What “Vegan” Really Means. . .
So, have you heard of the children’s book “Vegan Is Love,” by Ruby Roth? In it, the author explains that the real meaning of veganism is that we love the animals that surround us, and so we treat them fairly, you know, like not killing them for food.
According to the World English Dictionary, at Dictionary.com, vegan means “a person who refrains from using any animal product whatever for food, clothing, or any other purpose.” Duh. So, the real discussion behind veganism is in the why and not the what of meaning.
If you are a health vegan, awesome, good for you. If you happen to be an environmental vegan, thank you for all that you do to forestall the coming environmental apocalypse. I appreciate it. If you happen to be an animal rights vegan, then the animals, who have no voice of their own, appreciate you sending 200 fewer to the chopping block. If, however, you are like me, then all three of these matter to you.
Now, I’ve stolen this picture from Jason and the Veganauts, another vegan blog, by another male teacher (what are the odds, right?) because I think it presents the informatin is a perfectly understandable , visual way.
So, if you look to the left, under “Compassion,” right at the edge of where all three circles meet. . . no, a little down from there. Now move 1/8 of an inch to the right. . . Perfect! That little spot is where I’ll be for the next week. See, last year I got convinced (read, cajoled and coerced) to go on a mission trip with the youth group at my church. They were going to Chicago to do service work with under-served neighborhoods. Well, long story short, I didn’t want to go, got convinced, went, and loved it, so I’m in for round two this coming week. Eating vegan will be a bit of a struggle, but I see lots of PB+J in my future, which is ok, because I love peanut butter.
So, what the heck am I actually talking about here? Well, it’s this: If “Vegan Is Love” and “compassion” is really a part of what we do when we vote with out plates, when was the last time that we spent some time showing that same compassion to the human animals around us? Don’t get me wrong, I hate them sometimes too, but if every animal deserves a fighting chance, then doesn’t every person deserve the same?
So, look, if you’re purely a health vegan, feel free to ignore me here, and if you’re purely an environment vegan, also, please, call me bad names until you come back for more recipes (and maybe another cat pic) later, but if you’re like me, and you started as a health vegan, and then found out all the terrible stuff that made you at least in-part a compassionate vegan, then think about it, and the next time you go to the local farm animal sanctuary to spend your time, think about the human animals that need your help and compassion as well. Maybe spend some time helping them. Trust me, you’ll appreciate it more than they will.
If you do, indeed, come just for the recipes, I’ve included what I expect to be the most common meal for me over the next week:
Perfect PB + J
2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted very lightly if desired (if you don’t have whole wheat, any bread will do, but remember, many white flours are bleached using animal products)
Peanut butter – at least 2 Tbsp, more as desired for taste
Jelly or jam – roughly 1 Tbsp, adjusted for taste (Most types of jelly will work, but avoid mint jelly or petroleum jelly).
- Take the two slices of bread, and lay them flat, opposite each other.
- Using a butter knife or a spoon, spread roughly even amounts of the peanut butter on each slice. Be sure to cover both pieces of bread entirely, as the peanut butter is used to creat a “jelly-proof” barrier so the bread doesn’t become soggy.
- After cleaning the knife or spoon thoroughly (like on the edge of the bread, scraping it on the crust) apply the jelly liberally, avoiding the outer edges of the peanut butter, to one slice of bread, leaving the other with just peanut butter.
- Lift the “just peanut butter” slice, peanut butter side down, and position it above the “peanut butter and jelly” slice.
- Lower the to slice of bread on the the bottom slice, and press together firmly around the edges, ensuring the peanut butter touches, creating another “jelly-proof” barrier around the edges of the bread.