It is rightly said that you are what you eat! Lord knows it has been drilled into us since we were in school; food pyramids, food chains, you name it! Since what you eat directly affects your health both physically and mentally, people have grown more mindful of what they consume. In the age of food trends, fads, and phases, veganism has dug its roots in conscious stricken individuals as a more humane form of lifestyle. But what exactly is veganism? Healthline.com defines veganism as a way of living that attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty.
Leaving individuals who actually empathize with the pain and suffering of animals with a sense of gratification of choosing to make a difference by adopting it as their way of life.
Historically, many religions and cultures have followed the philosophy of ‘living and let live’, prior to veganism being so popular there was a Jamaican Ital lifestyle where one would only consume food which is grown from the land, this was during the Rastafari movement. Then there are the 400 million vegetarians of India. The cuisine of Eretria and Ethiopia where the orthodox Christian community abstains from all animal products for 200 days a year and mostly follows a plant-based diet.
Now, where exactly does ‘white veganism’ fit into this? What exactly is it? Why does it need to be addressed? white veganism is nothing but a Caucasian adoption of the practice of following a vegan lifestyle. It is a seal of approval from the Caucasian community that practicing such a lifestyle isn’t something archaic or uncultured, instead, it needs to be propagated. It is nothing but a whitewash of their dietary habits – they haven’t adopted the vegan lifestyle as it should be, instead, they’ve started looking for their dietary alternatives.
Artificially produced soy or almond milk instead of naturally sourced milk from bovines, plant-based meat instead of actual meat, so on and so forth. It has given a rise to a whole industry of alternatives, which do more harm than good. Soy is the ‘go-to’ alternative for dietary substitutes which contains a protein called Isoflavones that basically are plant estrogens. Consuming great amounts of it puts women with a family history of breast cancer at risk.
Now, almonds, soybeans or coconuts, or any other “alternative”, aren’t produced all year round, but there has been a significant growth in their demand. Farmers of these commodities are being forced into looking towards genetically modified seeds which would yield more produce all year round since they have to meet the supply and demand chain. Mainly these products are local to subtropical regions, and many impoverished nations conveniently fall into these regions. So big food corporations like Monsanto and other bigwigs look towards them, lobby initially, and progressively invest into them, for there, they would thrive off of the cheap labor that is so readily available to them, then they not only become their prime customers but also producers and distributors of high yield variety seeds. Hence, consequently, they earn large profits off of them by basically setting up a monopoly of both supply and demand.
Juxtapose this scenario with the colonial era, where The East India Company practiced the same in India as it thrashed the handloom industry and sent the raw materials to “Great Britain”, where it would then be processed and turned into fabric and Indians would be forced to purchase it from them. In a similar manner propagation of the same, would disturb the ecosystem that we have been thriving in for centuries, it would put millions out of their jobs, from animal rearing to the meat industry to the dairy industry.
As the saying goes, every coin has two sides, there’s a dark side to this as well. Making a conscious decision just for the sake of making one doesn’t really make an impact you intend to make. Rather it only gives rise to a trend that is propagated by “influencers”, who market vegan substitutes produced by manipulative corporate giants for their own gain and not mindful, intellectual, and influential individuals. That is the true nature of white veganism.
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