The infamous YouTuber Freelee the Banana girl is currently in Chang Mai with a band of followers, enjoying all things vegan in this beautiful country. I am also in Chang Mai, so it prompted thoughts about Freelee and her aggressive methods to converting people to veganism and why I think she is wrong.
The vegan lifestyle is well suited to many people. If this way of living works for you, then by all means, enjoy it. The food is great and the benefits that come with ethical living are well documented on various outlets. But I don’t think converting everyone you can to a vegan lifestyle is going to solve world issues, such as food poverty and rainforest destruction. Instead, I think a more gentle approach to encourage a plant-based lifestyle is the way forward. Even vegan junk food contains palm oil, so by moving more of the population towards a diet based around fruits, vegetables and grains, and yes, with a small amount of meat, eggs and dairy, I think we would see a greater shift in tackling the issues that plague our world today.
Some vegans are renowned for being loud and pushy with their views, like Freelee, and they take pride in their conversion rate of mainly Western young girls to veganism. But what about the Chinese and draining fish stocks? The Americans and their insatiable appetite for meat? Wouldn’t it be better to gradually reduce the impact of these larger social groups, rather than preying on the guilt complex felt by many young people? I can feel myself being sucked in by the vegan propaganda, that I am an awful person, that i’m not truly an animal lover, or that I think I’m better than other species on the planet.
My own eating habits revolve around a plant based lifestyle with minimal amounts of meat, eggs and dairy. I know I will be able to implement this more easily when I am at home in England, rather than making do with what I can in Thailand. I believe that adjusting the habits of many, rather than completely altering a few will be the answer to our ecological problems.