There has been a lot of talk, discussion, agreement and disagreement within the Vegan Community about Jennifer Lopez and her recent decision to become vegan.
The star told New York radio station Z100: ‘Being vegan, it’s basically no diary, no meat, everything is plant based and from the ground. Butter is the one thing I miss!'” ” She said: ‘You do feel better. I do recommend the vegan diet because you wake up and feel great!’
Don Robertson, a vegan whom I greatly admire, lends his wise voice to this recent announcement.
Great News! Actress and singer Jennifer Lopez has shifted to a total plant-based (vegan) diet. It’s a wonderful cause for celebration when a person takes such a huge step toward a healthier, sustainable, and more peaceful way of eating. Still, some vegans will insist, that since Jennifer has linked her dietary change mainly to health, fitness, and feeling good (apparently without mentioning animals) on finding her at fault for not being a “true vegan”. I would hope that before we make such dismissive comments we might consider the extent to which we think they might encourage non-vegetarians to connect with vegans through Facebook or local Meetup groups. If the answer is very little or none, we might reconsider our efforts.
My reply to his comment is not polished or edited ( I fixed a couple of typos and misused pronouns). I would love it if you would take a look and let me know what you think.
“When I first became vegan I, like many others, did not understand the scope of what being vegan means. I knew that my goal was to end the suffering of nonhuman animals, but I still wore leather shoes, would bow to pressure in social situations and so forth. In other words, I limited my veganism to mostly what I ate. I am happy to say this is no longer the case.
I applaud people who decide to become vegan, but I do believe there is a spirit inherent in this choice and I do believe that the intention behind it needs to be advocacy for the freedom of nonhuman animals. As we learn more, we fine tune our choices and become true vegans. This is a journey of discovery. And that is laudable.
I think there is a danger inherent in calling a plant based diet a vegan diet, because it is simply not the case. We risk making veganism about us and what is good for us, thus diluting the message. I just don’t think there is any wiggle room.
I am happy for Jennifer Lopez; I am happy for the nonhuman animals who will not be tortured now that she is eating a plant based diet. I hope that she will embrace veganism in its truest sense. But, if she is taking this journey other than for the sake of nonhuman animals, then she is not really a vegan.
Intention is everything in this issue. We must set our intention and let our journey flow from there. Mistakes made along the way become a part of that journey and that is okay.
This is not a question of being exclusive as a vegan. I am all for compassion, understanding, encouragement and inclusion. But, if we do not make the distinction, nonhuman animals may be spared in the short term, but will suffer in the long term.
Think for a moment about the word “baby” and all that its definition means to us. We love our babies, take care of our babies and do what is best for them, because they need our protection. We sacrifice much for them. If we were taking care of our babies only because it was good for us, do you think we would do such a good job?
Language is so important, especially in life altering issues. Why do we think mothers and babies of species other than human are called sows and piglets, cows and calves, by the farming industries? Do we think any of us would treat them as commodities if we were allowed to remember that they are beings with the same relationships we hold so dear in our own lives?
I would love to be able to reach out to Jennifer and congratulate her on her switch to a plant based diet and to offer her some help in understanding what veganism really is.
Annie’s Vegan View
But, I do not feel that clarifying, in a respectful manner, the definition of veganism is, in any way condemning the people who misuse it, whether by design or by error.
Protecting the integrity of the definition of being vegan will help people to choose veganism for the sake of the nonhuman animals and the suffering they endure at our hands. Veganism is not about us or for us even though it does benefit us. Therein lies our salvation.
May all beings be happy and free.