We’ve been together for 18 years, you and I. And boy, have we seen it all. We’ve weathered the hard times (remember the dark days when vegan cheese tasted like old cardboard? Those days are at last behind us—thanks, Miyoko!). We’ve lived through shocking times (like when we took a chance and bought some Beyond Meat stock when it went public, then went on a European vacation with the earnings?). And of course, there were the gratifying times (does it get any more mainstream than Burger King and McDonald’s both hopping on the plant-based bandwagon?). And here we are, together for nearly two decades—after a toxic fling with vegetarianism (but we don’t have to talk about that deeply confusing phase).
I’m writing this letter to you today because we have been as one for the amount of time it takes to make an adult. That’s 18 glorious years of traveling the world—including epic vegan tours of South Africa, Scotland, Wales, England, Italy, Switzerland, and France—to get a literal taste of plant-based excellence with a variety of local flavors. Eighteen years of following along as celebrities tried vegan challenges on for size (Oprah, please come back?) and others fully joined the plant side. Together, we went from the margins to the mainstream; from contentious family meals where we brought our own sad microwavable dinner, to sunnier get-togethers where everyone raved about the shared plates of roasts, artisanal cheeses, and decadent desserts.
“Our history is a long one, and our future is infinite. There is no one else I’d rather grow old with—and even my aging has slowed down thanks to how good you are for me.”
Our history is a long one, and our future is infinite. There is no one else I’d rather grow old with—and even my aging has slowed down thanks to how good you are for me. You nurture me (I’m still taking my B12, so don’t you worry!), give me direction (there is no greater joy than having a life’s mission to protect the animals and the planet—just ask Greta, my rescue cat), and provide endless companionship.
It’s hard for me to think of my life before you were in it, and beyond impossible (did you catch that?) to imagine a future without you at the center. Veganism, there’s another way in which you’ve shown up for me in ways I didn’t anticipate: you have made me a better partner and a more passionate lover. You keep my stamina strong and my kisses sweet as date syrup. They say vegans taste better (there’s actual proof here—a study published in the journal Chemical Senses found that vegetarians had a more attractive body odor than the meat-eating participants), and I, for one, am not disappointed there. Sorry, gals; I’m taken.
Salaciousness aside, thank you for giving me the following gifts:
• The self-esteem to respond to “but bacon” jokes with grace and discernment (truthfully, I stopped replying altogether a decade ago)
• The self-care opportunities—from the rise of cruelty-free beauty to the many high-end vegan spas where I could while away the hours (I’m looking at you, OSEA Skincare Studio, you seductress!)
• The perspective to know when little issues (like cute little meat-eating internet trolls) are worth my energy—recognizing the more dire issues of climate change, pervasive racism, and animal cruelty—so that I can radically let go of negativity, more and more
• Access to a global community of brilliant, like-minded individuals who are curious about plant-based foods (the fluff-factor of whipped aquafaba is indeed a curious thing!) and share a similar worldview of justice for all, making me always feel like someone out there understands
• And the purpose to keep moving forward, propelled by a robust social justice movement that happens to have an incredibly delicious bottom line—as there is a vegan version of everything (from cottage cheese to foie gras)
And so as we commemorate 18 life-defining years together, I would like to offer something to you. Not only do I promise to stay true and continue to evolve alongside you (after all, a successful relationship is one in which we both grow and expand our horizons), but I will also continue to turn others on to your magical ways. Our relationship, though incredibly special, is not a monogamous one; truthfully, I want everyone to have a piece of you. There is enough sweetness and nourishment to go around, no matter who we are. I give you to the world, my great love.
And so I will sing your praises (though I won’t sing as lovely as vegan singers Erykah Badu, Mýa, or Bryan Adams). I will eat from your olive branch (and sometimes I will eat at Olive Garden—mostly for their breadsticks, which, as you know, is my love language). And—with a full heart and bursting fridge—I will let your bodacious bounty keep me satisfied and sated.
Veganism is, after all, the clearest definition of true love.