How to be the Perfect Vegan
Is there such a thing as perfection? By Sean O'Callaghan
For some people, one of the toughest parts of switching to a vegan lifestyle can be dealing with the feelings of 'not being vegan enough'. It's understandable. When we explore our compassion for animals, we want to do the best we can and the process of transitioning to veganism is usually packed with emotion.
Believing it is no longer acceptable that your money is directed toward companies that exploit and harm animals means you ARE ready and able to do your best. It's reasonable that you don't want to mess it up and have concerns.
This transition period can be emotionally charged, and you want to be the best vegan possible. You want to be the 'perfect' vegan.
So, let's dive into this topic with a favourite quote of mine. I'm not shy when it comes to sharing this definition of veganism promoted by The Vegan Society.
\"Veganism is 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.\" (vegansociety.com)
Learning to navigate the hidden animal ingredients in food and household products can feel daunting but this definition from The Vegan Society will hopefully go some way to calm your concerns and make you look at the situation in a more positive light.
If you are doing all you can to knowingly avoid animal products (and items that have been tested on animals), you are already the perfect vegan. Simple, right? Let's take a look at some real-world examples of doing your best to live a vegan lifestyle.
For most of us, turning to a vegan way of life means we are left with a lot of non-vegan clothing and footwear in the closet. You are not a bad vegan if you continue to wear these items until they need replacing.
Of course, you have the option of donating them to charity and replacing your entire wardrobe with animal-free shoes and clothing, if you can afford to do so.
However, most people would find that too much of a financial strain. Do what you can afford to do when it comes to your wardrobe and pledge to stop buying newly-made animal-derived shoes or clothing in the future.
Most medications are tested on animals and many include animal-derived ingredients, so does this mean you will never be the perfect vegan if you are required to take medicine or receive medical treatment?
Of course not! Jeopardising your physical or mental health does not make you a better vegan. Your decision to stop eating, wearing, or watching animals for entertainment makes you the perfect vegan.
Denying yourself crucial medicine does not. Keeping yourself as well as you can be means you are more capable of performing vegan outreach, improving outcomes for animals, and leading by compassionate example.
So, is it possible to be the perfect vegan? Sure! Chances are you are doing it right now.
Make a commitment to do whatever you can to lessen your dependence on animal products and by-products. Be a vocal advocate for the vegan lifestyle and do what you can, when you can.
Stay open to learning about hidden animal ingredients, because none of us can ever know everything and together we are better informed.
With an understanding of the difference your personal consumer choices can make, and a true desire to help animals in your heart, you can't go wrong.
Follow Sean's vegan adventures on Instagram @fatgayvegan