[Lifestyle] Being vegan in veganuary…

It’s an odd experience for me.  I was shopping in my local supermarket (needed some vegetarian suet for dumplings) and was piling in the vegan goodies, along with a few treats (Ma Baker’s flapjacks are yummy imo) and I did happen to notice a couple of trolleys with a mixture of vegan/non-vegan stuff.  It made me feel quite awkward.  Here’s why.

I’m all for a move to try something new – Veganuary is a rapidly ascending movement to help counter excessive meat and dairy consumption, and people who commit to it should be commended for trying.  If they only do the month, well, it’s a little disappointing to me personally, but hopefully it’s enough of a positive experience that they should revisit it at some point and push it further than just a month at the start of the year.

There’s two primary concerns I have with Veganuary – one is aimed at the focus of the event itself, the other is more a personal reflection.

1: Veganism is not just about food.

Sure, being vegan is a lot about food, but it’s not the be all and end all aspect of being vegan.  From the Vegan Society’s website:

“A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism (bold emphasis mine)

There seems to be a big push towards vegan fast foods in veganuary, which isn’t entirely surprising.  The vegan diet isn’t really given to fast foods as such – although there are bad foods that can be consumed to excess.  But look at the companies/products coming out.  KFC with their “chicken” burger, already causing concern with a number of reports of vegans being given actual chicken burgers instead.  Gregg’s introducing another savoury, along with their vegan doughnut.  Chicago Town’s vegan pizza.  McDonald’s veggie bites.  Pizza Hut’s Pepperphoni pizza.  Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice cream.  Supermarkets producing their own brand vegan ranges.  All good as options or treats, but not necessarily healthy.  Part of our dietary problem is the mass of over-processed/junk foods that make food preparation quick and thoughtless.

But wait a minute, I hear you think.  Weren’t you complaining about veganuary being just about food?  Why yes.  Have I mentioned all those new vegan non-food products?  No.  As of writing this article, I have found nothing announced.  No personal hygiene products.  No clothing lines.  No shoes.  No household items.

As I quoted above, veganism aims to remove animal exploitation for food, clothing or any other purpose. I’m looking for new walking shoes now my old non-vegan ones have finally worn out.  Has any major shoe manufacturer jumped on the veganuary bandwagon?  No.

This leads me towards my second point:

2: Being a vegan in veganuary is weird.

So there I was, at the start of this article, shopping away.  Getting my usual vegan foods.  Seeing people putting some vegan foods in their trolleys was great, but it highlighted a personal thought.  I wonder if people see me putting foods in the trolley as being a participant of veganuary, despite being vegan for well over a year now?  Am I just seen as a ‘trendy’ who is probably going to be another person who stops at the end of January and returns to an omni lifestyle?  (My personal answer is no, obviously).  Come February I wonder how many vegan products carry on being eaten/purchased, how many people continue on with the lifestyle?

It made me curious.  How do vegans see themselves during veganuary?  Do you see yourselves as being part of it, silently observed as a fad follower, or are you able to distance yourself from it, being committed to the lifestyle in all it’s forms as much as possible?

[Lifestyle] Happy New Year!

So it’s finally 2020.  We’re living in a post-Blade Runner world, which seems a little odd to me.  Blade Runner was a dystopian future, something that took typical sci-fi concepts and turned them on their head.  Flying cars?  Check, but they’re limited.  Augmentations?  Sure, but there’s no wildlife left either.  Anyway.  It’s now 2020.

I’ve restarted my blog here to try and write a little more often.  It’s hard when you’re dealing with things like I am – mental health issues, work stress, uncertainties owing to Brexit and other political shenanigans despite the ever-increasing climate change threat.  It’s like seeing Nero fiddle whilst Rome burns.  But I also try to remain optimistic.  I’m still a vegan, and for multiple reasons.  It’s been very beneficial to deal with the IBS-like symptoms I have had for years.  I feel more ‘ethical’ in my food and clothing choices, although I will be having to deal with the difficult issue of motorbike gear. Fortunately I tend to wear textiles for my main safety gear, and my new motorbike helmet has no leather parts.  It’s just boots and gloves, the latter of which will need replacing shortly.  I vowed to used what I had so I could transition the gear a piece at a time.  So some research into vegan-friendly biker gear will be needed during the next month or so.

Honda CRB650FAs I’ve changed bikes, I was really wanting to get a full set of “leathers” for summer recreational riding, but this is another challenge I face.  Sport bikes and textiles aren’t exactly the ideal combination in terms of aesthetics.  Speaking of motorbikes, I’m still waiting on the return of my bike – having spent nearly two months at a repair shop because some blind idiot in a 4×4 decided that knocking it over was the best way to get out of their parking spot.  I was fortunate to spot them driving off without leaving information, got their registration before they drove off again after admitting fault.  Dealing with the police, insurance and trying to make fresh travel arrangements to my sisters wedding was a big pile of stress I didn’t need at the time.  Fortunately, they must have admitted responsibility as the repairs were authorised, and all seemed to be going well.  However the last couple of stages (road test, detailing, valet) have been slower than expected, so it’s now running about 2-3 weeks behind schedule.  Here’s hoping the new year will see a return of the white beast to my hands.

My minimalist mindset is needing some attention – I have been coasting along with things, and still have so much to do in terms of sorting stuff out.  Some things in my life need to be tidied up (I do like my books it seems) and some things still in boxes need dealing with and moving out of my life to charity shops, recycling, etc.  So this is an area I will be exploring once more and something I’ll be writing about occasionally as well.

All in all, despite the issues we’re facing as a species, planet, country, etc., I’m hopeful for 2020.  I’ve made a number of positive, challenging steps in 2019 and want to continue those further.  I hope you follow along with the progress, in whatever form it takes and wish all the best to you, my readers in this coming year.