Incase you have missed it, or not been on Facebook for the past few days, Alexandra Jamieson has decided that she is no longer vegan, and proclaimed it to the world in a blog post titled funnily enough, I’m not vegan anymore.
Not surprisingly it has started all sorts of discussions in different groups and forums, and getting more than a few comments on the post itself. Some of the comments as you can expect have been a little less than pleasant, and others have been supportive of her, though most of those have come from people who are not vegan or claim to be ex-vegans.
This leads me to ask the almost obvious question. Is there such a thing as an ex-vegan?
Answering this question, I would have to say no. Because in all honesty, if you can become an “ex-vegan” you honestly never were a vegan in the first place?
Ms Jamieson’s regression does raise a few interesting points worth considering.
For example, after being vegan for 13 years and initially doing it for her health, why hadn’t the connection been made regarding the social justice aspect of veganism?
Of all the discussions I have had with those who are already vegan regarding the reasons why others go vegan, the common consensus is that those who do for health reasons are more likely to fall off the wagon so to speak, and revert back to eating animal products. If this is indeed true, it does point to a failure of ‘the movement’ to agitate, educate and motivate them to the other ‘parts’ of being vegan, thereby allowing them to come to the belief that it is just about them and their food choices.
Personally, I don’t see any reason why an individual who goes vegan for health reasons cannot make the connection to become a legitimate animal rights proponent.
Using myself as an example, as I openly acknowledge that I went vegan for health reasons after reading the book ‘Fit For Life’ though I guess that the difference for me was the ‘cut finger epiphany’ that I had which opened my eyes up to the actual plight of other animals. The epiphany probably had a greater impact on me because I had previously taken part in killing animals.
I am not suggesting that those health vegans go out and kill an animal or two to ‘make the connection’, what I am suggesting is that we in the movement take responsibility for ‘keeping these people vegan’ and opening their eyes up to the bigger picture of veganism.
Mind you, any reasonable person would have thought that after being vegan for 13 years, and having the high profile that she enjoyed, that Ms Jamieson would at least have done a little bit of home work on her own to educate herself about anything that is relevant to being vegan. Her failure to do so does indicate that she was only doing it for ‘herself’, and possibly to create an income stream, which she seems to have done. It could also be that with this blog post, Ms Jamieson is ‘re-inventing’ herself to become more ‘acceptable’ to a wider market. Could there be a paleo book coming out soon?
I should also point out that Ms Jamieson incorrectly quotes Ellen Degeneres by saying that Ms Degeneres mentioned she had been eating eggs on her show. What Ellen actually said was that she gets her eggs from someone who has backyard chickens.
If we take anything away from the article that Ms Jamieson has written it is that we should be listening to our bodies more, and taking the “morality, perfectionism and rigidity our of our food.” Well, if that is the case, and despite it being 08:00 as I write this, I feel like a beer and some chocolate cookies. Be back soon!
Sadly, and despite being vegan for 13 years, I really don’t think Ms Jamieson ‘got it’ and truly understood what veganism is actually about.
Veganism is not about making sure the animals that are used for food are killed ‘humanely’, nor it is about having a place where we can begin to have more compassion for ourselves and each other all the while forgetting to extend that compassion to those who are consumed.
All that this heartfelt ‘coming out’ has done is reaffirm Ms Jamieson’s place in the hostile food-culture that she seems to be against.
She has just re-affirmed that our diet isn’t about WHO we eat, it is about WHAT we eat; that if we attach warm and fuzzy labels to food and our behaviour like ‘humane’, ‘compassionate’ and ‘conscious’ it absolves us from all guilt and responsibility for the life that was taken; that our ‘wants’ are more important than the ‘needs’ of those who have no choice as to whether they become part of the animal agriculture industry.