Is The One Who Is Vegan, Happy?

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Here’s a serious question I’ve been mulling over; is anybody who is vegan really, truly, actually, happy and fulfilled?

If you’ve met somebody who is a practicing vegan, you probably know within the first few moments of interacting with them that they’re not ashamed to wear this badge. It’s often a point of pride, a defining characteristic about their personality. They might tell you that since changing their diet, they’ve never felt better–Sure, I can believe that, if you incorporate the self-congratulatory psychological effects of successfully setting a goal and completing it, this statement isn’t all that outlandish.

However, they also might insist that they don’t miss the foods that they’ve cut out of their diets. Sorry, but here’s where you lose me. I just don’t buy it for a second. Unless you had a genuine aversion to cheese or meat, or honey, to begin with; this is a justification which makes me call bullshit. One might stand by their decision to go vegan because of the moral implications, or the sense of control and accomplishment it awards, but once you start telling me that you just don’t miss sushi, or a hamburger, or a nice roasted chicken, that’s where the whole thing gets fishy.

Of course, there is no problem with being healthy! Or with making decisions that that resonate positively in your body and soul. However, the brand of veganism that has infiltrated popular culture seems to do neither. More often than not, this diet seems to be a cheap guise for disordered eating, or an indoctrination into a trendy cult of lifestyle specialists. Furthermore, ethics arguments in this context often fall moot–because, when it comes down to it, there’s a whole lot of unsavory practices in produce farming as well; from the carbon footprint of buying unseasonal fruits and veggies, to the human rights impact on underpaid and overworked farmhands. Believe me, that Spring vegetable, quinoa salad that you’re eating in the middle of winter isn’t as clean and innocent as you might assume.

Here’s my main thing: you can eat what you want, and still be healthy! Any diet that is restricting entire food groups is problematic in my book. Upping your intake of fruits and vegetables is wonderful–but why do it at the cost of a hamburger? Especially if that burger is coming from a cow that was ethically, locally, raised and benefits small business in your community.