Beyond Bite'z

by Michele Howey

Founding Member

Labels bother me.

Labels come with assumptions.

People, like cookies, can be many things. And just because someone or something carries a "label" it may not mean an assumption about that label is true.

From my experience, life is better when we have an exciting adventures filled with diversity of experience. Enjoying the richness that life has to offer. When we deny ourselves those experiences because of labels or pre-judgement, not only do we miss out, but we perpetuate those assumptions and opinions. If we label someone and then avoid them because of the perception in our head, we just missed out on potential awesomeness.

Let me illustrate with a brief recent example from one of our employees who was out in front sampling that we can apply to this topic. Us: "Hey would you like to try our cinnamon sugar cookie?" That person: *Takes bite of cookie. Eyes roll back in their head. "That was amazing." Us: "I know! Right?" Then blurts, "Can you believe it's also Vegan?" That person: *Nose scrunches up "You should tell people that." Us: "Tell people what?" That person: "That this is Vegan." Us: "Why?" *Confused That person: "Because people should know what they are eating." Us: "You didn't know what you were eating? We just told you what you were eating. You were eating a cinnamon sugar cookie." That person: "I don't like Vegan things. I'm not a Vegan." Us: "You don't have to be. This is a cookie for everyone." That person: *Pauses. Considers. Then goes in and buys a dozen "Vegan" cookies.

Us: See what I mean? They thought they didn't like "Vegan Stuff" but when they tried it, they actually enjoyed it. Wild idea... So what if we as a society started to apply that same logic to people. It can be this easy- That person: Ew. I don't like {insert group} Us: Have you ever had experiences with {insert group}? That person: No. But I have all of these opinions and assumptions that were passed down generationally or from society that I'm too afraid to challenge or question. Us: It's okay for you to challenge those pre-conceived notions and make up your own mind. That person: Us: Set yourself free and let go of the judgement. Maybe even try to understand their perspective or walk a mile in their shoes." That person: I can't. Us: Nope. You are choosing that. Give {insert marginalized group here} a chance. They are just like you. With the same thoughts, fears, hopes, joys, and sorrows. That person: Us: Try it. Grow a little bit. Stretch yourself. That person: *Starts to make an effort to have an open mind. *Makes a new friend. *Has an illuminating conversation while actually seeking to understand. *Starts to build bridges. *Tries to see other perspectives and has new experiences. *Starts to come to the table. *Starts to heal things. You get it right? It's time. And we all have responsibilities here. People, like cookies, come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. And we can enjoy in all their varieties, and appreciate them.

We get in too big a hurry to judge everything and everyone. We as a society are starting to be more open minded. But we aren't there yet. Take a chance on trying something unexpected or different. People, or even cookies, may surprise you.

I made these cookies for everyone. You don't need to be Vegan. I don't care if you are or not. No judging. Because you do you. I'm Vegan because I have health issues that require me to be. But you are allowed to be whatever you want to be. And you are even allowed to enjoy the Vegan cookie, even if *gasp,* you are not Vegan. Small side rant- Know who else is Vegan? Oreo. Bet. Look it up. I promise. I'll wait. Oreo isn't over there like, "Hey everyone, this is a Vegan cookie!!!" Instead they are like, we are Oreo, and oh yeah, technically we are Vegan. Why? Because it's not a cookie that's made for Vegans. It just happens to BE vegan.

Okay I'm back.

What if we all started to just enjoy each other no matter the label? We judge people for all sorts of reasons. Instead of just allowing people to be what and who they are. We need to stop that. We need to celebrate all that is good. No matter the label. The same goes for cookies. Like melt in your mouth moan inducing cookies that also happen to be cruelty-free, or you may know that as Vegan. That means no animals were harmed in the making of your cookies. Our packing is also environmentally friendly. These things matter to us. I hope they matter to you. It's part of our mission statement. Which you can view here.

But these things don't have to matter to you to enjoy our cookies. You can slap whatever label you want on it. I just hope once you give our cookies a chance, the label you put on them is: "That's a damn good cookie." I'm okay with that one. ;)

Come try one. First one's on me.