A Caring Rebellion This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

October 24, 2007
Vegans can be defined as strict vegetarians who do not eat meat, dairy products, and eggs. This definition, though, only touches the surface of what a vegan lifestyle entails.

Vegans not only abstain from consuming meat or animal byproducts, but they also do not wear wool, fur, and leather, and a majority also take a stand against related issues such as animal testing, vivisection, sexism, workers’ rights, and animal equality. Veganism is a compassionate rebellion in that the goal is to break away from culturally conditioned perceptions about food and live a life that minimizes your harmful impact on Earth and all its inhabitants.

Research is accumulating that meat-eating and mechanized farming methods are harming the environment, contributing to world hunger, and detrimentally affecting the health of consumers. By avoiding these industries, vegans build healthier and more sustainable life habits that benefit our planet and increase their longevity.

What’s the point, though? Many critics of veganism claim that one individual can’t break the institution of flesh consumption. Every revolution faces opposition. Yet the very presence of strong, healthy vegans is a ­testament to the success of such a lifestyle. Hardly a day goes by that I’m not engaged in a discussion about my eating habits, and questioned – even harassed – by curious classmates. One vegan individual can ­create cognitive dissonance in a room full of omnivores. If one person is made to reconsider the morality of his or her actions, if only for a moment, that is a success for compassion.

A person’s ethics and motivations are results
of his or her individual experiences or consciousness, but it’s safe to assume that vegans are unified in their wish to make a difference in the world through everyday choices. Instead of buying a cosmetic that was tested on an innocent animal, a thoughtful ­vegan opts for products with a cruelty-free promise. A vegan understands that the animals the world thoughtlessly exploits have the capacity for suffering and enjoyment and wishes to end the perversion of life that Western industry calls “nutrition.”

It is my goal as a vegan to be a ­living demonstration of my consistent choices as an individual, and to ­encourage others to do the same.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 13 comments. Post your own now!

vegan_bunny said...
Mar. 29, 2016 at 11:06 am
This was an exceptionally well written account of what it means to be vegan! I am vegan myself and I can easily relate to that desire to fight for compassion for all beings and for the sake of our precious planet. I do however feel that many readers may mistake some of the text in the article as a means of making vegans seem "perfect". Obviously no one is perfect, but being vegan is not about that, it is about doing your best to lessen your impact on the world and living compassionately. Yes, ve... (more »)
Mtizzle said...
Jan. 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm
how does meat eating cuase world hunger idk but i glad that you but your opinion out there good job
CyberLydii replied...
Apr. 19, 2012 at 7:31 am
It doesn't cause world hunger; it contributes to it. The wheat and grain and corn that goes to feeding animals that people eat, could go to starving people instead :)
TerraAnimusPatronus replied...
Apr. 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm
true true you iz right
savetheplanet said...
Aug. 18, 2011 at 11:48 pm
This is a beautifully written piece that has helped me understand the entirety of what being a vegan means.  Both my parents are omnivores and my dad especially likes to eat meat.  Since I can't move out until I'm older, I have to continue to eat with their lifestyle.  However, I continue to encourage more vegetarian meals and buy animal-friendly products.  While I don't think that I could ever become a vegan, when I move out I will try diligently to become a vegetarian or at... (more »)
swcricket98 said...
Jun. 27, 2011 at 12:51 am
Not to be offensive, but you are making it out to be as if vegans are saints or angels that never touch the Earth in a negative way. Vegans tamper with the Earth as well, and not all non-vegans are bad people that suppost animal cruelty. I grow my own food, and raise my own meat, but does that mean I am harming the Earth by eating the meat and drinking the milk from the cows and eating the eggs from the chickens? No. This means that I am eating what gives me a lot of nutrients to keep me as heal... (more »)
Stargirl212 said...
Jun. 28, 2010 at 1:38 pm
I understand this, and appreciate it, but I hope you do realize that everybody who is not a vegan is not a bad person. I'm not vegan, or even vegetarian, but that doesn't mean I support animal cruelty or whatever.
jcb_ replied...
Mar. 29, 2016 at 11:20 am
I must point out...To say that you do not support animal cruelty but that you are "not vegan, or even vegetarian" is a rather inconsistent statement. Assuming you are an omnivore - an individual who does consume animal products - would entail that you contribute to the suffering of animals abused and slaughtered in the animal agri-business. How is supporting slaughter not considered animal cruelty? Mind you, I am not writing this to start an argument, I am simply trying to develop an understandi... (more »)
Bethani said...
Mar. 24, 2010 at 9:15 pm
i understand completely with the soda. ever since my back surgery two years ago, i try not to drink soda and my family doesn't quite understand or my friends.
montana said...
Dec. 13, 2009 at 11:23 am
Yes I see what you are trying to say, but remeber vegans also hinder Mother Earth just like everyone else.
v_bunny_yoga replied...
Mar. 29, 2016 at 11:28 am
Of course, everyone has some impact on the planet. Being vegan is not about being "perfect", it is about lessening your impact and living compassionately to the best of your ability. It would be next to impossible to have no impact. In fact, you would have to never have existed to do that. Everyday things have some sort of an impact, but living compassionately greatly reduces the harm caused to the earth and all of its inhabitants. Instead of focusing on what can't be done, we should focus on wh... (more »)
swimmergirl said...
Aug. 8, 2009 at 7:41 pm
This is great testament to what it means to be a vegan. I am what you might call a partial vegetarian, this is because I eat meat but opt against it whenever possible. I also don't drink soda, I am often made fun of about this simple choice, but what my friends don't understand is that it is just plain bad for you.
B-star7 replied...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 1:12 pm
I understand what you're saying, but I hope you know, just because some one eats meat or isn't a vegan, doesn't make them bad. I'm not even a vegitarian. But, I don't think animal testing is right..
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