While I just updated the “Philosophy” tab of my blog mere seconds ago, I felt it a powerful and inspiring summary of why I find immense inner peace and feel such passion toward a vegan lifestyle, and thus decided to recount it in a separate post.
An avid kale muncher, smoothie blender, chickpea fiend, avocado worshipper, I passionately extol the health virtues of a wholesome plant-based diet, in utter awe of the vast array of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes that nature bestows upon us to nourish both our bodies and souls. I launched this blog to satisfy my curious friends’ inquiries of “But where do you get your protein?”, “What do vegans eat besides carrot sticks and tofu?”, “What about ‘organic’ and ‘humane’ meat and dairy?”, and “Isn’t it hard dining at restaurants?”…among others.
While doing so, I experienced a personal vegan evolution—whereas I originally focused mainly on the nutritional superiority of an animal-free diet, my vegan convictions deepened immensely once I finally allowed myself to absorb the true magnitude of the utterly inhumane impact a non-vegan lifestyle has on non-human animals. Essentially, I became vegan for my health, but remain vegan out of a fierce desire to show non-exclusive compassion for all beings, to cause as little harm as possible to the world around me and all of its inhabitants, and to help others on their journey to an enlightenment that our industrialized, profit-driven, meat-centric society constantly works to shroud.
In response to those who consider veganism “restrictive,” I’d urge them to consider that I made a conscious decision to stop eating animal flesh and secretions because it felt completely anathema to partake in the exploitation of animals, in a corrupt billion-dollar industry, and in food that would intensely hinder my health. It’s not restriction—it’s liberation.
I entitled this blog “Farmers Market Vegan” out of my fervent appreciation for the cornucopia of seasonal, organic fruits and vegetables grown mere miles away from my hometown of Madison, WI, which in turn spawned my desire to both study sustainable agriculture in college and to begin cultivating my own vegetable garden in the hopes of becoming as self-sustainable as possible.
However, after proudly declaring myself a “locavore” for quite a while, I realized that many proponents of the locavore movement also ardently support the impossible ideal of “ethical meat,” and thereby conveniently ignore the violent slaughter of non-human animals inherent in a society that manipulates voiceless creatures for selfish gustatory pleasures, as well as choose to romanticize images of “grass-fed, poetry-read, tucked-in-bed” animals raised within shouting distance of the homes of those who consume them. No matter how local, organic, or “humane” a farm claims to be, the fact remains that these terms are all but entirely unregulated, that the animals are only allowed to live out a fraction of their potentially fruitful lives, and that any agricultural operation, whether local or on a factory farm, contributes to the notion of non-human animals as inferior beings.
Thus, I yearn to reclaim the term “locavore” and instill it with new connotations that are compassionate to the environment, to health, and, most importantly, to the animals. Allow us to truly live off the earth and its bounty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, rather than off the mangled carcasses of those who share the earth with us.
-Until next time, Ali.