In a Word . . .

. . . vegan. Patsy McGarry

 

Good morning and I am sure you are pleased to meet me. I am vegan and a very virtuous person. Yes, I had pondered calling myself VVP (Very Virtuous Person) but that demands three syllables instead of two in the more efficient “vegan”. Why add to global warming!

Being a vegan, as I am sure you know, I don’t eat animals or animal products, meaning beef, pork, poultry, fowl, game, seafood, eggs, milk, cheese, or dairy products. Being an especially virtuous vegan I also avoid exploitation of animals for clothing as in leather, wool, or silk.

I dearly love animals. I’ve seen them on TV, in books, in cartoons, and from the train when passing through fields. So adorable.

Or gums, wine gums and the like. They use gelatin, an animal product. Similarly with black or white pudding (made from animal blood). Or honey. Why rob bees? Or organic vegetables grown on animal manure.

I absolutely will not sleep on pillows filled with goose down or duck feathers, or use soap (made of animal fat) or take the flu vaccine (grown in eggs).

It’s not easy being green. Virtue never is. And that’s the point, feeling virtuous.

I eat soy, with everything. Soy-based sausage, mince and veggie burgers. I drink soy milk, oat milk, flax milk, rice milk, hemp milk, and coconut milk.

Such fun!

And there’s fruit and vegetables. But I avoid avocados, almonds, kiwis, melons, and butternut squash. They rely on bees for pollination and must be transported great distances, adding to carbon emissions.

I know of the debate around figs as vegan. A female wasp may lay her eggs inside the fig and become trapped. The fig releases enzymes which break down the entombed wasp into protein. I don’t eat figs.

A vegan diet can lead to deficiency in the vitamin B-12, calcium and vitamin D, so I take supplements. It’s worth it, for the sustainable feeling of being morally superior.

I do not accept that any plant is injured in being my diet. It is provocation to declare “that lettuce has a brother” or “that plants feel and vegans are monsters”.

As for those Australian scientists who recently found that plants really do feel physiologically – who could ever take any Australian seriously?

Vegan, derived from vegetarian, itself from Latin vegetare: to enliven, be capable of growth.

inaword@irishtimes.com

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