Are you man enough to go vegan?

As we enter World Vegan Month it's time to reconsider the vegan stereotype

Share
Related Topics

What do Bill Clinton and cupcakes have in common? Answer: they're both vegan. Clinton used to be the most powerful politician in the world and vegan cupcakes won Food Network’s 2012 Cupcake Wars  - neither exactly fit the stereotypical images that vegans are wimps and vegan baking is dry and dense do they?

Admittedly, veganism has been given a bad name over the years, it’s very mention conjuring up images of pale hirsute hippies who zip about on their bikes to spread the love. I remember the only vegan on my course (and quite probably in the whole university) turned up at our graduation ball dressed in sackcloth and sandals. He munched the night away on trail mix while everyone else got legless on lager.

And at dinner, we used to wait patiently for him to deliberate over every item on the menu, until eventually he ordered some unappetizing item like cashew nut puff (oven baked rather than deep fried) without the honey glazing and no sauce. Doesn’t exactly do the vegan label any favours does it?

That was then and I wasn’t to know that years later, having gone from omnivore to vegetarian, and finally to fully-fledged vegan, I was to experience things from the other side for myself.

I’m not so bound up with my vegan identity that I go around introducing myself with the words “Hi, my name’s Victoria and I’m vegan,” so I suppose I can’t really blame the guy who I was on a date with. It wasn’t until we’d been out a few times together and after he’d chewed half way through his medium rare slab of flesh that the penny dropped and he quietly asked: “You don’t mind me, umm, eating meat in front of you do you?”: I hoped I wouldn’t mind, but as I looked a scrap of grizzle caught between his teeth dropped down to a plate already stained in pink juice, and the penny dropped for me too. Needless to say, that romance ended before it had begun.

Today, however, being a vegan couldn’t be easier. It shouldn’t come as any revelation that a meat-free diet is one of the healthiest around. We are reminded of its planet nurturing virtues on a daily basis and who can deny that skinning an animal for its fur isn’t just sickeningly cruel but the most extreme form of vanity. Furthermore, the appalling conditions of animals reared for meat and dairy produce cannot have escaped you.

But you may have missed the fact that vegan food has undergone something of a culinary revolution of late. That dreary pot of hummus with a few raw carrot batons that used to be synonymous with vegan food has been transformed into rich, gooey diet as tempting and satisfying as any other. And there are enough vegan bodybuilders around to prove you can be get guns of steel while eating animal-free.

If, however, it’s the texture, smell and bite of dead animal carcass that you find hard to resist, there are now vegan versions of just about everything from roast ‘tofurkey’ and streaky ‘fakon’ rashers, to hot dog style ‘not dogs’ and chik’n nuggets.

Macho celebrities who have eschewed cruelty and adopted a vegan lifestyle include Olympic gold medal winner Carl Lewis, Mike Tyson and Bryan Adams - legends that shatter the myth that veganism is for wimps.

Vegans don’t have to look puny and sickly any more than meat eaters are unanimously obese, ruddy faced and have sky high cholesterol levels.

And one more thing, it takes strength to live as vegan and eat that way in a world that propels people in the opposite direction. I’ve even come to appreciate the strength of my university colleague. It certainly takes guts to turn up at the biggest pulling event of one’s life dressed as a sack of potatoes…sober!

As we enter World Vegan Month it’s time to move over, carnivores, and let the real machos stand up.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Take a moment to imagine you're Ed Miliband...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
 

Letters: No vote poses difficult questions – so why rush?

Independent Voices
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits