I've been on a plant based diet for 8 months now and I absolutely love it. Granted that it's a challenge at times in a third world country in the middle of Africa where meat culture dominates, which I find ridiculous for a country that sees itself as Christian (we'll leave this for another time).
I live my life as ethical as I can.
To me that means eating foods which didn't come to be through the manipulation of animals. Spending my money on items which helps an individual instead of a huge corporation when possible. Wearing clothes made by caring hands and brands who don't use slave labour. I do support people buying second hand, I think it's the way to go. I do so for my clothes when possible and try to only buy new accessories and underwear for obvious reasons. I invest in my wardrobe rather than fill it with impulse buys and fast fashion. I always look up a brand before buying and do my best to make sure no animal products were used in my items.
I suffer a lot from tension headaches and body cramps so I do take pills to help me as they just don't go away on their own fast enough. I understand that most medication has been tested in animals, even though it has been said to not be helpful as most animals don't have our physiology, diet, lifestyle and aren't exposed to the same things as us. I also understand that a lot of medication does contain animal derived ingredients. I always do my best to stay clear of these things but realistically, I can't quite yet. I don't know what the future holds but I do hope that we're not to far away from labs without animals and medication without animals... But until then, I will take the medication I need to function as a basic human being.
I try my best using things until they're no longer functional. This is another part where I get into trouble and get into a grey area as I do have a few items in my collection which I bought before my ethical journey began and aren't vegan or slow fashion. I refuse to contribute to pollution by doing something so stupid as purging my life of all non vegan items just because it doesn't fit my new view, it doesn't make sense! If I bought it, I'll use it. Everything I have bought in the past year has been thoroughly looked at an researched before making it into my shopping basket.
Another thing I try to do is buy beauty products which have eco friendly packaging and where possible has the lowest carbon footprint which is really hard for me as I have to get everything sent to me through regular mail plus a courier to get to me in Zambia! I always shop cruelty free and all beauty/food/clothing I buy now is vegan without any exceptions.
The thing that pisses me off now is how negative the term vegan has become due to people preaching aggressively towards those who aren't vegan, people who haven't give thought to what they consume because they just don't question tradition. I don't agree with this behaviour under any circumstances, be it religion, diets, science, politics or anything else. Preaching aggressively will only distance a dialogue which is the most important thing we can have to get on equal ground. I often see terms as "militia vegans" or simply "crazy vegans". Being vegan, in my eyes, is vague, I think it is more of a diet with animals in mind rather than a full ethical way of living at this point. And this is why I don't consider myself vegan, I'm plant based living ethically.
We live in a difficult time where we are constantly being challenged and it can be hard to do what's right and best for the bigger picture when we are taught that having more and fast is a sign of wealth... We have been doing this for so long that the scale has tipped and many don't know what to do anymore as they're stuck with too much, with too little time and shitty health slowly killing themselves and their surroundings.
It's a horrible picture to look at when you take a step back to really reflect on what we've become and how manipulated we are. We're so disengaged from each other, so addicted to our consumption high, so blind to what we do with our bodies... And to our environment in the name of greed. This world is sick. Sick from the disease called instant gratification. We want everything NOW! And we want it cheap. No one stops to ask what they're paying for, what they're eating, what they're truly sponsoring...
Sorry if this post bummed anyone out... Wasn't my intention. I just wanted to clear things up as there has been a lot of debate online. I personally want to be reasonable. I struggle a lot with this as I contradict myself a lot due to still figuring myself out. I don't see that stopping anytime soon as I don't think I'll ever stop questioning and analyzing myself.
But there we go, why I don't call myself vegan... There's just no short way of saying it.