After several years of being a vegan, eating a pretty strict plant-based diet, some friends have recently decided to move to a vegetarian diet. A vegetarian diet includes a plant-based options as well as milk and cheese, and eggs.
The main reason for their decision is health. They made the decision to move to a vegetarian diet based on a recent long-term study that has been published. The study concluded that a vegan diet for children and teenagers could lead to increased risk of bones issues in old age, including bone fractures. Wanting to protect the health of their family they changed their diet based on the study, because of science. This is the report from a similar study:
The secondary reason for their decision is cost. To eat a nutritionally complete vegan diet is not cheap, particularly when there is more than one mouth to feed.
With this in mind we reflected on our own dietary decision to be vegan. It soon became clear that we had strong attachment to being ‘vegan’. We currently define ourselves in-terms of being ‘vegan’, as a statement of who we are and our ethical decisions. This attachment had already been loosened as we had recently moved away from some ‘vegan’ social groups. The conclusion was that the term ‘vegan’ had been helpful during the transition to a ‘vegan’ diet. But on reflection the term ‘vegan’ has sometimes been unhelpful as a general ‘lifestyle choice’ and we had avoided using the term to avoid division with other groups of people.
The reason that we became ‘vegan’ was to reduce suffering for animals. Any enterprise that includes animals will inevitably create suffering for those animals. This is typically because decisions are made to increase profits to the detriment of the animals. Therefore, any decision to break being ‘vegan’ would need to be carefully considered. If we did make that decision, we would certainly remain ‘mostly vegan’ and just add in some cheese. We would not simply open the flood gates to all dairy and eggs, and certainly not meat. We certainly have something to think about, but no decisions have been made at this time.