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Little Essays on Being Vegan: Am I Tempted?

The short answer is no. No, I am not tempted. I do not crave meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or other animal flesh or products. I only rarely buy the fake meat products made for vegans.

Have I enjoyed many culinary pleasures made of animals and animal products? Damn right I have. Do I miss them? No, not really; and when I do, it is the rare conflation of sentiment, tradition, smell, and memory that might make me pine for some omnivore’s delight.

When I first made the commitment to become vegan almost two years ago, I binge watched documentaries on health, industrial farming, and food policy in the US. I voraciously read as many books as I could get my hands on. The book Food Over Medicine: The Conversation That Could Save Your Life by Pamela Popper and Glen Merzer has been very influential on me. Parts of that book stick with me still, especially when asked if I miss foods made from animals or animal products.

I used to love café lattes, but now all I can think about is all that pus in milk and cream. I used to love ribeye steak, but now all I can think about is the movie Fast Food Nation, based on the book by the same name – a movie so graphic and disgusting, I have only watched two-thirds of it. I used to love tuna fish sandwiches and sushi, but now all I can think about is how gross it is that somehow people have figured out how to arrest the natural rotting of fish corpses and put it in a can.

One of the “side effects” of going vegan and eating “clean” is that one’s sense of smell becomes extra sensitive. Walking past restaurants is like being assaulted with a pan of grease. The air is thick with the oily smell and far from making me salivate, I feel the urge to get away. Fast. On my best days, I feel neutral; most days I feel a bit nauseated.

Do I mention these things to my omnivore friends and family? Of course not. I was taught something called manners and it isn’t polite to critique someone else’s tastes. Who cares what I think about what other people eat? It’s not my business and no one asked me anyway. I would rather have a root canal with no painkillers than make someone feel shitty about their eating habits (or anything else related to personal taste for that matter).

So no, waving a plate of cooked animal carcass under my nose will not tempt me. Nor will ice cream, cheese, or any number of other dead animal products tempt me. I will however wonder how you never learned any manners.

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