Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Am I a vegan? + My personal calling as a caretaker

Natalyn, are you a vegan?

For the longest time, I've wanted to know a simple way to describe my diet to people and to myself, for my own peace of mind (I'm the kind of person that is tempted to put a box on everything). Even though it's always changing - sometimes raw, sometimes detox, currently gluten free, experimented with "flexi-vegan" in December - I always stay within certain boundaries I have subconsciously set up. For example, to this day, I can't bring myself to eat meat (I stopped eating meat a year ago) - it has become both an ethical and a health decision, and each day I make a subconscious, free choice not to eat it.

Truthfully, most people call me a vegan, and when asked by others, I have usually confirmed that: "yes,   I am vegan..."

But am I really?

That question has been bugging me for a while now, truthfully. One of the things I have mentioned on the blog before is my consumption of honey. All my life I hadn't found one source out there that would convince me to drop honey and other bee products from my life. Furthermore, I've heard from so many sources that honey is a healthy food and continue to believe that until I read enough evidence against it.

But I've always had to clarify with people. "Well, I'm vegan kinda sorta, because, well, I eat honey... and sometimes I make other exceptions with my diet..." One of my health teachers once asked me "Is there even such thing as a 'kinda sorta vegan?' I sure didn't think so."

I didn't know how to answer these questions simply until today, thanks to this blogger:

http://www.vegetus.org/honey/nomenclature.htm

The blogger explains that the difference between being a vegan and eating the vegan diet can actually be quite big. Veganism is a lifestyle that stretches far beyond diet. It's an attitude, and a conscious decision to abstain from the use of all animal products out of "moral concern for the animals" (vegetus.org)

After this, as if reading my mind, the blogger perfectly answered the question that has been boggling my mind for the longest time now:

"Additionally, anyone who eats honey, yet refers to herself as a vegan, makes life difficult for other vegans--it's like having someone who eats fish and calls herself a vegetarian. When a vegetarian comes along, it is much harder for her to explain that fish is not acceptable for vegetarians." (to see the blogger's definition of veganism, including this quote, click the link I posted above). 

Interesting perspective, right??

It's nice that I finally got to read a vegan's perspective about this subject, because it now makes sense why I am not an actual vegan, but I do try my best to follow a whole foods, plant-based diet (which, in my opinion, includes honey since it's sourced from plants that the bees process).

Will I stop eating honey after reading this? Eh, probably not. It's too delicious, and I still have hope that it's healthy. I would need a lot more evidence before I took that plunge. But I do take comfort in the fact that the raw honey I buy is from a local, pretty much organic source that nourishes their bees properly. 

So there you have it, folks. Surprise. I'm actually not a vegan! 

... but let me clarify something.

Just because I'm not an official vegan does not mean I can't participate in caring for this planet.

Which leads me to my next subject, another thing I happen to be moderately passionate about: the health of this planet. 

I have been raised with Christian morals from the day I was born, and among the generous wisdom one can find in the Bible, there are verses in there that confirm that humans were meant to be stewards of the earth. Caretakers, to the plants, the animals, and each particle of water, soil and air that nourishes and blesses all those who dwell on this beautiful planet. 
Even though we live in a sinful world, I still believe that this responsibility God gave the first humans still applies to us today. 

Each one of us on this earth has our own strengths and weaknesses, as well as a unique calling. For example, my calling is to eat foods that are, generally, nourishing to both the body and the planet, and to share that knowledge with others one day when I'm ready. I also have a calling to be conscious of how I use certain resources - I always try to recycle things when I can, and I love to buy eco-friendly things. 

Vegans are so special because they are taking their calling - being kind to all the animals - and applying it to how they eat, what they wear, what they say and do. That takes a lot of commitment and dedication. That's why I write so much about veganism and about vegan restaurants, eco-fashion, and recipes - it's just a beautiful way of living to strive for (or even reach, if you have thee self-discipline, which I don't).

However,  you do not have to be vegan to consider yourself "qualified" to be a caretaker of this earth. God has qualified you. That's what matters. :)

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Well, that pretty much sums up what I wanted to talk about today. I hope you didn't mind my ranting - I'll try and post a recipe up one of these days I'm not so busy with these new classes (which are amazing, by the way! Dietician shadowing hours for the win!!!). 

What I love about blogging is the peace of mind I feel when the pieces of the blog fit together. It makes me happy. 

Thanks for your love and support. 

Much love,

~Natalyn