MINIMALISM AND VEGANISM: MAKING THE CONNECTION
If you’ve been either a vegan or a minimalist for very long, it’s likely that you’ve noticed that the two often go hand in hand. I was actually interested in minimalism long before I was a vegan, but I read Leo Babauta’s blog Zen Habits, and was intrigued by the fact he was vegan. Since then, I’ve noticed there are a surprising number of vegan minimalists, myself included. But why is that?
What is Minimalism
For me, minimalism as a lifestyle is not about the minimalist aesthetic. Instead, it’s about making room in your life for what really matters.
When you start to think about what matters most in life, you quickly realize if everything is important, nothing is important. I think the same logic applies to our relationships with people, as well. Prioritizing is essential.
Priorities and focus are two of the most important things in life. And it’s hard to be focused – or have your priorities in order – when you’re surrounded by clutter.
Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, tells her readers they should only keep that which “sparks joy.”
What sparks joy in your life? What sparks joy in your home? I think these are very important things to consider that are easily forgotten as we busily hurry about our lives.
Connecting Minimalism and Veganism
In the short life I have on this earth, I want to be surrounded by people and things that encourage me to grow and thrive. Justice and compassion are qualities I want to be a focus in my life. I consider consuming animal products is unjust, because by eating animals, I’m depriving those animals of their right to life for no good reason. For me it would be hypocritical to say I care about justice while eating animal products.
But it doesn’t end there. If I’m focusing on only keeping the objects in my life that I love, that are beautiful and wholesome – meat doesn’t have a place. Because I know about the suffering these creatures experience, I couldn’t enjoy having animal products in my home. And even if you really love steak, it’s kind of hard to say that dead animal flesh “sparks joy” in you. When I open my refrigerator and see fresh vegetables and fruits, it sparks joy. The homemade bread on the counter sparks joy. Colourful jars of beans look beautiful in my cupboards. Could you honestly say the same about meat?
The Simplicity of Veganism
Practically speaking, veganism is just a lot more simple. Even for a minimalist that isn’t vegan, it doesn’t take long to realize how much less preparation and fuss plant-based meals require. Cooking with plant-based foods simplifies everything.
Suddenly, your kids can eat the cookie dough without worrying about salmonella. Mad Cow also becomes a non-issue.
Vegans don’t need separate cutting boards for meat. Elaborate sanitation procedures and cross contamination are things of the past. Aside from cooking foods to the proper temperature and washing produce, there is much less work.
Shopping is also cheaper and less complex. As a mostly starch-based vegan, shopping is largely limited to rice, potatoes, pasta, beans, soy milk, fruits and veggies. There are very few foods that can spoil, and we never waste food in our house. Beans and rice are particularly amazing. Either one can sit in the cupboard quite happily until needed without fear of spoilage.
Finally, if you aren’t particularly experienced at cooking, plant-based meals are much easier to prepare. My husband never felt comfortable in the kitchen when we were omnivores. Now he loves cooking!
Both minimalism and veganism are also concerned with sustainability. Minimizing consumption is one way of putting less stress on the planet. Similarly, a vegan diet reduces the demand for animal agriculture – an industry that produces more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry.
I’ll be discussing minimalism and veganism more in the future. I think they are really two sides of the same coin. Both have the potential to make this world a better place, and to give us greater peace and contentment. I hope you’ll consider the benefits minimalism and veganism can bring to your life as well.