Do you have questions about being vegan? Send them
to Jo using this easy form.
She would be happy to address your individual concerns
as well as general inquiries about vegan ethics, philosophy,
practical applications, and living compassionately.
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I am thinking about becoming a vegan.
I have really bad allergies to milk and other things.
I have read that a vegan diet can make your allergies
better and my mom is very supportive and thinks it would
be a good idea to try it. My dad on the other hand is
also very supportive, but he loves meat. I am afraid
that this would be weird for my family and friends.
My brother thinks that vegetarians and vegans are crazy.
Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this with
sounds as though you are contemplating adopting a total
vegetarian diet -- not a vegan lifestyle -- because
of concerns about your allergies and health. It is important
to acknowledge the difference between an animal-free
diet and a compassionate lifestyle because one is rooted
in the head and the other in the heart.
When people make dietary changes based
on theories about what is best for their health, there
is no impetus to maintain the diet if their health declines
or their hypotheses prove false. Tinkering with what
you eat or don't eat to determine what makes you feel
better doesn't involve an ethical commitment to anyone
or anything outside of yourself. It is a choice that
can change in an instant, especially if opposing medical
concepts surface. True veganism, however, is a lifestyle
-- not merely a diet -- based on the moral conviction
that all living beings are sacred.
Our culture finds it easier to accept
dietary deviations due to health-related matters than
preferences based on principle. There is no need to
argue for a way of eating that reverses the progression
of a disease, prevents an allergic reaction, facilitates
weight loss, reduces your cholesterol level, improves
the condition of your skin, or enhances your overall
sense of physical well-being. Who could contest this?
Where is the controversy? No one would insist that you
return to a meat-based diet if it would impair your
health. Meat eaters might say they feel sorry for you,
but they would not condemn you.
Alternatively, modern society views
moral precepts as elective and therefore capable of
being modified or discarded whenever they are inconvenient,
disruptive, or unsettling to others. In fact, our culture
sees this as not only reasonable but necessary in order
for individuals to function as part of the greater whole.
As a result, people who choose a principled lifestyle
are often forced to defend their beliefs and practices
to those who see their tenets as optional, not imperative.
To be considered "weird" because one
aspect of your life -- your diet -- alleviates a health
condition is deemed defensible. To be labeled "peculiar"
because of who you are and what you assert is another
matter altogether and one that is much more difficult
Your family does not want you to endanger
your health, regardless of whether or not they choose
to eat meat. If your decision to avoid eating animal
products makes you feel better, I presume that your
family would be happy for you.
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