‘Vegan’ as a Dirty Word

Hi guys, so I’ve been posting recipes and a lot about food, but I wanted to take a little break from that for a moment of self-reflection. I’ve been vegan for nearly seven weeks now, and I have to say I’m absolutely loving it; the food, the lifestyle and the energy! There are some absolutely wonderful little vegan communities out there on the wonderful web that really make me feel like I’m part of something much bigger and they really motivate me, inspire me and spread positivity.

This being said, I wanted to take a moment and talk about negativity. I have to say I’m really lucky in that I have some wonderful friends who truly support me and understand what I’m doing and why. People ask me if it’s difficult to be a vegan. Truthfully, the eating part is a piece of cake (see what I did there?) but the hardest part has definitely been dealing with the inordinate amount of shit I’ve received from others. What surprised me the most were the people who attack veganism with such a closed mind, especially people who I’m really close to. I think people hear the word ‘veganism’ and immediately associate it with old hippies with hair trailing down to their arse who haven’t showered in five months. Don’t get me wrong, those guys are awesome, and I’m sure they’ve got some radical stories to tell, dude (you’ve got to say that last part in a stoner’s voice for effect). But that doesn’t mean that every vegan is a hippy, hipster, or whatever other label you’ve decided to mentally attach to them.

The truth is, people get scared. They feel threatened. And people don’t like to feel threatened, so they lash back out at you. You tell someone you don’t eat meat because you want to save the environment, and they don’t like the sound of that because then they think they’re a terrible person for not saving the environment. Consequently this threatened feeling makes them want to ridicule whatever it is that has instigated the threat (me), and shoot it down (me) and to make themselves feel better about what they do by belittling the other person (me). This is how they cope with it, fair enough, I get it – I reckon that if someone told me I could no longer drink wine, they might get an “accidental” kick in the leg. But honestly, that’s how it seems to work – you tell someone that you’re vegan and they take it upon themselves to be the biggest arse and to point out every single (unsubstantiated) flaw in being vegan so that they don’t feel as bad about themselves.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all up for a bit of banter (banter makes the world go round, innit)! I will happily laugh along with you at your jokes, but please don’t start slagging off my way of living. Particularly in front of others who have a decidedly open mind, which you’re rapidly closing with every word that comes out your mouth. I see this quite a lot with parents and children – the parent expresses how ridiculous they think veganism is in front of their little one, and then the very next day this naive child begins telling all their friends that all vegans are stupid. I also get quite a lot of ‘No, don’t listen to her, you’ll only become vegan as well’… like vegan is a disease. We forget how impressionable people are and how much our words can stick with people.

I think that everyone should go and do a little bit of research and figure out for themselves what impact their diet is having upon the environment. I sure as hell don’t want to be that annoying person that shoves their beliefs down people’s throats. When I talk about veganism I’m really not being a condescending bitch and implying that you’re in the wrong by eating the way you do. What I am however implying is that I would like people to understand the reasons for which I am vegan. If people can comprehend that by changing your eating habits you can literally save the world, then I’m happy. And if they choose to continue eating the way they do, that’s totally up to them. But please don’t come to me without having done an ounce of research and tell me “it’s all fabricated”, “you’re not going to make a difference” and that “we can’t survive without meat and dairy”. I can safely say that there are copious amounts of academic research articles that completely prove you wrong, and I will happily point you in their direction.

So basically what I’m trying to say, in a very long-winded way (congratulations if you’ve made it this far), is don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. And specifically, please don’t knock others who are trying it simply because it makes you feel slightly less guilty about the way you eat.

So on that cheery note (my sincerest apologies for the rant), I shall love you and leave you with the following thought:

Ignorance has prevailed so long only because people do not want to find out the truth. Should they find out the truth and their illusion be shattered, they might find distress where they sought comfort. However this distress is the fuel with which we must propel ourselves towards any kind of future. We must let this fear ignite a fire deep within us that cannot be extinguished. A fire to protect planet Earth and every living being within it. The planet needs us, and we need her.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. trudi_bruges says:

    I don’t even know any old vegan hippies who haven’t showered in 5 months! 😀

    Like

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