To be a 'pure vegan'

One vegan bought a leather jacket before he went vegan, and he doesn't know what to do with it. Another vegan likes to buy vegan pizza from a place that also sells non-vegan pizzas, and he feels guilty about it. One other vegan has non-vegan friends and wonders if she should stop being friends with them.

You might think these three vegans have different problems, but they don't. All three are dealing with purity as an issue, something you might encounter often in both online groups and your own personal life.

So, what should these three vegans do? Should they look at purity in veganism as a worthy goal?

Ideal versus real

Many people think that cooking a vegan burger in a pan previously used to cook a non-vegan burger automatically makes it non-vegan. While I don't blame any vegan who finds it disgusting to consume a vegan burger swimming in small amounts of non-vegan contaminants that came from formerly living animals, I don't believe that contamination converts vegan food into something non-vegan.

A vegan product processed in a non-vegan factory may be inadvertently exposed to non-vegan contaminants, but that does not make the product non-vegan.

A vegan item cooked in a pan previously used by a non-vegan can be described as many things: unpalatable, disgusting, unhealthy, impure, contaminated. But it is still vegan.

Take note, however, that vegan ingredients cooked with animal flesh is a different issue. It is unfair to ask a vegan to “just remove the meat” after cooking vegetables and animals in one dish. This is no longer just mere contamination; this is asking a vegan to actually consume a non-vegan dish.

Sana maging vegan si Kuya Wil
This image is all thanks to Sana Maging Vegan si Kuya Wil, a vegan meme page for Pinoys. Follow them, they're hilarious!

I've always dreamed of a vegan world. I can't wait to see it, and I hope I'm still alive to witness it. It's something I and many other vegans work toward – as you can see, I've been blogging regularly to complete this 30-day online veganism guide for Filipinos – because living in a world that doesn't see animals as objects is the one I want to live in.


But the reality is, I don't live in a vegan world. At least, not yet. This means I have little choice but to use roads constructed by non-vegan companies. This means I have relatives, friends, and colleagues who still contribute to animal suffering. This means that even if I choose restaurants with completely vegan menus – and a completely vegan workforce – their employees probably have non-vegan families, too, so the money I pay these restaurants eventually make it to non-vegan hands.

On staying | Animal Scene editor's notes

Endings and goodbyes – I can only hope they're always happy, but that's just wishful thinking on my part. The many chapters in our lives that need concluding are enough to turn even the most hopeful optimist into a sobbing mess with one bitter lesson to learn in the end: Some good things never last.

But not all goodbyes are sad, even the ones that seem to be. So many things that occupy our lives are mere stopgap solutions to problems we think we can't remedy, and they hurt us more than help us.

Sunsets end the day, but they can be beautiful. The same can be said about goodbyes.

Things can get better when we have the courage to take out the trash. Put simply, good riddance.

On learning | Animal Scene Editor's Notes

While just about everyone is excited that 2020 is finally here, I look on with what I can only describe as fearful caution. And no, it's not because firecrackers scare me (I hate them anyway because they do scare animals, but don't get me started).

The reason I'm dreading the New Year is that it comes with many other new things in my life: a new apartment, a new status as an unattached female, and a new lifestyle that preoccupies me with barbells and pull-ups. Just like a skittish cat, I prefer old habits that feel safe – but let's face it, there's not much progress inside one's comfort zone.

So here I am, very carefully embracing these new things I have to deal with, and celebrating how old mistakes gave me new opportunities.

apartment with black cat

Perhaps that's why most of us love the New Year: It represents new beginnings and, better yet, our capacity to learn from the past.

Vegetarianism versus veganism

Versus. It's the term I chose for the title of this blog post. Not “and”, which would portray vegetarianism as having a token relationship with veganism. Not “instead of”, which would imply that vegetarianism was an alternative for veganism.

Versus. A word that implies antagonism.

It was a deliberate word choice for me. I believe that vegetarianism, while it might have good intentions, is a rival of veganism. And while vegetarianism might have been one way for people to get to know veganism, I believe these people would have been better off knowing veganism from the very beginning. I believe that vegetarianism being an obstacle to veganism is why many vegans who were initially vegetarians spent years being vegetarians instead of immediately becoming vegan.

If you're vegetarian, perhaps you'll feel attacked. I want to assure you that's not the intention of this post. The intention is to shed light on how vegetarianism is, in its very essence, not a stepping stone towards veganism. It is not an ally of veganism.

dairy is scary

Vegetarianism is an enemy of veganism, and you should be pissed about that if you truly care about animals, instead of being pissed at me.

What yoga and lifting weights have in common

Whenever someone mentions meditation, focus, and self-discovery, the physical activity that immediately comes to mind is yoga. But there's one other activity that I think of, and that's lifting.

Say, what now?

Oh, yes, you read that right. I'm saying that squatting heavy barbells, doing deadlifts, and pushing a stacked bar away from my chest are things that help me achieve a state of zen!

female lifting weights

You might be wondering how an adrenaline-filled activity is something I associate with calmness and enlightenment, so allow me to explain. Perhaps after you read this, you might think differently about lifting heavy weights at the gym, especially if you're a girl.

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