Oh, She's *not* Vegan?


Some explanations are in order with this whole change in the tune of Oh She’s Vegan.

I’d like to start by saying I’m a 23 year old human and this is a point in my life where SO MUCH is shifting. Lots of changes are taking place, there’s a lot going on, I’m learning who I am and what that has to do with the person I want to be. I strongly believe in being the change I wish to see in this world, and so far 23 has been about learning to appreciate gray areas and release the need for perfection and absolute black-and-white. This is something that has shifted in every area of my life and has impacted me not only in my diet but also in who I am as a wife, as a sister, as a daughter, as a dog-mom, a friend, an entrepreneur… The journey is shaking me down to my core, and it’s not over yet.

So, if I’m not vegan, what am I even doing keeping this blog up?

Well, I’ve been transparent from the beginning with this blog. I started it up as I began transitioning back into veganism after about a year as a vegetarian. I’ve always wanted this to be a safe space for vegans AND non-vegans to share, grow, and learn.

I believe doing our part in the world is about small, consistent, sustainable changes.

I know veganism isn’t the solution for everyone, and as an Idaho native from a poor family and a small town in a community that relies heavily on home-steading and hunting for survival and in an area where vegan alternatives are not readily available and are not affordable for the working poor (from both a financial and a time perspective- and if you’ve never been a single parent truly below the poverty line, you do NOT get to speak to this, nuh uh.)… I understand the importance of animal products to a point.

I have a lot of respect for many farmers, bee keepers, and homesteaders who consume a great deal of animal products. I think it’s a more complicated issue than “either your love animals or you’re a shitty person who eats and harms them.” I know how appealing that perspective is when you’ve seen animal hurt and it’s not fucking fair, it breaks my heart too and I’ve been there. I’ve spent years there. But there’s another side to the story.

Personally, I am able to survive well and do my part in this world while consuming a minimal amount of animal products. I feel that consuming eggs from the backyard chickens of my loved ones is not an evil act. I believe consuming honey from local bee keepers is a sustainable habit that works well for my specific community and for protecting the bees in this region. The issue of the bees dying is about more than just the honey industry.

There’s a lot I’m still learning, and my perspectives may change over time.

But for today, I believe that effective and impactful change takes place across entire communities. I believe it starts at home, but I also believe that if I do absolutely every single thing I possibly can from home, and then have no energy or time left to do my part in the community and be part of the true movement, than I’m really not making any difference in the big picture. Those corporations and industries take no hit at all by my individual decision to strike against them. The couple hundred dollars I don’t give them each year means nothing in the grand scheme. Our society works on the decisions of the many.

I know that the individuals make up the whole, so as an individual I strive to educate myself, share my experiences, and get the conversation started. Beyond that, I make reasonable and responsible decisions to do my part as a human being. I want to see less shaming in this vegan movement, I want to see an evolving community approach to our lifestyles and consumer habits.

Ethics aside, my health requires me to be more flexible in my lifestyle.

Honestly, I don’t feel that I need to explain myself to anyone here so I’m going to keep this brief. My physical and mental health are at a point where I need to be kinder to myself, I need to honor the effort and work that I do, and I need to make sure I am taking adequate care of my body and mind. Where I am with my health requires that I be more flexible, sometimes it requires more calories and nutrients than I am able to get on a vegan diet without a massive time/money/energy sacrifice that isn’t sustainable or healthy for me to be making.

So, what now?

I’m not vegan. But I do love the animals, I do love the planet. I do know that my body runs best on a plant-based diet. I know animal agriculture is destroying the resources humans and many other species need in order to continue surviving on this beautiful rock. I still believe in a plant-based lifestyle, but with a reasonable amount of flexibility- because I believe in sustainable and consistent change over the roller-coaster extremes that don’t change a thing in the long run.

This means you’re still going to see plant-based lifestyle posts here! You’re still going to see activism and encouragement. You’re still going to see green posts and ideas. There’s still going to be herbalism! It’s just going to be more sustainable, more open to all humans- not just those with a vegan stamp of approval. I’m still going to be transparent with my journey and I’m going to be here doing my best day in and day out.

That’s everything you need to know.

If you feel called to share your own perspective or journey in the comments below, please feel free! Anything hateful will be removed, but I encourage those who disagree or who have strong opinions to share respectfully. I love hearing your thoughts, let’s open up the conversation.

-Jessica @ohshesnotvegan