Column by Suzy Berkowitz

Suzy Berkowitz
Suzy Berkowitz

Disclaimer: I realize that there are many people who follow a vegan diet for health reasons or because they sincerely want to make a difference. Please disregard this column.

If, however, you choose to use your veganism as a platform on which to complain about not being able to experience the perfection that is red pepper gouda soup or milk chocolate because of a dietary restriction that you placed upon yourself, here’s some non-dairy food for thought:

Home in Brooklyn, vegetarians are few and far between, but in New Paltz, I’m one in a million. Many students here are vegan, and although I was initially excited to be around so many people with similar dietary restrictions as me, I quickly found that many vegans walk around with a chip on their shoulders.

I’ve been given condescending stares upon saying that I don’t eat meat but choose to eat their biproducts, and quite frankly, I’m tired of it. We all make our own sacrifices in our own time, and though I don’t plan on giving up cheese or milk chocolate in the near future (cough-ever-cough), it’s taken me a while — what with my Jewish mother trying to slip brisket onto my plate every chance she could get and all — to be able to not eat meat and not have my family burn me at the “steak” for it.

If you’ve chosen to be vegan or vegetarian for the same pro-animal rights reasons as I have, our efforts have all stemmed from the same seed, so I don’t understand the animosity between those degrees of effort. I don’t think vegetarians should be given any less credit or recognition; sacrificing meat is not easy, especially on a college campus. I’m not trying to play the martyr card, as I realize this was my own choice. The least select vegans could provide us with is a little support.

If  the  reason you’ve decided not to eat animals or their bi-products is for bragging rights or to put another tally under your martyr board, you need to reevaluate your food intake – or lack, thereof.