“You can be a vegan but still have an unhealthy diet,” one of my tablemates at a pre-Thanksgiving vegan potluck informed me. “Think French fries and all that grease.” I nodded sympathetically. It is hard enough to push people’s eating habits in one direction, let alone two at once. Another vegan sitting there with at least three varieties of cranberry sauce on her plate next to her tahini-topped zucchini pancakes asked how long I had been a vegan. I had to confess that I was there only because decades ago, my husband had belonged to their Baltimore-based group when it first formed. (It is now called the Vegetarian Resource Group.) He wanted to reconnect with old pals during our recent visit there; I came along to enjoy the food and meet offbeat people like myself, two of my favorite pastimes.
When my tablemate next asked a bit about me and I told her about this blog, she hopefully asked, “Does it have something to do with veganism?” Once again I felt compelled to spill out the unvarnished truth and say, “Well I can’t really say that it does.” Luckily, I rescued the conversation from dying prematurely by asking her to tell me a little about her interests as I ate my first ever vegan enchilada. After hesitating, she risked letting me know that certain meditation techniques could take you back four thousand years to one of your previous lives, and help you resolve things that happened then that will heal you now. I cannot help but be skeptical, but if a concept relieves spiritual distress then I am all for it. Still, I do think she outranked even me in qualifying as an offbeat person.
On my way back home from Baltimore, I mulled over my hasty answer that my blog and veganism have nothing to do with each other. While there is no obvious surface connection, I thought about what I had heard and seen at that potluck. For one thing, they were handing out T-shirts that said, “Expand compassion” on them. Well there you are. I noticed too that several people brought their own plates and silverware, so that less paper- and plastic ware would be used, thus showing their consideration for the health of our planet. Posters abounded that reminded us to “be kind to animals: don’t eat them.”
Perhaps it is fair to say that vegans and my blog followers and I are/aspire to be: purveyors of offbeat varieties of compassion.