People ask me what veganish means. A lot.
When I reply that veganish is cutting out most (but not all!) animal products, omnivores go on a strange bacon tangent. Or classic vegans berate me about my egg consumption. I know I’m straddling the line here. But let me assure you how absolutely freeing my veganish lifestyle is.
Look, not everything has to be black and white. Embrace the ish (in veganish) with me.
Veganish: More Harm Reduction Than Vegan Purity
Or, The Plant-Based Eaters Lament
Plant-based eating is the most accurate phrase to describe my diet. Plants and plant-based proteins make up 95% of what I eat. I like the term plant-based eater as it highlights the food consumed rather than the lifestyle led.
I am wary of diets that commingle with lifestyle. Take the Atkins diet, for example. An Atkins devotee can purchase special Atkins food, follow Atkins eaters, and join Atkins groups (online or IRL). A diet can, and often does, invade buying and socialization habits.
I don’t want the way I eat to bleed into or dictate other areas of my life. Besides, I think that’s how the Big Food and Diet industries hook consumers. Brain space is a precious thing; I don’t want mine cluttered with food contemplation.
It’s Not Fancy
With a veganish lifestyle, I focus on the nutrients. I don’t count calories, let alone log them. I don’t use fancy watches or meal delivery systems. There aren’t powders or supplements or food combination rules or macronutrient elimination. I eat cheap, nutrient-dense, whole foods. There’s the secret.
We eat about three dozen meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) in steady, planned rotation. I make the same snacks every week. Homemade hummus (an easy and cheap protein source) is consumed daily. I don’t agonize over what we’ll eat; there are just not that many choices.
Sounds boring, huh? Maybe. But, get this: food isn’t entertainment. Entertainment is entertainment. Food is food.
Getting that through my head was a mental workout that was way more important and beneficial than getting a six pack.
I Don’t Care About The Animals
The biggest difference between my veganish lifestyle and veganism is my utter disregard for animals. I consider it more of a happy accident that animals benefit from my diet, not a primary motivator.
I don’t hate animals. It’s just, I was raised the daughter of beef farmers. I see animals in a more… pragmatic lens than most.
We were a small family farm, surrounded by other small family farms. I never saw livestock being abused or living in abject conditions. But if I had, my reaction would be more, “Don’t mistreat that expensive resource,” than “Don’t hurt the cute wittle cow!”
What Do I Care About?
I care about what is being put in the livestock. Things like hormones, antibiotics, bacteria, preservatives, and salt.
I care about the appalling lobbying and production practices of Agribusiness and Big Food. The ones that bankrupt small family farms and endanger our health. Did you know that Tyson Chicken lobbied for flying (literally, in a jet) their slaughtered chickens to be processed in China and then flown back to sell on US grocery store shelves?
Not eating meat means not buying meat. I consider that voting against these heinous policies and processes with my dollar.
Veganish Means Avoiding Processed Foods
I know you guys get sick of me saying this, but processed foods should be avoided. They are stuffed with artificial ingredients that make us sick. Big Food and Big Pharma know that. In fact, they bank on it, looking forward to selling us their “health” products, like reduced-calorie food and supplements.
Avoiding processed food means not buying processed foods. Again, the voting with my dollar thing.
Many of the artificial ingredients in processed foods aren’t vegan friendly. Avoiding processed food means not consuming those ingredients as well. But, like with the animals, that’s more of a happy accident than me striving to be a vegan purist.
What I Don’t Eat
- Meat: not fish or anything, too many antibiotics, shady environmental policies, and destruction of family farms
- Yogurt: dairy isn’t that good for me, and I’d rather sacrifice my gut health for cheese than sugary yogurt
- Dairy milk: ditto as both reasons above
- Whey: from avoiding processed food
- Onion: yuck
- Eggplant: you’re disgusting
What I Do Eat
- Cheese: I just don’t have the willpower, ok?
- Eggs: cheap, easy protein and B12 source
- Gelatin: not going out of my way to eat Jell-O, but not checking labels for it either
- Honey: such a good non-white sugar and won’t bees make it anyway?
Veganish Outside My Kitchen
When I have the privilege of eating in someone else’s home, I’m vegetarian, not veganish.
I avoid the meat. To ask if a side dish was made with butter or milk, to me, is the epitome of poor taste. I would never ask someone to hop through the hoops of vegan cooking. I’ll just eat the rest of the food and not twit out about it.
Eating out and/or in front of others can be weird already. There’s diet culture, self-consciousness, costs, or other issues that can make stuff uncomfortable. Why make it more awkward?
A diet that dampens social occasions is no diet for me. I want to eat this way for the rest of my life. Having to always bring my own food or constantly asking about dairy sounds like a drag. A drag that would discourage me from being veganish.
Why My Kids Are Veganish, Too
The A Team is growing up veganish rather than vegan because of their adult selves.
What if they don’t want to eat this way in twenty years? If I don’t expose them to cheese, they could develop a lactose intolerance that will make dairy a minefield for my adult sons.
Kids are notoriously picky; it can be hard enough to get them enough protein and B12. I don’t want to make it harder (and more expensive and time consuming) with a difficult diet.
Beware the Vegan Health Halo
Hey, just cuz it doesn’t have animal products doesn’t mean it’s healthy, ok? Don’t fall into that trap (like I did at first).
Vegan chicken nuggets, vegan ice cream, and vegan pizza are just that… chicken nuggets, ice cream, and pizza (well, not actually chicken but you know what I mean). Processed food is processed food is processed food.
You can make your own veganish fun food for half the cost and twice the nutrients.
Got any more questions? Would you like to see a veganish meal plan? Let me know in the comments.