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Vegan vs. Vegetarian

I’ve been a content vegetarian for some odd tenish years. Never have I thought about giving up dairy products. As a little girl, milk had some sort of enchantment, and there was even some pre-bedtime tradition in a glass of milk. Like most people, I always thought cows and chickens would produce milk and eggs regardless. Well, because, they do. But what people don’t consider is the unnatural way these animals are exploited, abused, confined. Though hens would be laying eggs naturally, they would not be prisoner in the same 1 foot space the entirity of their lives on a self-sustaining farm. Ten years I’ve lived without even considering giving up cheese or eggs. These were always my go-to protein sources. This doesn’t fail to make me feel bad, now that I have a college education and all that. Now that books, blogs, and news headlines are so easy to access.

On a whim, I decided to be a trial-vegan with my friend Emily, who was also going from vegetarian to vegan. And I’m amazed to discover with a passion for home cooking and zesty ingredients, I’ve hardly even missed the cheese. Sure, milk and egg products are in practically everything (prepackaged oatmeal, some veggie cheeses, soysauges, soups. condiments, EVERYTHING).  I will try to minimize my personal consumption now that my trial vegan era has ended. I can continue buying soy cheese and rice milk. I can start using (always only local free-range eggs) when I bake cakes. When a recipe tastes the same without eggs or milk, I can choose to use those instead. I’ll do these things, but I ultimately won’t rule out the culutral necessity of being vegetarian not only vegan around friends. So while I might personally stay semi-vegan, I will be honest and say that while out socially, I will be vegetarian. So when friends and I are on our third beer on a Saturday night, and they want to order pizza, I’ll say “okay.” And I’ll probably be really enthused. The best I can do for now is have awareness, and avoid brand-names that are notorious for animal crulety. The result of my musings:

Vegetarian + Vegan – Vegan + 1/2 vegan= Hardcore vegetarian /Softcore vegan

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