One of the toughest challenges facing today’s vegans isn’t the availability of food in the grocery store or even at local restaurants. Metro Denver grocery stores all offer enough food for a vegan to thrive in the kitchen, and many local area restaurants have vegan options way beyond salads. The bigger issue vegans face is when they go to dinner at the home of a loved one who isn't vegan. People who have influential voices in the vegan community have different answers to the issue of what one does when a loving relative serves meat or other animal products.
“Well, one wouldn’t go to someone’s house and eat the food if it was against their religion, and that kind of objection would be considered understandable, so why would a vegan be any different,” said Ann Swissdorf, co-organizer of A Vegan Life, the largest vegan social group in Metro Denver. The group has over 1,000 members. Swissdorf was answering the dinner question posed by a woman who came to a vegan information meeting the group hosted a local Whole Foods grocery store in Denver.
Compassion for animals is a key moral tenet of veganism, so the dilemma for conscious herbivores is how to remain compassionate to the fellow humans who raised them to have such compassionate hearts. Shouldn’t we consider the feelings of our grandmother who has eaten meat all her life and prepares meatloaf when we visit her?
Yoga Instructor Kathryn Budig says “flexing” one’s food morals has some justification. Yogis are among the most prolific group of vegetarians and vegans and the Yoga community was known for being home to many plant eaters decades before veganism became fashionable and popular.
“Sharing food is the ultimate way to say ‘I love you’,” Budig said recently in an interview with Yoga Journal magazine.
“If the energy you put out as you eat is ‘this is going to make me fat’ or ‘this is against my morals’ then it’s negative. So if I eat something not good for me that is outside my norm, I say ‘thank you. This is so special that you made this for me,’ and then it’s fine,” she added.
Colorado resident and world-renowned ultra runner Scott Jurek advised a crowd of Coloradoans at the spring Veg Fest 2013 that “if you [are forced by circumstances to] eat a bit of non-vegan food, that you can't go back to being vegan, and don't beat yourself up for 'breaking your vegan streak'".
It can be expected that vegan will continue to love their families, and that no vegan will have a perfect track record in eating all vegan food, unless he or she always eats alone.