i started thinking about this as i was writing a post for raven’s eye blog.
but i wanted to bring it into this space:
i personally understand that eating meat is a survival issue sometimes for some of us. i dont need animal products to be healthy. but i did when i was pregnant. and what is our response as vegans to those because of interlocking reasons do need animal products for their survival and healthy growth?
let me try to flesh this out…(excuse the pun)…………
because a lot of my work over the passed few years has focused around reproductive health and women of color, it is specifically women of color whom i am referencing.
i know folks who need to eat meat in order to be healthy. i used to think that this was one of those omnivore myths since i heard it so often when i was first making conscious choices about my diet as a teenager. but all of my assumptions got twisted around when i became pregnant. and all of a sudden i *needed* animal protein. now let me say that i vehemently disagree with the faddish obsession with protein in the pregnancy/birth world. i do not think that there is a certain amount of protein that every woman needs in order to have a ‘healthy’ pregnancy birth. i reject such essentialistic prescription for the human being. especially for the pregant body. but i did *feel* an intense need for animal protein. and i felt so much better after i had eaten it. keeping in mind that by the time i got pregnant i had basically been vegetarian/vegan for more than a decade.
the vegetable protein that i had usually loved just wasnt cutting it. actually a lot of it (like nuts and certain soy products and beans) made me feel ill.
now i want to also emphasize that i am talking about the vegetable protein that was *available*. i would have loved to have been able to experiment more to find foods that were both vegan and not nauseating. but the big natural foods stores were on the other side of town. we lived in north minneapolis (scary…black…ghetto…)and whole foods and its ilk were in south minneapolis (hipster…white…). furthermore we were on a tight budget. having been kicked out of a country and trying to build an entire life in a city i knew nothing about.
i have talked to other hard core vegan mothers who say that they *had* to eat meat during their pregnancies. and i have talked to others who because of their health cannot sustain themselves without animal protein.
what do we as vegans of color say to them? what do we say to lil pregnant me?
i mean i know that here we say that we cannot afford to be single issue. and i know that a lot of us struggle to be vegan while being working class, of color, queer, etc. and i know that we want to live in a world where vegan food is accessible to our people.
but do we as vegans of color have a responsibility and accountability to those who cannot afford, in terms of money, health, time, etc., to be vegan?