Revised Statement

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with the awful realization that in my own boneheaded ways, I've been wrong about something. I hate when that happens because it means for somebody like me, who so freely expresses my opinion and thoughts in a public way, that I have to eat humble pie. And when it happens through a blog posting, it can be all the worse because thousands of people have likely read the offending blog post.

Fortunately, yesterday's blog posting is not one that was widely read. According to my stats, just a couple hundred people read it, one of the lowest numbers ever on one of my blog postings. And from comments I received, a number of those agreed with the posting. But I no longer agree with the posting.

I am replacing what is written in that blog posting with the words that I am writing here.

Here's my confession:

I have for some time now mixed up my "professional" responsibilities with my more personal, ethical responsibilities. When I say professional, I mean my role as Vice President of the 620-member Eat Smart Live Longer Club as well as my role as a newspaper columnist and a magazine columnist. Those responsibilities require me to focus on the nutritional benefits of eating a whole food, plant-based diet. And many people who follow me in those endeavors have looked to me as being a food expert.

As that has continued to build, I have however lost sight of the other major concern that I have, and that is the abhorrent effects on both our society and on fellow beings that we share the earth with when it comes to the exploitation of animals. That too is a major concern that dramatically affects the environment we live in, our chances of surviving climate change and more.

I have become too focused on nutrition, and will continue to focus on nutrition where it is appropriate to do so, but I am also re-committing myself to the larger issues of animal exploitation as well.

This came to a head for me this past week because our Board in the Eat Smart Live Longer Club is voting on whether to support the Lowcountry VegFest again this year. And I may be the swing vote on that. When I wrote my blog posting yesterday, I was stating why I didn't think we as a club could support that. But that wasn't clear in my blog posting because my blog goes out to a larger population, so I have to write for a more general population. I came across sounding as if I opposed VegFests in general.

My position as one of five club officers is that because our club was founded on being nutrition-focused and our membership is still nutrition-focused, we as a club should be donating to events and organizations that advance those goals. In my humble opinion, it would send a message to our membership that we are endorsing some of the manufactured vegan products as being nutritionally good if we were to donate to an event that emphasized processed vegan foods over healthy plant-based foods. And that would go against what we believe. So, as a club, I am not in favor of donating to VegFest. However, I can still change my mind on that if someone has a good argument to the contrary.

But, not being a club sponsor does not mean that we as individuals cannot support VegFest for what it is doing, and that is bringing the message about animal exploitation to as wide a population of locals as possible. I intend to make a donation as an individual to the VegFest this year. And I encourage the other officers, particularly those wanting to vote in favor of the club donating, to also donate to VegFest this year. I would also encourage all of our members who are concerned about animal exploitation, and it would be nice if that were everybody, to also donate to VegFest this year.

Together we can make a difference. As individual donors, we may give even more than would have happened otherwise. I do support VegFest. I have donated to it every year since its inception, usually more than once. I also served on the planning committee for it one year and I have been a volunteer at VegFest every year except this past year (due to family visiting and my dad's funeral that same weekend). I don't mention that to brag about it. I mention it in order to show my continued support for VegFest.

Tonight, today, this morning (whatever), I am like the prodigal son returning home. It can't be my piece of the puzzle versus someone else's piece of the puzzle. It all fits together into a lifestyle that rejects animal exploitation and rejoices in a diet of whole, plant-based foods. And to be truly healthy, that should also include rejection of processed foods, which is also severely damaging to our health and hazardous to the environment as well. I believe we can all learn together from each other. And while I write with a lot of assuredness at times (most of the time), I too am continually learning.

Thank you and see you at VegFest.

J Lanning Smith
"Twice the Man, Half the Weight"
February 8, 2019