This week I pulled a Kim Kardashian and broke the internet (or at least my Instagram feed) – seemingly putting the validity of and intention behind my veganism in question and spurring what felt like this grizzly battle of words and opinion. I posted a photograph of a butcher shop with the following caption:
to say i’m smitten by a butcher shop is probably a bigger shock to me than anyone // stumbled across @theorganicbutcherofmclean after a beautiful afternoon of yoga, sunshine, and an over abundance of friendship – although my objective has been and always will be to promote a ‘primarily’ plant based diet, it’s such a light to find small businesses only supporting humanely and pasture raised, hormone and antibiotic free, sustainable & local farms and fish. i can’t expect that everyone that follows is vegan (and nor do i expect you to be) – that being said, we’re only given one body, one planet, and one conscience – it’s imperative we always be conscious. biggest love and #GoddessVibes
The purpose of the butcher shop photograph and message was to target those friends, those family members, this community, and press the importance of educated and conscious consumption. When so much of our food system is wrapped in plastic and pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, it was enlightening to see a business supporting some semblance of a ‘better thing’. Yes – those animals still gave their lives, and no, no slaughter is humane slaughter. But, for those living as omnivores (an enormous percentage of my community, our country and our world), The Organic Butcher of McLean is a monumental step forward, a step towards change. And yet I was met with resilience – ugly and negative energy in the sea of the Internet.
“You should take ‘vegan’ out of your bio, because no vegan would ever promote a butcher.”
“Take the word “vegan” out of your bio. This is a disgrace to the vegan community and you should be ashamed for promoting this kind of behavior.”
“How can you call yourself a vegan and be smitten by a butcher shop? Seriously? Nothing #goddessvibes about eating murdered animals.”
“You should not be promoting this kind of behavior as a vegan.”
“I just cannot fathom how you could actually promote this. It does nothing but set the vegan movement backwards by promoting animal welfare instead of animal rights.”
“@tallulahalexandra you aren’t a vegan. Don’t promote yourself as one if you are posting a picture of a butcher shop.”
“I have an irritated mood for people who call themselves vegan but promote the murder of animals.”
“You should probably remove “vegan” from your bio if you are going to outright promote a butcher. A vegan wouldn’t promote the use and abuse of animals in any way shape or form.”
“By supporting this business you are supporting, and even promoting cruelty and suffering. I am so ashamed, and questioning your motives for your support, if you’re profiting from this in any way I think you need some deep reflection on what it means to be a compassionate human being. #aintnogoddessvibeshere”
“Well, if somebody slits mine and my family’s throat tomorrow, at least we’ve had a good life!!!”
“People such as this seem to think it’s just a cute accessory and hashtag [to use the term vegan] that will make them popular.”
“There is no middle ground for veganism.”
How can we call ourselves humanitarians, activists, all loving, when we attack the very core of another human being in such a faceless arena? I’ve never been more embarrassed to be vegan – to be even somehow tied to those names posting such aggression from the confines and safety of their cellphone screens, to be even somehow tied to a group of people trying to strip me of a label that has been such a significant part of every ounce of my being, a label I’ve worked so hard to make more socially acceptable, common place, even (maybe?) cool. I am thankful for those that stood up for me. That stood up for the celebration of minor, yet significant change, that stood up for what felt like a huge leap forward in America’s food system.
Just as crucial as the food we opt to consume, as citizens of humanity, consumers of the Internet, champion’s of whole body wellness, success is unobtainable without positivity, inclusiveness, and community. We’re only given one world, one life, one opportunity to give a go at the change we want to see. We may be faceless, hidden behind the confines and safety of our cellphone screen, but the content we choose to share, the comments we choose to remark, are not only a reflection of ourselves, but leave a lasting impact on our world. We are nothing more than what we put into our bodies and the energy we put back into the world.
Alexandra Dawson is a Washington, DC based wellness warrior, passionate vegan & yogi. With a background in neuropsychology, nutrition, and dietetics, Alexandra writes a lifestyle and recipe website InMyBowl.com, promoting plant based nutrition, healthful and positive living, and #GoddessVibes. You can also find her on her beautifully impassioned Instagram @TallulahAlexandra.