baby arms off and barbequing them for consumption, people may well be justified then in taking offense (although, contemplating it, good source of protein and a nice upper-body workout).
I’m not attempting to advertise for veganism, I respect personal choice as much as any individual really should, I simply believe that in respect to food, as in respect to all other goods that we consume, that it isn’t all that difficult to simply self-educate and make informed decisions. If you should so choose to continue eating meat with that knowledge? Absolutely fine, it is your decision; it just makes you a terrible person and in all practicality, there’s not all that much wrong with that. As much as I respect the meat-eater’s choice, they should equally respect mine and that of all vegans or vegetarians; if you should find yourself arrogantly waving a piece of bacon at somebody over a meal in a taunting fashion, know that you deserve to and will likely get kicked in the shins. Hard. It should also be made abundantly clear that despite my personal interpretation of veganism and the large amount of hot chips I tend to consume in a week, my ass really has never looked better.
Words by Elfy Scott