Yes, I’m vegan…

… but I’m not “that” vegan

Before summer 2016, I decided I wanted to try out the elusive vegan diet; fast forward to today and I’ve been vegan almost two years later.

I’m vegan but I don’t succumb to annoying vegan cliches: I don’t judge non-vegans, I don’t brag about being vegan, I don’t over-glorify kale and I don’t only eat salad. Heck, if you’re not vegan, that’s cool. I don’t even eat kale and I seldom eat salads. These misconceptions about vegans are gross mischaracterizations of who I am and importantly, what veganism is.

Here’s my elevator speech about why I’m vegan: “I am vegan, but I’m not that vegan. I never really liked meat so cutting it from my diet was easy. The meat and dairy industry are leading contributors to climate change and while me being vegan can seem negligible in the grand scheme of climate change, every one person counts towards climate change’s demise. I’m also healthier now, too.”

According to “Tackling climate change through livestock”, a study done by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, livestock plays a large roll in climate change.

“Livestock products is projected to grow by 70 percent by 2050,” the study stated. “The livestock sector plays an important role in climate change … representing 14.5 percent of all human-induced emissions.”

I also don’t like bringing up the fact that I’m vegan. When I do, it’s usually followed by objective glares from the askers. I honestly don’t understand some people’s intolerance against vegans. It’s ridiculous.

Yes, there are “those” vegans that do shame non-vegans, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I do too. The idea that if one vegan is annoying, then they are all is an incorrect generalization. Like in any other circumstances, get to know me and other vegans before making assumptions. You know what they say when you assume. …

Another reaction that I dread hearing is, “Oh, don’t you miss [insert non-vegan food here]?” or “Wow, I could never give up [insert favorite non-vegan food].” First, I always found eating meat gross, raw eggs creep me out and milk is just not good.

Before actually committing to the vegan diet, I was unintentionally working my way there. My first step was cutting milk; that was when I was 13 years old. I seldom drank milk so transitioning to the (superior) soy milk wasn’t difficult. The dairy industry has brainwashed people into thinking that cow milk creates strong bones. But does it?

There’s no denying adequate calcium intake can prevent osteoporosis or the weakening of bones, but that doesn’t necessarily mean cow milk is the sole provider of calcium as implied by the long-running “Got Milk?” campaign. Plant-based dairy replacements, dark leafy greens like chard and collards and soy-based products like tofu and are abundant in calcium, too.

One serving or one cup of whole milk form a cow contains 30 percent of the daily value of calcium. Likewise, a single cup of organic unsweetened soy milk (what I add to my bowl of cereal) contains the same daily value of calcium. Got soy milk?

In general, the dairy industry is a twisted faction fueled by money loving capitalists who get butthurt by plant-based companies using “milk” to describe dairy-free beverages (I could go in on the meat and dairy industry, but that’s for another time).

Why say, “I’m here for a good time, not a long time” when you can say “I’m here for a good time and a long time” by going vegan?