As a vegan for four-plus years, and veg for 10, I was super excited to see a dedicated vegan column. However, after reading Vegan Alert, I feel the banter is off-putting and creates more confusion on a subject that is already confusing for many.
I think the vegan community already gets a bad rap because no matter what you do, you aren’t “vegan enough” — as if there is only one way to be a true vegan. In the most recent issue, Norman and Jeannine seemed to bash Beyond Meat (frankly, a bit ironic, as the Co-op sells these products). Yes, these are more processed foods and not considered part of a whole-food, plant-based diet, but these foods are 100% vegan nonetheless. They can be great alternatives for those looking to move away from meat for ethical or sustainability reasons, even for health.
I believe we should be championing any small steps toward a more compassionate lifestyle. I have friends who have shown zero interest in veganism, but they try Beyond Meat products and love them! I fear someone newer to veganism would read this column and feel ashamed because Beyond Meat or other products aren’t “vegan enough.” I can’t help but think that someone who hates vegans would read this and validate their belief that vegans are preachy and elitist. Being vegan isn’t about being perfect — it’s about making meaningful changes to reduce harm and live in alignment with your values. I hope the language moving forward is more inclusive and supportive of any shifts towards a plant-based diet, whether that includes vegan sausage or not.
- Caroline Ginolfi