Is there a difference between being vegan and eating plantbased? What is the distinction between these two terms? I will explain why I chose to change the word vegan to the word plantbased on my new website. Passionately Jen – The Healthy & Fit Lifestyle Blog. Because I believe in being inclusive. And I applaud everybody’s own personal efforts towards living a healthier, fitter and more sustainable life.
It’s my 4 year Vegan anniversary!
Today, August 1 2020, it’s been 4 years since I accidentally went vegan. Accidentally? Yes, if you would have told me 4 years ago today that I would go vegan. I would have laughed at you and tell you that you were crazy. Why? Because I loved everything non vegan: cheese, steak (tartare), oysters, lobster, cheese oh and more cheese. If you want to know the whole story about why I went vegan, you may read it in my other posts. These old blogs are also on this website, click here.
From VeganFitGirl to Passionately Jen
People that know and/or follow me know that my Instagram account name used to be @jen_veganfitgirl. Not so long ago, May 18th, I changed my name together with the launch of this new Healthy & Fit Lifestyle blog. In my first blogpost for my new website I wrote why I wanted to change my name. Being Jen “veganfitgirl” meant that if I was blogging or posting anything not related to that, I would not be sticking to my ‘niche’. Not staying true to your niche is very ‘wrong’ according to every blogging handbook you will find! And since I don’t like to exclude anything in my life, especially not what I am most passionate about. I decided to change it to Passionately Jen. The Healthy & Fit Lifestyle Blog.
Many people have asked me why I dropped the ‘vegan’ part and was I still vegan? The answer to that question is a bit complicated. I am just as ‘vegan’ now as I was on May 17th. This has not changed, and I do not expect this to ever change. I find it hard sometimes to not be able to go along with the mainstream. However I also do not see myself eating meat or fish ever again. Yet I did decide to change the word vegan to the word plantbased. Let me explain to you why I did this.
It’s a lifestyle
First let me share with you the definition of veganism. “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” (*www.vegansociety.com)
Being vegan is not a ‘diet’ or a trend. It is a lifestyle. True vegans try to not use any animals or animal exploitation for anything in life. Most non vegans only thing this relates to food consumption. You don’t eat meat or fish or other product that comes from animals such as dairy, cheese, eggs, etc. However, it means so much more. It also means actively trying to not use animal products or activities that promote animal cruelty. Such as vegan cleaning products, vegan clothing, vegan make up. But also for example zoo’s or other activities where people make money by using (and therefore abusing) animals.
Vegan for my Health
I went vegan for my health. Not consuming animal products made me feel so much better, lighter and healthier compared to when I was still consuming meat and fish and dairy and eggs. I didn’t like this at all because I loved eating meat and cheese and everything. But I loved the way I was feeling when I went vegan cold turkey (no pun intended) more.
Over the past 4 years through educating myself by watching documentaries, reading articles and talking with other vegans I also saw the other positive effects of a vegan lifestyle on the planet.
The meat and dairy industry is one of the biggest benefactors towards global warming. We cannot keep consuming and using animal products like we do now in the West and other upcoming countries if we want to meet the objectives set out in the 2016 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Diet Carbon Footprint
The effects the use of animal products has on climate change is called the diet carbon footprint*. “Avoiding meat and dairy products is one of the biggest ways to reduce your environmental impact. According to recent scientific studies. Switching to a plant-based diet can help fight climate change. This is according to a major report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This says the West’s high consumption of meat and dairy is fuelling global warming.”
* BBC news article August 9, 2019: Climate change food calculator: What’s your diet’s carbon footprint?
Vegan for the Planet
Therefore, my reasoning for going vegan now also includes being vegan for our planet. In my day to day life I do try to strive for a sustainable lifestyle. I wish to keep learning, growing and improving every day. I am not perfect, and I never will be perfect, but I am proud of my contribution towards a better, more sustainable and healthier planet. Even though I realise my actions are very small, they still counts.
Plus I don’t have a car (atm) and I don’t want children so that makes me almost perfect in the eyes every environmentalists, right…??
The perfect lifestyle?
However, if you want to be a ‘true’ vegan you cannot just stop at not consuming animal (products) . Or by trying to lead a sustainable lifestyle. No, it is so more. And the people that will hold you accountable, are the people from whom you would expect this inability to be compassionate about your “better” lifestyle the least: other vegans.
Go check any vegan blog, Facebook group or other vegan community. Instead of being positive and proud of every person who is trying to make even a small change in their lifestyle to benefit the animals, they condemn them. To these vegans it is never ever good enough.
A few examples.
Did you discover this new super delicious peanutbutter and do you want to share this with other vegans? Oh no you are wrong to do so because this product includes palm oil and they exploited monkeys for that!
Found a new cute handbag made out of 100% recycled plastic found in the ocean? Oh no but it is made with glue which may be derived from collagen from pig and cow bones.
Did you bake the most delicious vegan red velvet cake for your birthday? Oh no you used red food colouring which is 1. not healthy and 2. most red food colouring is made out of carmine. This is derived from tiny red parasitic scale insects. Don’t you know this?
Had a horrible night where you could not sleep because of the mosquitos buzzing all night? Yes, but you could not possibly even think about killing those mosquitos so you just had to deal with it. I am not joking. Mosquitos should never be killed, this is animal abuse and therefore wrong, according to some vegans.
Hence my point that you can never ever be a good enough vegan. There is always another thing that you need to do or think about or change if you really want to call yourself a true vegan.
And that is the exact reason why I changed from being vegan to “98% plantbased diet.” Because I can never ever meet the strict lifestyle rules that these vegan tyrants have set. Both for themselves and other people. And to be honest, I don’t want to be a ‘true vegan’ that way.
So yes, I still eat a 98% plantbased diet. When I have the choice, I will choose products that are vegan over products that may include animal products and/or animal abuse. I will be conscious about my impact on this planet and my carbon footprint. However, I will get on a plane and not feel quilty about this when I go backpacking again. Of course, if I have the option of taking a different more environmentally friendly form of transportation, I will choose the latter.
Call it what you want. Vegan, plantbased, insane. I don’t care because this is my life and I choose to lead it the way I want to. Nobody is perfect!However I hope everybody will make it their best effort to be as perfect as they can possible be. But perfect in their own opinion.
What can you do?
Now having said all this, I hope to have maybe peaked your interest into a more plantbased – sustainable – diet. I never expect anybody to be convinced by me to follow in my footsteps and opt for a totally plantbased diet.
But with this website and blog I do hope to have made you a little bit more conscious about the (food) choices you make every day. Perhaps you are now interested in learning about how you can change your diet carbon food. Even by only replacing one meal per week by a delicious healthy nutritious plantbased meal!
I therefore highly recommend you to go here where you will find many delicious recipes that are all completely plantbased. I promise they don’t look “vegan”. Like this recipe for delicious blueberry and raspberry bananabread. Because eating plantbased is so much more than eating only tofu, trust me….. 😉
Love, xoxo Jen